Two articles came to my attention this evening and (ironically) set me back about an hour, productivity-wise.

The first comes by way of Liz. Paul Ford offers Followup/Distraction, a great piece on the distractive powers of the Internet. I can’t even imagine how much time I’ve wasted in the four years since I moved away from dial-up. There always seems to be something new and interesting to read somewhere. I don’t even spend much time instant messaging anymore, and almost none at all gaming - I seem to waste most of my time on various blogs.

So, I finished the article, agreed with Ford, considered the option of leaving my computer to get some work done, and then (obviously) went back to my news reader and sweet sweet Internet bliss.

Over at the Six Apart ProNet blog, Anil Dash commented on Jakob Nielsen’s latest, Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. They were all sort of, “Well, of course,” points, but they’re easy to forget when one is actually designing a site. For example, I’m guilty of the nondescript posting titles (#3) all the time, because I think I’m being clever (I’m not). I also hadn’t considered the option of highlighting my favorite entries (#5), but I think I’ll dig through and come up with a list of good ones someday. I do remember that a future boss could read this at any time (#9). When I was using LiveJournal, there were a lot of times that I’d think, “I hope so-and-so doesn’t read this,” but the friends-only option sort of protected that. Here, I’m trying to be less offensive, without pretending to be something I’m not. I mean, I’m anything but politically correct, but I don’t have to go out of my way to be a jackass, either.

Sure, I waste a lot of time on blogs…but at least I’m learning how to make them more usable.