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Six Ways to Stop the Internet from Ruining Your Day

The web is full of distractions that make it hard to concentrate on the job. This Georgetown computer science professor thinks he can help.

According to Nielsen, the average American spends three hours a day staring into a phone or tablet. Factor in TVs and computers, and it’s up to about nine hours in the glow of a screen. That’s a lot of time that could be better used for professional gain. In his latest book, Digital Minimalism, technology and productivity expert Cal Newport offers advice on how to free yourself from the tyranny of email, social media, and other digital services. Here are six actions you can take now.

Chart your workday in two-hour periods and quarantine tasks that don’t necessarily boost productivity—including meetings and phone calls—to some scheduled breaks between the blocks. “If you take a two-hour block and do literally no quick checks, your mind is operating at full capacity,” Newport says. It’s like having a cognitive superpower.