Each time you sit down at your computer, you face a forked path. One leads to productivity; the other, nothingness.

The web empowers us to be more productive than ever. It also lures us into wasting innumerable hours on things that don’t add any lasting value to our lives and relationships.

[Photo by simonsterg via Flicker]

I think the most successful individuals in the 21st century will be those who can leverage the immense power and scale of the web without constantly being derailed by its ADD-inducing stimuli.

Bradley Kreit at the Institute for the Future blog ponders how augmented reality, a technology that at first blush seems to add more digital clutter to our reality, could actually do the opposite:

Most of what I’ve read about augmented reality focuses on how we can pack more information, more data, more distractions into right now. But I think in the next decade, some of the most powerful applications of augmented reality could be in filtering out reality and making our lives less cluttered.

It may seem like you’re admitting weakness if you need to augment your reality to save yourself from distraction. But haven’t we already augmented our reality a great deal?

Alexandra Samuel:

IRL: In Real Life. It’s used as shorthand all over the Internet, to distinguish what happens online from what happens offline.

And it’s a lie.

If we still refer to the offline world as “real life,” it’s only a sign of deep denial — or unwarranted shame — about what reality looks like in the 21st century.

So, if a technology that “augments” reality (whatever that is now) can improve our focus and allow us to play our role as humans in this sci-fi-becomes-reality script we’re acting out as a society, then by all means let’s let it.

What tricks do you use to stay focused while the web beckons your attention?