10 Productivity Hacks for Folks With Slow Internet

January 13, 2017

A slow internet connection is the bane of today's society. Here are 10 easy hacks to get around it.

If you'll be reading only the first sentence of today's posts, the takeaway is: there are things you can do to circumnavigate your slow internet speed.

My internet is slow.

It's a tad faster than watching grass grow or pouring molasses in winter.

No. They're paints that dry faster than this puppy loads sometimes.

Let's get to it.

1. Turn Off Programs

Turn off programs from startup and kill them in the system tray when not in use. This will not only help to speed up your internet but your computer too. Dropbox is one of the biggest tyrants of my internet speed. If it's open and synching everything else goes dead.  

2. Only Have Tabs Open That You're Using

Only have tabs open that you're using at that particular time to complete a project. Multitasking is killing us slowly anyway. Our brain can only focus on so many things at once.

But, if you really must use all 10 tabs at once - as I do most times - OneTab is a Chrome Extension you can use to have all those tabs open only on one tab. One click hides or collapses them and one click bring them all back. This reduces the risk of losing information you need.

But best of all, OneTab speeds up your computer by reducing memory usage by up to 95% and lets you start with a clean slate.

Another Chrome Extension to help is Momentum. When you open a new tab, it only shows you the things that help you to stay productive like:

  1. the time; 
  2. your to-do list; 
  3. an inspirational quote;
  4. links; and 
  5. your goal for that day.  
That's for the free version, but with the premium version you can add notes and countdown to a specific date.

Pro Tip

The more Chrome Extensions activated the slower the performance of your browser. Therefore, only activate the ones you use on a daily or even hourly basis.

The more Chrome Extensions activated the slower the performance of your browser. Therefore, only activate the ones you use on a daily or even hourly basis.

3. Use Third-Party Apps

Use tools that allow you to add third-party apps to your dashboard to limit the number of tabs you have open. For instance, instead of having Twitter and TweetDeck open on your browser at the same time, configure TweetDeck to show what you're using Twitter to check. Then close Twitter and focus on TweetDeck and:

  • reply to your messages; 
  • check who mentions you; 
  • retweets;
  • lists; and 
  • searches. 
Other tools you can use to do this are Hootsuite and Zapier.

4. Be Wary of Your Email

Checking or not checking my email has cost me a lot. If I check it, I get drawn in and go off to:

  • read blog posts from my favorite and most helpful bloggers; 
  • end up on social media;
  • checking out products; and
  • getting sidetracked in so many ways it's inexplicable.  

Pro Tip 

Unsubscribe from email notifications from social media platforms to reduce the risk of being unproductive. I used to get tons of email from Pinterest and Twitter about interaction with my boards and account. Once I go checking, it's a done deal because I'm pinning and or Tweeting away.

Unsubscribe from email notifications from social media platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest to reduce the risk of being unproductive.

A fabulous way to nip your unbidden procrastinating spirit in the bud is to use the Chrome Extension Block Site.

It's simple. Add all the sites that distract you to it, and then enable it whenever you need to focus. Try it and see what happens.

Now, if I don't check my email,  I lose out on promotions from Hootsuite and sign up and attend webinars when they are over.

Use an easy to use email app like Mailbird Lite to get some piece of mind.

I prefer Mailbird because I can integrate it with Twitter, Google Calendar, Chrome, Dropbox, Unroll.me, Whatsapp and a host of other programs I use.

That way, I can check my email and a host of other things from the one dashboard.

Another easy to use email app is Thunderbird from Mozilla. Check out this post from CNET to find other great options for an easier email life. Go ahead, I'll wait for you.

Great! You're back 😌

As we're on emails, a great tool to reduce anxiety is a Chrome Extension that was Sidekick but is now Hubspot Sales. What it does is add a sidebar and a send button to your Gmail and when you send a message and the recipient opens it, you'll get notified (if your browser notification is on).

It shows the number of times your emails were opened as well as the time. You can also mute the thread if you'd like.

5. Build a Cantennae

Build a cantennae if you've got Wi-Fi. I haven't done this one yet, but I'm seriously thinking about it. What the cantennae does is to increase the range of your Wi-Fi network.

6. Draft Blog Posts in a Desktop App

Draft your blog posts in a desktop app like Word, OneNote, Evernote or your favorite editor and when you're ready to edit and publish take it to Grammarly or Hemmingway to do a final touch up.

If I don't put progress and productivity over perfecting blog and social media posts, I won't accomplish my dot com lifestyle. How about you?

7. Use Heavy Internet Apps During Non-peak Hours 

Some programs are more taxing on the internet juice than others, like Dropbox as I mentioned in #1. Other taxing programs I use are Hootsuite, Pinterest, and a few other curating apps. As a result, I use these and other taxing programs late at night or early morning.

8. Create Images at Non-peak Hours

Create images at non-peak hours like late at night or early morning as they use a lot of internet power to work their magic. I use apps like Canva and Adobe Spark, but there's also Pablo in Buffer and PicMonkey.

Creating your graphics early may just prove beneficial to your output as your brain is at its peak then.

9. Turn Off Automatic Update

Don't allow apps to update automatically. I use the Windows OS and I changed how my apps update. As you can see, I've got 11 apps that need updating. I'll go throw them manually and update by preference. At this time, I can also identify those I don't use all that much and delete them - giving me extra space on my hard drive.

Update apps manually especially if you've got slow internet connection.

10. Transfer Data to External Storage Device 

Talking about hard drive. If it's getting to maximum capacity, transfer some of the data to:

  • an SD card;
  • flash drive 
  • an external hard drive
  • or even cloud storage for that matter. 
That way, the data will be accessible wherever you go. Added incentive right?

A slow internet is not only a pain but also is a major contributor to our level of productivity. You may ask, " How do I use my slow internet and still be productive?" There are ways to get around it. Here are 10 to get you going.

11. Hold Your Proofreading Until the End of the Brain Dump

This one is different but also noteworthy: When you have an idea for a post and decide to put it to paper or screen, don't make edits - punctuation, grammar, spelling, tense, all that - until you've dumped everything from your brain about the topic.

Even as I write this, I'm doing it.

It's an absolutely arduous habit to break, but try breaking it.

It has cost me to lose out on my train of thought numerous times because I stop to perfect something. This is especially difficult when you know British English and have to write in American  English.

My new motto is Progress and Productivity over Perfection. I printed it and posted it to my physical wall. It's not as fancy as the one in the sidebar.

I'll admit, I'm a little OCD and knowing I spelled something wrong or there's an "I" in lower case really gets me. So does all those red lines under words.

So you can image how I felt when I saw a few typos in my Twitter feed.  I so wanted to delete them!

Wrapping Up

Yes, it takes time to investigate and find out what works best for you, but doing it now will save you a ton of time and frustration in the future. My blog is 9 months old and I wished I had gotten around to this sooner because it would have saved me a lot of frustration and wheel spinning.

Wheel spinning gets you nowhere only:

  • worn tires: which are expensive
  • a dirty car
  • but worst of all, you're stuck! 
Not moving: going nowhere. Where's the progress in that?

Over to You 

How do you manage your slow internet?

If I don't put progress and productivity over perfecting blog and social media posts, I won't accomplish my dot com lifestyle. How about you?

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