本文摘要:What do the men and women who govern us do all day? They sit in front of their screens and gawp at Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, Flickr and TripAdvisor. A list released last year of the websites most visited by British MPs reveals that what they get up to at work makes them no different to the rest of the population: they cyberloaf.那些为我们当家做主的男士和女士们整天在做到什么?

What do the men and women who govern us do all day? They sit in front of their screens and gawp at Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, Flickr and TripAdvisor. A list released last year of the websites most visited by British MPs reveals that what they get up to at work makes them no different to the rest of the population: they cyberloaf.那些为我们当家做主的男士和女士们整天在做到什么?答案是他们整天呆坐在屏幕前,盯着推特(Twitter)、Facebook、Gmail、YouTube、亚马逊(Amazon)、eBay、Flickr、以及TripAdvisor等网站。就在去年,有人发布了一个英国议员常去网站的表格。

该表格透露了一个事实:这些英国议员下班时所做到的事和其他人没什么两样——他们也在某种程度网上游荡。Even the young bankers who work such long hours that their employers have started banning them from coming to the office for the entire weekend seem to do more loafing than lending. At a recent conference I heard the heads of HR at two top investment banks complaining that data from these bankers’ computers show that less than half of their time in the office was spent on work. A study from Kansas State University backs this up: the average US worker spends 60-80 per cent of their time online at work doing things that are quite unrelated to their jobs.再行想到另一个群体——年长的银行家。这些银行家的工作时间如此之宽,以至于他们的雇员已开始禁令他们在周末下班。

然而即使对于他们来说,花上在网上溜达的时间或许也比花上在借贷业务上的时间宽。在最近的一次会议上,我曾听见两家顶级投资银行人力资源部门的主管责怪说道,从这些银行家的电脑中取得的数据指出,他们下班时只有将近一半的时间用作工作。堪萨斯州立大学(Kansas State University)的研究也反对这一结论:美国员工平均值有60%到80%的上班时间被用作在网上做到与工作没什么关系的事。

David Ryan Polgar, a US pundit and lawyer, has come up with a metaphor to describe our new affliction. He says we are getting mentally obese: we binge on junk information, with the result that our brains become so sluggish they are good for nothing except more bingeing.身兼律师的美国专家戴维瑞恩波尔格(David Ryan Polgar)曾用一个比喻来形容我们蒙受的新式虐待。他回应,我们于是以患上一种心理肥胖症:对垃圾信息的可怕摄取令其我们的大脑显得如此幼稚,以至于除了之后摄取更加多垃圾信息,其他什么事都做不了。

The obvious answer is to go on a crash diet, reducing the amount of junk information we consume. Having tried – and failed – over the past couple of years to resist the temptation of Twitter through mere willpower, I’m in search of something stronger. Various readers and colleagues have pointed me towards the hundreds of apps that are supposed to help with the addiction, but until now I have resisted on the grounds that the answer to technology overload surely cannot be still more technology.对于这个问题,显而易见的答案是实施一次强力“节食计划”,增加我们对垃圾信息的消费量。过去几年,我曾企图只依赖意志力抵挡推特的欲望,结果没有能顺利。所以,我开始找寻更加有效地戒掉网瘾的办法。读者和同事们向我引荐了几百种目的老大人戒掉网瘾的应用于。

不过,到目前为止我仍然在杯葛这些工具,因为我指出对于技术短路的问题,解决办法当然无法是倚赖更加多技术工具。Now recognising myself as mentally obese, I have decided to give them a go. The target is simple: to maximise work done in the office and minimise time spent looking at pictures on Twitter of people carrying dogs in baby slings. I don’t want to go cold turkey on cyberloafing, as tests have shown that in small quantities it perks you up. I just want to learn moderation.如今,在认识到我患上心理肥胖症之后,我要求试试这些工具。


因为有测试表明,人只要网际网路摆摊部分不会就能感觉精神饱满。To this end I started 2014 by downloading five apps: Workrave, Rescue Time, Nanny for Google Chrome, Focus Booster and Remember The Milk. The initial result was disappointing. The computer wouldn’t sync to my BlackBerry and I kept forgetting the login details for the different sites. Worse still, a whole new way of being unproductive opened up to me: I started obsessively checking my progress on the productivity apps.出于这个目标,2014年伊始我iTunes了五款应用于:Workrave、Rescue Time、Nanny for Google Chrome、Focus Booster和Remember The Milk。可行性实验结果令人沮丧。


Nanny for Google Chrome“Nanny for Google Chrome”The first one I tried was Nanny for Google Chrome – which does for information what the Atkins or the Dukan diet did for food, by outlawing or restricting certain websites. My own Bermuda triangle of productivity is Twitter, email and eBay, and so I told the app to allow me respectively 15, 30 and five minutes on each. Alas such limits were broken almost at once, causing a message to flash up that said in huge, shouty type: “Shouldn’t you be working? The site you are attempting to access has been blocked by Chrome Nanny.” My wrist thus slapped, I became at once a bolshie teenager. How dare my computer tell me what to do? After some searching, I found a button to disable it, which I clicked with glee. Twitter seemed more tempting than ever.我测试的第一个应用于是Nanny for Google Chrome。对于信息的摄取来说,这个应用于的作法就像阿特金斯减肥法(Atkins diet)和杜坎减肥法(Dukan diet)对人们摄入的食物所做到得那样,它禁令或容许人们对特定网站的采访。对我来说,减少工作效率的三大敌人是推特、电子邮件和eBay,因此我把该应用于设置为用于这三者的时间下限分别为15分钟、30分钟和5分钟。

时间下限差不多要突破时,一条消息闪耀着蹦出来,用震耳欲聋的声音吼道:“还不工作么?您要上的网站已被Chrome Nanny删除。”于是,我就看起来狠狠了板子,一瞬间就变为了一个不听话的十几岁小孩。我的电脑怎么不敢勾结我该做到什么?于是我去找了半晌,总算寻找一个能停止使用该软件的按钮。


Workrave“Workrave”The next kind of information diet works by getting you off the screen altogether. Workrave is a bit like the 5:2 diet – which forces you to fast two days a week. It features a cute little lightbulb with a smiley face that warns: “Time for a micro-break”, followed by increasingly shrill and distracting warnings, culminating in the whole system freezing up so you have to take a break, like it or not. This is maddening, especially when it happens at the very moment you had finally stopped skiving and were getting down to some work.第二种信息节食方案的思路是让你索性离开了屏幕。Workrave的原理类似于5比2节食法(5:2 diet),它被迫你每周确保两天的高效率工作。


Remember The Milk“Remember The Milk”Having decided that apps which rely on stick were not my thing, I turned to those that use carrot. Remember The Milk is a glorified system of online lists, which invites you to write down everything you want to get done and set a deadline. When you have done them you tick them off, and send bragging tweets about how well you are doing.在相信“大棒”式应用于不是我的菜之后,我开始试用“胡萝卜”式应用于。Remember The Milk是网上各种引荐表格里倍受尊崇的一个系统,它不会让你写每一件想要做到的事,并设置一个累计日期。每已完成一件事就划掉一项,并收到一条炫耀自己成就的推特消息。Remember The Milk is a relatively sound concept, though not as sound as writing a list on a piece of paper – which requires no password or logging on, and the action of crossing something off a list with a pencil is much more satisfying than clicking a box on the computer. A list has the even bigger advantage that you cannot automatically shower your followers with junk tweets that say: “I completed 2,401 tasks with @rememberthemilk in 2013.”Remember The Milk的理念听得上去较为合理,不过它的可行性不如一纸表格——往纸上写字不必须指定和输出密码,而且在纸上划掉一项比在电脑上页面方格能产生更大的满足感。

相比该应用于,纸制表格更大的优势在于,你无法自动刷屏、让粉丝们看见“2013年我用@rememberthemilk已完成了2401项任务”之类垃圾推特消息。Rescue Time“Rescue Time”More promising is Rescue Time, which is the Weight Watchers of information diets. It is a data-gathering system with targets, which monitors everything you do on the computer and displays the results on a pretty dashboard. A “productivity pulse” records how hard you work at different times during the day, and how well you are doing compared with your targets and with previous days’ performance. Thus I discover that I am unproductive in the early afternoon – which I knew anyway – and that today I did better than yesterday, which I also knew already. The app encourages you to spend too long poring over the data, which is not terribly productive. Also, the data show if I am emailing, but do not know whether I am doing productive emailing or gossiping with a friend.相比之下更加有戏的应用于是Rescue Time,该应用于是慧俪轻体(Weight Watchers)节食计划的信息版。该应用于是一个成立了目标的数据搜集系统,它不会监控你在电脑上做的所有事,并把结果显示在一个可爱的面板上。

在一个取名为“效率脉搏(prudctivity pulse)”的项目下,记录着你在一天有所不同时段工作的希望程度,把它与你的目标以及你头一天的展现出相比较,并记录下较为的结果。就这样,我找到我在下午早些时候效率很低——不过这一点我早已告诉了。我还了解到我今天比昨天展现出好——这一点我某种程度早已告诉了。这个应用于不会希望你花上大量时间细心检视统计数据,这有利于提高效率。

此外,这些数据能表明出有我否在发送到电子邮件,却无法辨别我是在发送到与工作有关的电子邮件,还是在与朋友闲谈。Focus Booster“Focus Booster”Having rejected four diets, I have at last found one that works for me. Focus Booster is beautifully simple and involves neither stick nor carrot.在拒绝接受了以上四种“节食计划”之后,我最后寻找了一个合适我的应用于。Focus Booster是一个非常简单的应用于,它与大棒和胡萝卜都不沾边儿。

It is a little timer that sits at the top of the screen and runs for 25 minutes, after which you can take a five minute break. You press start, and a line slowly advances across the screen reminding you that during that time you should be focusing. Even I can concentrate for 25 minutes, and for some reason I cannot explain I have not cheated once. Strange though it seems, my cyber skiving problem appears to be miraculously solved.这个应用于不会在屏幕顶端表明一个小计时器,它每休息25分钟之后,都你可以睡觉5分钟。当你页面开始按钮之后,屏幕上不会较慢飘过一句话,警告你在这段时间内应当集中于注意力。有了这个应用于,连我这样的人都能在25分钟里集中于注意力,而且出于某种无法解释的理由,我一次也没作弊过。

尽管该应用于看上去或许有点怪异,我网际网路游荡的问题显然奇迹般地获得了解决问题。However, it is early days, and miracle diets tend not to work for long; in time I may slip backwards and start gaining mental flab again. Mr Polgar warns that curing mental obesity is tougher than physical obesity because you cannot tell how you are doing by looking in the mirror.不过,现在还只是结尾,那种神效节食计划往往都无法持久有效地。随着时间的流逝,我可能会重蹈覆辙,现身心理“赘肉”。

波尔格警告说道,化疗心理肥胖症比化疗生理肥胖症更加无以,因为你无法通过照镜子辨别自己做到得如何。Yet he says technology will soon make this easier. Various wearable products – including a headband called Melon – are about to come to market that measure brain waves and display the data on your screen, telling you when your brain has got so torpid from excessive YouTubing that action is needed.但他回应,不久以后,技术变革将令这一过程显得更容易。多种将要上市的可穿着产品(其中还包括一种取名为Melon的头部饰带)能测量人的脑电波,并在屏幕上表明涉及数据。

当你因为看多了YoutTube网站视频而头脑幼稚时,这些产品不会警告你必须采取行动了。Possibly that will make a difference. Yet I suspect a better answer lies not with technology but with people.或许这类设备能起着显著效果。不过,我猜测这个问题更佳的答案不在于技术,而在于人。A highly efficient young acquaintance tells me that neither apps nor alarms on her phone are powerful enough to make her stop work at 6.30pm.一位和我熟识的高效率年轻人告诉他我,不论是手机上的应用于还是闹钟,都足以让她在下午6点半停下来手头工作。

The only thing that succeeds is a call from the woman she uses as her occasional personal assistant. It does not matter that she has paid the woman to phone her; it is the sound of a human voice that makes the difference.唯一能做这一点的,是有时候当她私人助理的一位女士给她打电话的电话。这位女士给她打电话是因为缴了她的钱,不过这一点并不最重要。

确实起起到的,是这样真人收到的声音。Equally, when I told a friend that Focus Booster was changing my life, she looked unmoved. With a boss who was forever looking over her shoulder, the need for an app to keep her mentally fit was zero.某种程度,当我告诉他一位朋友Focus Booster正在转变我的生活时,她回应无动于衷。