Are you reading this when you should be working?

A study of 2,500 people in the UK shows that 68 percent have been distracted from completing work by browsing the web, checking emails and engaging in social media.

In addition, 63 percent said they had lost their train of thought while working on a report or long piece of written work because they responded to an email or social media alert.

The survey also reveals that 36 percent lose an hour or more a day in productivity to email and social media and that 53 percent thought that checking these things whilst trying to work revealed a worrying lack of control.

Excuse me while I check my Twitter feed...

Working from home doesn't help things either with 59 percent saying that they lost more time to online distractions. What's more this lack of self-discipline makes people unhappy, with 62 percent of respondents agreeing that there was a link to a reduction in their satisfaction and happiness levels when they realized they'd been less productive.

Playwright Will Little, creator of says, "The survey suggests our impulse control is getting weaker in a world of instant gratification. Yet the pressure of work should mitigate against our desire to access the internet. Unfortunately the draw of the internet is so strong that our ability to concentrate is losing the battle. It is now directly impacting on productivity levels and many people just can't seem to help themselves. In many cases, they don’t even realize how much productivity they are losing to internet".

Ooh, interesting Facebook update there. Like...

Of those who said they were being distracted, 71 percent said they believed they'd get more done if they could disconnect from the internet for a time each day. Which brings us -- if you haven’t wandered off to check your email by now -- to the hard sell.

The Webtrate application forces users to disconnect from the internet and focus on their work goals. Developed by Little, who created it to boost his own output, it offers two options. It can disconnect at a set time but will allow you back online after a reboot, or if you need some extra discipline it won't allow you back online until a set time has expired.

Little concludes, "What we need is a way to separate our work from the distraction of the internet. I created Webtrate because my productivity levels dropped when I had access to the internet. Instead of working fully I checked emails and read endless news updates. Now since I developed Webtrate my productivity has improved considerably. I still engage with the internet but only when my work is done. And I'm a lot more satisfied and happy for it".

Webtrate is available now for Windows and Mac systems, you can find out more if you can concentrate for long enough to click this link.

Image Credit: Angela Waye / Shutterstock

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