What distracts you from blogging?
What stops you writing that killer blog post when you sit down at your laptop or pick up your tablet?
Let me guess…
Social media? Kids? Office gossip?
I work from home, usually alone, so for me, it’s Facebook. It’s just too easy to get drawn into conversations, isn’t it?
For remote workers, bloggers and freelancers who use the internet for work, there are distractions everywhere. Here’s another one of mine.
In today’s post, I want to tell you about some of the methods I use to help me focus on nothing but blogging when I sit down at my laptop to work on one of my blogs or do some client work.
1) Go full-screen
This really works for me because it hides all those open tabs, colourful bookmarks, and Chrome extensions over on the right-hand side of the screen. No longer am I tempted to click them during a lull in the blogging process.
It’s way better than WordPress’s distraction-free writing option too.
2) Disconnect from the internet
I know there’s a good chance you might need it for research, or even composing a post inside of WordPress, but honestly, if you can disconnect from the internet you will reduce the chances of getting distracted by a significant amount, maybe 100%.
Split-up research, writing and editing into three separate tasks and do them over different days.
Kevan Lee from Buffer, wrote a post entitled How the Hell Buffer Creates So Much Content So Quickly. In it, he talks about the typical three-day percolation process each blog post goes through.
- Day one – research
- Day two – writing
- Day three – editing
I like this process. I tend to follow something similar.
Once you have all the research material you need, on days two and three, switch off your wireless connection and open your offline editor then get to work.
3) Use a website blocking tool
If you really must stay connected, try installing a website blocker to stop you visiting nominated sites at certain times of the day.
Blocking Twitter and Facebook might not be ideal if you’re a social media manager, but if you own a bakery, it could make you a lot more productive.
4) Close the door
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
I can’t tell you how much difference it makes. Not only does it block sound reaching you, it keeps the heat in and it sends an “I’m busy” message to people around you. In my case, my partner and little boy.
If they see a closed door they know I’m busy and don’t want to be disturbed. It works almost every time.
If you work in a busy environment, try finding a small office away from the hustle and bustle, go in, shut the door (yes, buy a do not disturb sign if you like) and open up your laptop.
Let your colleagues know your out-of-bounds, unless something really urgent crops up, while you’re working on your blog.
5) Listen to music
A little counter-intuitive perhaps, but it works for a lot of people.
Most of the time I write in silence. If I do listen to music, it’s got to be relaxing and chilled. Usually instrumentals or songs with few lyrics. The last thing I want to listen to during a blogging session is thumping dance music or hardcore punk (save these for driving).
Here’s a lovely track by Jami Sieber, which is typical of the kind of music I listen to while blogging.
6) Write when it’s quiet
Working from home? Early morning or late in the evening might be a good time for you to blog.
I’m writing this sentence at precisely 4.38am. My son and partner are sleeping, there’s very little chance of the phone ringing and I can hear the birds tweeting.
There’s not much chance of getting distracted.
Getting up so early might not work for you. If it doesn’t, pick a quiet time of the day in your house and slot your blogging into that time.
7) Close your email client already
Surely this is a no-brainer?
Nope, thought not.
And yes, I’m guilty too.
If you have your email client open while you’re blogging, I bet you can’t resist the urge to check it every few minutes. Maybe your computer makes a little beeping sound when a new email arrives?
Honestly, shutting down email is quite possibly the best thing you can do to improve your productivity.
Including blogging, but excluding answering emails!
No concessions here. No little tips on what you can do if you must have email open. Shut the damn program and get on with writing. Email can wait.
8) Switch off your smartphone
Do you remember the olden days, before mobile phones? Before smartphones. We all got by.
The world never ground to a halt because we missed a call – it’s time to get some of that back.
Switching off your smartphone will stop you sneakily checking Facebook if your website blocker is switched on and your internet switched off.
If it’s important, the caller will leave a message. If they don’t, it was probably a major distraction neatly avoided. Go you!
The biggest benefit to reducing distractions is getting things done, without losing your train of thought, in the time you’ve allocated to the task.
If you plan on spending two hours writing a blog post, spend those two hours writing the thing. Don’t get caught up in office chit-chat or following a Twitter hashtag.
Finding a system that works for you will need some testing. Once you have a system in place it will no doubt need some fine-tuning.
When you finally nail down a fool-proof process, stick to it until it stops working. When it does, look for weak spots. They’ll be there, you just have to know what you’re looking for.
When you find the weak links, strengthen them and bring back the productive you.
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to block out distractions while your writing? If you have any other ideas to add to the list, please share them in the comments section.