I hate shopping at the mall.
I hate it because the mall’s entire purpose is to ambush me and make it way too easy for me to spend all my money.
I can’t just walk through the mall to get to where I need to shop; I have to run the gauntlet of ten thousand other stores, each one clamoring for my attention and dollars.
I realized when I was at the mall the other day that my blogging experiences are just like my mall experiences!
It should be really easy for me to just slip inside WordPress, write a post, and be done with it. But instead I have about a million other things that distract me from getting my work done as quickly and efficiently as I need to.
Well, it’s not quite a million other things… More like 9.
I want to struggle with things that will make me a better blogger and ultimately a better person!
Below are 9 kinds of distractions that I personally struggle with unnecessarily and that I think a lot of us struggle with.
1. Workspace distractions, part 1
Your immediate workspace needs to be free of distractions.
Having a TV, fridge, and you kid’s toys right next to your desk is a bad idea! These things take your attention away from the task at hand.
2. Workspace distractions, part 2
The area itself where you work (and not just the objects in it) needs to be conducive to your blogging.
If there are just too many distractions that make working at home difficult, go to the library or a coffee shop.
Maybe the room in your apartment where you normally blog looks out onto a busy street and is super distracting. If that’s the case, go into another room where you don’t have such a wonderful—but terribly distracting—view.
3. Computer distractions
I’m horrible at keeping my computer’s desktop clean and organized, and I waste a lot of time trying to find things that I’ve saved. But right now, as of writing this post, I’m committing to never have that be the case again!
Some people are distracted by computer games or various other kinds of software. If that’s you, just remember what your priorities are.
Is publishing that blog post more important than that game of spider solitaire?
If it’s becoming too much of a problem, realize that you can always uninstall that software!
I think another part of this is making sure your computer runs well. Deleting extraneous files and software will help, as will ensuring that you’ve got virus protection software.
4. Online distractions
The fact that there is an unlimited amount of information on the internet is both a blessing and a curse!
For me, Twitter is a big distraction. Others have Facebook addictions. Still others can’t get enough of reading other blogs. While all of these are healthy and valuable in moderation, they’re also a great for accosting you on your way to productivity.
Get what you NEED to get done first (writing blog posts, responding to emails, etc.) and then move on to everything else after that.
5. Email distractions
I check my email multiple times a day, but I know I need to cut back. Sure, it might only take me a minute or two to check your email, but if you do it 20 or 30 times a day it adds up to a significant chunk of time.
And think about it… Have you gotten any email lately that HAD to be responded to within a few hours? No? Me neither!
Once or twice a day is all that the vast majority of bloggers need.
When you DO check your email, respond to everything right then. Putting it off till later just creates one more undone stressor to hang over your head.
6. Mental distractions
One of the biggest things that can distract you from blogging is your own mind.
When I used to feel stress from school or when I feel stress from relationships or just everyday living, it’s really hard for me to sit down and write a solid blog post.
When I feel the slight guilt that comes from putting something else off, it’s hard for me to focus on blogging.
How you go about getting rid of those distractions is beyond the scope of this blog post and is different for every person. But having lived with yourself for so long now, you hopefully know what you need to do in order to have a clear mind.
7. Physical distractions
Before you sit down to write your opus, visit the restroom. Few things are more distracting and uncomfortable than having to… you know…
Don’t sit down if you’re hungry, and try to have a bottle of water there with you at your computer so you don’t have to get up when you’re thirsty.
If you can’t stand sitting in your chair for long periods of time, you might want to invest in a more comfortable one. I bought a great reclining chair and footstool from Ikea and it’s probably the single best thing I’ve ever done to increase my productivity!
8. Unnecessary self-educational distractions
I love reading blog other blogs and read at least a couple dozen blog posts every day. But I realize that always being on the lookout for more information can be a massive distraction.
Only read about what you need NOW.
If you’re just starting your blog, you don’t need to be reading up on membership sites or starting a blog network.
And don’t worry about bookmarking a post and coming back later to read it; the chances are pretty good that 1) you’ll never read it again anyway, 2) you’ll never NEED to read it, and 3) if you DO need to read it at some point in the future, there will likely be better, more current information.
9. Blog distractions
Wait, what? How can your blog distract you from… your blog?
Last night it was really late and I was working on a new post. I decided to “take a break” and check my email (mistake #1). This led me to go read a certain blog post (mistake #2) about a plugin that I didn’t even need, but thought was interesting. So I installed it (mistake #3), played around with it, and then uninstalled it. All of this was done while I should have been finishing my stupid post!
Moral of the story: sometimes my blog is my own worst enemy when it comes to being a productive blogger.
There’s just so much to tinker with and test that it’s easy for me to get caught up in it all!
Sure, these things might be useful for me or my readers, but not nearly as useful as solid, quality, original content, right?
How about you?
For me this post was both a confession and a sermon. It was all too easy to write about this because these are things that I struggle with every day.
I still hate malls, but hopefully I’ll manage to conquer some of my distracting demons on the blogosphere.
And if we all eliminate these 9 distractions, I think we’ll find that we have a LOT more time and energy to blog hard!
But how about you?
- Are there distractions other than the ones in the post here that you struggle with?
- What distractions do you have a particularly difficult time with?
- How do you deal with these distractions?
- What distractions do you promise to work on overcoming in the next week or two?
I’m really looking forward to the comments on this one! Remember that every comment here on Traffic Generation Cafe is read, thoroughly enjoyed, and speedily responded to 🙂