Elmer Thomas
2 min readOct 8, 2014


This is what I imagine when I think of all the information to digest on the Internet

On Being Productive on the Internet

A few weeks ago, I read a question on Quora that asked: What are the most productive ways to spend time on the Internet? Oh boy. The amount of options available when you have Internet access is not comprehensible, given that the options approach infinity.

My solution? Reduce this infinite set to a finite set based on your SMART Goals. Here is how I do it.

The following process is now part of my weekly GTD review, which I *try* to execute on Friday mornings. Previously, I waited until Sunday to do my review. Shout out to Jim Franklin for this suggestion, as it helps create peaceful weekends and the ability to hit the ground running on Monday.

As part of my weekly GTD review, using a strategy from Getting Results the Agile Way, I define my top three goals for the week. Then, I look at the areas where I spend the most time on the Internet: watching video, reading, listening to audio and programming.

For each of these four areas, I pick three items to put in a queue (I use a note in Evernote for this), which I draw upon when needed.

For example, when commuting, instead of facing endless podcast or audiobook choices, there are now three pre-selected, goal-focused items to draw from. The same is true when I open up Pocket or Kindle.

My challenge to you: At the end the week, take 15 minutes and try this exercise. I hope you enjoy the benefits of the experience.

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Elmer Thomas

Developer Experience Engineer @SendGrid and Septalingual Member of the Maintainerati.