Small Business Owners: Are You Addicted to the Internet?

Internet addiction disorder
Addicted to the Internet
Are you going online for business or personal purposes, in such a way that it ruins your business and personal life? If so, you might suffer from Internet addiction. Here are some interesting findings you need to ponder upon.

While I was on Twitter a moment ago, Guy Kawasaki, the VC guy (@GuyKawasaki) tipped me with an image titled “Who’s Addicted to the Internet?” released by shared via his Alltop site.

I “read” the image in awe and shock and I thought this image could help you to ‘feel’ the trends, while introspecting your Internet surfing habits so you don’t get caught into the Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD.) To make a confession, seeing the info presented in the image I concluded I am not an Internet addict, but I’m somewhat borderline, given the fact that my entire business operations are online – it’s darn hard to stay off the Internet, indeed!

How Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) impact you and your business

Some highlights I think will or have impacted on your, your employees, and your overall business productivity:

  • 13.7% found it difficult to stay offline for several days.
  • 12.3% felt the need to cut back on Internet usage.
  • 8.7% attempted to hide their Internet use from family, friends, and employers.
  • 5.9% felt that their relationships had suffered because of their Internet use.
  • Time spent per person on social networking sites is increasing from 2 hours and 10 minutes in 2007 to a whopping 5 hours and 35 minutes on 2009.
  • The Internet is being misused in the workplace: 30-40% of Internet use is NOT business-related and 40% loss in productivity is attributed to cyber-slacking.

For more findings about internet addiction, you can see the whole image – or diagram – here.

The above, especially the point about cyber-slacking, is highly probably affecting your business productivity and you should do something about it – the sooner, the better.

As a small business owner, you should also ask yourself, whether you are somewhat addicted to the Internet. Internet addiction can suffer you from depression and sleep deprivation/sleeping disorder, and this will affect your life in one way or another, depending on the level of your addiction.

Here are some tips that work for me in keeping myself sane while taking care of my business, my family time and myself:

  • Schedule and limit your Internet access time. Even if you have 24/7 Internet access, you shouldn’t be online 24/7, too. You need to limit the time you spend online – just like office hours – and guess what, limiting yourself is in fact increasing your productivity and get things done more. Why? Because, chances are, during working online you will wander off your work to things like checking the latest scores, tweeting, reading people’s Facebook walls, chatting, and many more. Limiting your time online allowing you to stay on course and keep your focus.
  • Don’t let your Internet surfing habit takes most of your productive time. When it’s time to spend some time with your family, do so without tarrying. The Internet can drag you down slowly, and before you know it you spend your entire day online, neglecting your family. Remember, family comes first.
  • Turn off your computer, get a life. Sure, social networking is cool and in fact important for your business, but nothing can replace offline networking – formal or informal. Going out for a drink with a business partner can be more effective in getting things done and enjoying your life better.

If you can’t seem to get a hold of yourself from going online all the time, no matter how hard you try, I recommend you to seek professional help as soon as you can. The Internet is good (and the make money online is very lucrative!) but getting addicted to it is no fun for you and those around you.

Ivan Widjaya
Avoiding IAD