Avoid online distractions and stay focused when working online

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Avoid online distractions and stay focused when working online

There are so many potential distractions lurking in wait for us bloggers. We work day by day in front of a computer with our internet access available 24/7.  If we allow distractions to take our focus we can end up achieving very little of what we set out to do, interfering with our work schedule, and standing in the way of our progress.

Every time you waste an hour surfing or chatting online that’s an hour you’ve lost forever. It’s an hour you could have made some money, got a post published, improved your search engine optimization, or done something equally constructive. It’s an hour that you don’t spend doing those productive tasks you know you needed to get done. Have you ever popped on to facebook to check what’s up with your friends for five minutes and before you knew it, that five minutes has turned into five hours.

You need to take control over your time. You have to limit the distractions that you will allow yourself.  You have to become the master over your online activities making every second count. You have to avoid becoming lost on the internet in that vast world we know as cyberspace. If you’re not careful, you could spend all of your time completely unfocused. Have you ever looked up at the clock and realised you just spent the last 2 hours lost in cyberspace?

Online distractions can ruin your day so easily. We have all given in to their temptations at one time or another. Examples of some common online distracters include:

  • Social Networking Websites e.g. Facebook, Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Online Gambling
  • Chatrooms
  • Gaming Sites
  • Skype
  • Constantly checking your emails
  • Checking affiliate earnings
  • Instant-messaging
  • Endless surfing sessions

Avoiding these online distractions can be a constant daily battle that each person must deal with. We bloggers have so many things that need to be done, and therefore we really don’t have the time to waste. No matter how appealing some of the above activities may be to you, you know that time spent doing them, means less time doing what’s truly important.

At times it can be very tempting to get off those important tasks that we have at hand, but when blogging it’s critical to keep focused, setting time aside for consistent work related activities, allowing yourself no distractions of any sorts. Your success in the blogging world will be directly related to your ability to focus and follow through, as well of course to your level of motivation.

Staying focused can be a big test for us at times. Here are some tips to make sure you make the best use of your time when online.
Get your Priorities Right – what’s most important to you? Work or pleasure? Success or Failure? Making something of your life, or not? There are only 24 hours in a day. There is so much to do to achieve your goals, dreams and aspirations. Every day you should be working towards these goals. You should be setting out to make the best use of your time possible. Determine what you want to accomplish day by day, and protect your time from all possible distractions, so you can make the most of it.

Allocate time for your tasks – Set time limits for each of your tasks. There’s no better motivation than placing a deadline on to ourselves. Giving yourself tight deadlines is a great way to stay motivated and focused on the task. It’s astonishing that when we don’t allocate a time period for certain tasks, we can end up taking for ever getting them completed, but once we set a tight schedule, amazingly we find a laser beam focus and manage to get it done in quarter of the time it would normally take.  Setting a time limit upon ourselves is a great way to get the best out of yourself.

Plan your day –  Make a list of all the tasks you need to do and make sure you follow through on your plan. You need to plan your time constructively, staying focused and learn to become more organised and effective with your day. Look at your task list and identify the things that require your full attention. You want to do these tasks when you are most focused, and least distracted. Other tasks, like social networking and checking your email can be done in scheduled breaks .

Do the most important thing first – Start out your day by doing the most important jobs. Get them out the way. Do them while you’re fresh, and have your most enthusiasm. Don’t proceed to the next thing until you have completed what you’ve been working. In this way, you could accomplish a lot. Start a job, finish it, then on to the next. If you need a break, take one. Walk away from your computer, then come back refreshed.

Limit time spent on social network sites – Whenever I’m writing my blog, or working on it, I make sure I shut down Facebook, Twitter and my Windows Live messenger.  These sites can consume so much of your time if you allow them to. They simple can suck away your day. It can be so tempting to talk with friends, read what they have to say, check their blogs, but this can devour most of your time.

Reward yourself – After getting something important done, you should reward yourself.  Once I’ve got my blog post written for the day, I will then stop, and for half an hour do something completely different and rewarding. It may be to go to the café across the road and drink a skinny latte, or get on a bench and do some weights. Then it will be back to work, and on with the next job.

Use Power Hours – With so many job roles and responsibilities I try to design my day around power hours.  During my blogging time, particularly when writing my post, or reading other blogs and commenting, I turn off my email, phone, and avoid all other possible distractions. I will close all the computer programs that are not related to what I’m working on and set a timer for one hour. I  stay completely focused on that one task until either it is complete, or the hour is through.

So do you avoid those distractions that throw temptations your way? Why not test yourself? Knowing how much time you spend every day constructively doing what you need, and how much on time wasting activities will help you greatly.  Keep a notepad on your desk. At the top, label it with the words ‘Time Log’ and the current day of the week: “Monday”. You should keep this consistently for a week, noting the time and what you are doing – and how long it takes. At the end of the 7 days, analyze your Time Log and take notice of “habits”. You’ll be able to see at a glance what it is that’s distracting you, how much you’ve accomplished in a week and how much time you’ve wasted on certain things. Make sure everything you do is recorded. Hey even include your toilet breaks. You’ve got to see exactly how you spend your days.

It’s good to play, it’s good to do networking, it’s good to do all of these things that I’ve talked about which can be distractions, but it’s also good to limit them, and learn to focus yourself to make the best use of your time.

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. Christopher Columbus

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.
16 Comments
  1. Alpana Jaiswal June 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Extremely important for all to read..I as a rule,never enter chat,but I do have all the other various distractions.Will try to work on my weak points..love u Larry

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Alpana – thank you, and we all need to keep working on our weak points, because we all have them, but can make big steps once we accept them and then start to deal with them

  2. baldychaz June 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Oh the terror of online distractions whilst studying at Uni, anything was better than writing an essay ;(

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      Baldychaz – well at least then you had a computer to use, you wouldnt have had so much fun having to use your i-phone

  3. Sire June 25, 2011 at 1:02 am

    This is a very good post, not only does it highlight the distractions but it gives you ways of dealing with them.

    I’ve found the best way to get things done is to prioritise. Get the important things out of the way first and then you have time to deal with those distractions. But even then I would set a time limit so that you’re not on Facebook for 5 hours when you should only be on there for 5 minutes. This will free up time to spend on things that are more important, like time with the family or even updating those sales pages so that you can earn more money to spend on your family 😉

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Sire – as always you speak much sense. Once i realised that blogging was the best way to bring my knowledge to the world, and at the same time i could make a little money from it, I realised this was the way i eventually wanted my business to develop. As a blogger i’m tied to no place, and can spend time out with my family, and still get a blog posted.

      • Sire June 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

        Yeah, who knew that blogging could be so much fun and that you can make money from it? Now that is the sort of job I’ve always dreamed about.

        • LarryLewis July 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm

          Sire, blogging is a way for many to have fun and make a little money at the same time, more people have to realise it is possible, the effort is worth it, and for them to pessist through the early maybe frustrating stage

  4. Jessica Brant June 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Larry,

    It is an impossible feet you ask on this one…
    I will attempt it though…
    xoxox
    Jess

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      Jessica – you are a social networking junkie, and getting worse day by day. But you know you love it

  5. Andrew @ Blogging Guide June 25, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Larry

    You are right…so many distractions. I do break my day into section. Sometimes 15 minute sections. I say, “Right for the next 15 minutes…commenting”. After 15 minutes I stop. Or, “Next 15 minutes on Twitter”. Then stop.

    It helps me plan my day.

    I also use a whiteboard to list the things I want to complete.

    Andrew

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      Andrew – good suggestions thank you

  6. Benny June 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Getting your priorities straight is so important. For me, I cut out TV now because building my blog and online businesses are the most important to me right now.

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      Benny – it is important to prioritise, and cut out the time wasters. Television has to be one of the worst available, and once people sit infront of the box thats it they’re there to stay

  7. Brenda July 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I do this without realizing it. When I write I don’t have my email open, I don’t tweet, text, facebook, or anything but write. I only bring up a browser window IF I NEED to research a fact. I have learned to write with all the noise in my house, kids, cats, significant other, etc., but for my sanity I disconnect. This is a great post as were the comments. I work with a writing group and the writers in the group are online more than they write consequently when it comes time to meet they never have anything to share. This makes no sense to me, but I work outside the home so my ‘extra’ time is extremely limited. I guess the more time a person has the less they do?? Not sure, but time is something had more of, maybe I should by a lottery ticket. Thanks for stopping by grrlguide, btw.

    • LarryLewis July 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm

      Brenda thank you so much for the visit, and the wonderful comment. Once upon a time i felt that i was missing out on much of the social networking part of blogging. I belong to some great groups, but with all my committments, and different career roles, i simply can’t spend too much time in there. But i have began to notice that they share so much, talk about so many things, spend so much time doing it, that life risks passing them by when they are so absorbed with social networking land.

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