How to Avoid Online Distractions and Focus on Work

As I ponder on what to write about for this week's blog post, I have 10 other tabs open, am passively scrolling through Instagram, and my cat is meowing for attention. Realizing that I am incredibly distracted, as many of us likely are now that we work from home, I thought, what better topic than distraction, or more specifically, how in the heck to stay focused!

The ongoing pandemic has created lots of changes in the world. Among others, many of us are working from home, possibly indefinitely. And while it was nice at first being able to roll out of bed and "into the office", if you're anything like me, working from home has caused a few challenges to productivity: seemingly never-ending distractions.

And while we can't avoid every distraction completely, I've put together a quick list that you can implement right away to get more work done.

1. Set daily goals

What are you trying to accomplish today? Who are you trying to serve? What steps do you need to take to achieve those goals? These are all questions you can ask yourself when setting your daily goals. Sometimes you can set goals to accomplish certain tasks by a deadline, while other times you can set your goals to set yourself up for the future. Remember to stay consistent and never lose sight of your work or project at hand. At the same time, don't set goals that are too difficult or too far into the future to accomplish quickly.

2. Create a daily work schedule

On the topic of goal-setting, it is important to set a daily schedule for yourself, especially if you are an entrepreneur or self-employed. With no real "deadlines", it can be easy to procrastinate.

I like to have a daily wakeup time and I allot my time by the hour based on various projects that I am working on. This way I don't get burnt out on any one task, but am rather chipping away at various things that need to be finished.

3. Silence all nonessential notifications

This one is SO important. Emails, text messages, and all our favorite little apps LOVE to keep us distracted. Every time that little icon at the top of my phone pops up it's like something takes over me and I just HAVE to check it, then before I know it, it's been 45 minutes and I haven't done anything productive.

Even if social media is a huge part of your work (like it is mine), it is crucial to differentiate between what is "essential" and what is simply a distraction.

4. Block distracting websites

Guilty...*cough cough*

Ever since I got my new desktop and completed my home office, I have been an avid web browser. (Seriously even as I write this, I have a bunch of tabs open). And man this can be distracting as hell! After working for 30 minutes it can feel oh so good to take that little "brain break" and browse some sites that are simply more interesting (can we say window shopping!). But alas, just like the notifications, you lose precious work hours by doing this. So if you're anything like me, give the old distracting sites a boot during work hours.

5. Take small breaks away from the screen

When used in moderation, breaks can be an effective way to increase productivity. We are simply not meant to stare at a screen for 8 hours a day. This is both physically and mentally exhausting. So it's ok to take 10 minutes here and there and relax, maybe have a quick power nap (key word is "quick"), or meditate. After all, if they have nap pods at Google there's gotta be something there right?

I hope this list can help you (& me) begin our road to productivity. Remember, small steps are better than no steps! So if you can't do everything right away that's ok, we all have to start somewhere.

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