Does this sound familiar: You've scheduled time to sit down and work when all of a sudden your hands are moving independently from your intentions, you've launched Facebook opened a bunch of articles to read it's an hour later and you've achieved nothing.
In my recent article, ‘What is Productivity?‘ I talk about how managing your attention is a key pillar of productivity. However, with a growing number of social networks and blog posts, Tweets, updates, videos and news flying at you from all angles, it's very easy to get distracted on the internet. Often the articles you want to read are genuinely useful and with lots of high quality content on the internet now it's very easy to get absorbed in these videos and posts. However, every time you take yourself away from your work you incur ‘switching costs' when you return to the work later. This is the time cost of refocusing your brain and getting back into the headspace you were in before. This also lowers the quality of your work making you less effective and productive.
Every time you come across an article or video you'd like to check out, save it to Pocket. Pocket is a handy app which works on most devices that lets you save links to view later. If you're using Safari or Chrome, you can download a little extension which when clicked, saves the webpage you're viewing to your Pocket account. Pocket also integrates with apps on your smartphone like Twitter. Tap and hold a link on Twitter and an option appears to save the link to Pocket. Or if the app doesn't integrate with Pocket, you can copy the link, open up Pocket and choose to save the clipped link. Pocket works with other popular news apps like Flipboard and now works with Safari in iOS8.
The great thing about Pocket is because it's cloud based you can save links on one device and view them on another. I generally clip links to my Pocket account from my work PC, Mac and iPhone throughout the day. Then in the evening I can grab my iPad, jump on the couch and read through all the articles I saved during the day. By batching your reading time you eliminate switching costs and can work productively throughout the day knowing that those articles you want to read won't get forgotten about.