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Save Time Online

By Tash Hughes of Save Time Online 

How often do you go onto the Internet to find something and find that you’ve been there for ages? Other jobs aren’t done and you’re not sure you really achieved much.

It is very easy to spend a lot of time online without intending to, but most of us don’t have that sort of time to spare.

With a bit of effort and management, you can use the internet efficiently and productively.

  1. Referrals

Whenever practical and possible, use recommendations to start your internet search.

By using recommendations, you save yourself the time of sifting through many sites that are irrelevant to your needs. It also increases the likelihood of the information gathered being accurate and up-to-date.

Referrals to sites can be made by friends and colleagues in general talk or upon request. Other referrals can be through information portals, related sites and off line sources, such as a magazine review or an advertising flyer.

  1. Timer

If time is very limited for the task, either because it isn’t worthy of much time or because you have other commitments, consider an egg timer or stopwatch.

Set it for the time you can afford to spend on this search – or perhaps five or ten minutes less so you will have time to finish up the last page you visit. Alternatively, set a timer for half hour or hourly blocks so you can monitor the time spent.

Not only will the timer keep you in touch with how long you have been online, the knowledge of it may help keep you on track; subconsciously, you won’t allow yourself to waste time as each minute has become precious.

  1. Specific

Each time you search for some information or an item on the internet, be clear about what it is you want to find.

Take the time to clarify things; instead of vaguely searching for facts about having pets, look for answers to a question such as ‘which dog breed would be best suited to my lifestyle?’

The more specific your quest, the easier it will be to target your search words and to determine if a site is of any use to you – a quick scan will show you that pet site A is only about cats and goldfish, so you can close it and look elsewhere.

  1. Focus

When you are searching for information, it is very easy to get sidetracked online.

For instance, if you are researching about asthma you will come across links to parenting issues, first aid courses, alternative medicine and allergies. All of these may be interesting, but if they won’t answer your original question they are using up your allotted time unnecessarily.

By all means, bookmark links to items of interest for later use or have a notebook handy for ideas that occur to you as you research, but keep your search focused on your topic (eg. asthma.)

A narrow focus means there is much less relevant material on the net so you can finish quicker.

With some discipline and management, you can keep your internet time under control and have more time for things you like to do.


Tash Hughes is co-owner of Save Time Online. Found at, this is an information portal for busy Australians. There is information, tips and links in categories such as business, parenting, health, gift buying and energy conservation.


© 2003, Tash Hughes

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