Are you too distracted at work?

If you work as a blogger / web writer, you may find yourself getting super distracted often when you come across fun stuff to see and read. It’s also easy to get distracted when networking; sure Twitter can help you score gigs, but if you’re on there all day chatting, you won’t get much real work done.

I’m not immune to distractions. In one sense I’m lucky because I get to write mostly topics I love, but since part of my gigs is finding news and cool new products related to said topics I love, it’s easy for me to waste time browsing cool gear and then I get off track and lose work time.

writing offline to save time - avoiding blogging distractions

To stay on track try the following…

Schedule everything!: I schedule every single thing I do online during my workday, or I’d never get anything done. And by everything, I do mean everything. I blog and do social media networking for clients and I’ve got time slots on my work schedule for all my tasks related to both. My schedule has time slots for lead searches, actual posting, commenting at other blogs, stumbling, email management, answering blog comments, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other little tasks I do at my jobs. For example, I love reading and commenting at other blogs, but since most of my gigs only require a little of that, I have to plan it, or trust me, I might do it happily all day, and not get my posts done. I use a schedule that has little check-off boxes on it, because there’s something about little boxes that makes me work. If I see five little boxes that need to be filled in with tweets for a client, I’ll do it.

Time it all: I’m more a fan of check-off-boxes vs. timing, because I know in my head how long tasks take me, but some bloggers I know use a timing method vs. boxes. For example, set your timer, or watch the clock as you do tasks, which could look like the following….

  • 9 am – Network for blog one.
  • 10 am – Posts for blog two.
  • 10:30 am – Answer emails.
  • 11 am – Catch up on news feeds.
  • 11:30 am – Posts for blog three.
  • 1 am – fun / personal social networking stuff (your own tweets, forums, and stumbling).
  • And so on.

Set a time limit: If I find a story I’m dying to blog about, I will sometimes research it to death. TIME waster. Once I find a lead, I give myself a set amount of research time. If, at the end of that time, I don’t have enough info, I set the story aside for later. Same with images. If I have an idea in my head about an image for a post, and can’t find it in a few minutes, I settle for something less perfect.

Know what you’re writing about today: I usually jot down what I’ll be posting about in the morning, and it helps to keep me more on track than deciding on the fly what I’ll be posting about.

Use a weekly schedule: Another way that some bloggers stay on track is to go by a weekly schedule vs. a daily. I.e they do all their posting at blog one on Monday, blog two on Tuesday, blog three on Wednesday, use Thursday for paper work and misc tasks, and break up networking a little each day. Weekly schedules are a total failure for me. I have to go by a daily schedule or I get distracted. Find what works for you.

Write offline: If you’re way too distracted, you can write your posts offline, then go online and in one swift swoop, post the pieces to your blogs, add links, and publish. In this case some discipline can be a virtue, because in my opinion it’s faster to simply write online and gather links as you go, but if you’re always getting distracted, you might save more time writing offline.

Plan for fun stuff last: One technique I use is planning the fun stuff that I know will distract me for last. My favorite part of my job is green product lead searches. I love finding breaking news about new items coming out, and I ALWAYS spend more time than I should doing it, so I make sure to plan this task last and usually on a slow day (for me a weekend day usually), so that my other tasks get done as well.

Turn Skype, IM, etc. on DO NOT DISTURB!: Self explanatory.

How do you keep from getting distracted from all the cool stuff going on in the virtual world?

[image via stock.xchng]

Comments

  1. This is super helpful! I recently started working fulltime after a year-long hiatus and need a system for my part-time freelance writing and blogging. Thanks!

  2. I have a similar schedule and I use it to control all the time in the household. When it is time for me to write, my kids know that it is independent play time. When I am done, we move on to something together. It really helps them to know they will get their time with me so, they don’t bug me when I am working. It is win/win.

  3. I love the tip about deciding topics the night before. I often don’t know what to write about and will “surf for inspiration” – a HUGE waste of time and a pretty lame excuse.. heh. Will definitely implement that one from now on.

    And checkboxes are my friend, too! There’s something really satisfying about a simple red check mark next to a to-do item.

  4. Annabella says:

    This is all good ideas! And here I thought I am the only one who sits in front of the computer for an hour without doing much of anything but surfing the web and letting myself get easily distracted. thanks for the tips!

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