Get Serious About Distractions

by Zeus66
38 replies
In my 15 years as an Internet Marketer, one thing has been the biggest obstacle in my own daily work: distractions. It's the pink elephant in the corner that most IM'ers never talk about openly. But distractions probably account for more lost income than everything else combined.

We all like to knock "jobs" and how lame they are. I do it, too. I often call people who work a job "suckers." Not in a mean way. I'm not like that. But in most ways, working for someone else is a soul-sucking and boring existence. But there's one thing about a job that many of us who work for ourselves truly do miss. And that's the fact that going to a job eliminates many distractions. When you have a boss and a place to physically be every day, a certain level of focus is imposed on you. You don't even think about it. It's just part of the job.

Not so when you work for yourself. You're the boss. If you can't discipline yourself, it's really tough to be productive and stick to a schedule. Add in the fact that distractions are all over the place in a work-at-home setting, and the ingredients are there for a disaster.

It derails many would-be IM'ers.

We all throw around platitudes like "Take action!" and "Do what you love!" - and they're all well and good. But it's not always a failure to do those things that stops us. In fact, I think that most of the time it's NOT those things. I think it comes down to nothing more than garden variety failure to eliminate (or at least control) everyday distractions. They suck time. And because they're so common in our lives, many of us don't even realize how much time they suck. We just don't see it.

I still fight this battle all the time, so I'm not preaching from on high here. It's tough to be consistent! But I think it's important that we discuss this and acknowledge its power over us. One simple thing I do in my home is establish work hours. I have a little note tacked to my office door that I'm working and should not be disturbed unless it's an emergency. Think about that. If you worked a job, wouldn't that be the case? You'd be expected to tell your family and friends not to call or text while you're on the clock. Do the same thing at home! YOU have to be the boss. No one else will do it.

John
#boss #distractions #job #work at home
  • Profile picture of the author WarriorGal
    You are absolutely right. To not give in to the distrations is something that I have to keep telling myself. I do have an office I can go to but I sometimes work from home as well. The thing that I like about the remote location is that I can be more focused in my work.
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    • Profile picture of the author cookingdiva
      I am struggling with that myself. I sometimes do search and research on one niche that I like and than I see something else cool on this forum and go read all answers and search more for it and whole day and weeks goes by and I am still finding ideas and not putting in to action. I think overwhelm is under statement of what noobs may feel like it.

      I am hoping there is a point in time, I just start on any idea, instead of waiting for perfect solution and correct mistakes as I go.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sheryl Polomka
    It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself I'm going to be focused, I still get distracted. The Warrior forum is one big distracted - as great as it is - I know I spend way too much time on here.

    The kids distract me, checking my emails and stats distract me, Facebook distracts me (yes I admit I'm a FB addict, although I'm getting better).

    There are so many distractions it's not funny - I know I need to stay focused but it's so hard to do!
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    • Profile picture of the author paulie888
      Originally Posted by Sheryl Polomka View Post

      It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself I'm going to be focused, I still get distracted. The Warrior forum is one big distracted - as great as it is - I know I spend way too much time on here.

      The kids distract me, checking my emails and stats distract me, Facebook distracts me (yes I admit I'm a FB addict, although I'm getting better).

      There are so many distractions it's not funny - I know I need to stay focused but it's so hard to do!
      Sheryl, it sounds like you need to have a designated place of work away from all those physical distractions! The internet distractions can be easily handled by Leechblock (first thing I'd do is block Facebook and the WF during your normal working hours!) -

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/fir...on/leechblock/
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      • Profile picture of the author theemperor
        I agree, I suffer like most people from being easily distracted. I guess creating an "office" would help. Be that a particular room in the house, or even renting office space so you can have a place where you are focused on work that is different to when you are chilling out watching TV.

        I remember someone saying imposing a deadline can help. This could be by promising something on a certain date or publicizing what you are dong. I'm at my most focused when someone has a technical problem and is threatening a refund!
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    I would so love to have work hours, really I would! I have 2 under 5 running around under my feet, so unfortunately I have to fit my work in where I can. It does make it tough, but surprisingly I've been quite productive this year already. I think if you can shut the door and say "hey! keep out I'm working!" you will be so, so productive, probably much more than I am! Great post John!
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    • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
      Originally Posted by Charlotte Jay View Post

      I would so love to have work hours, really I would! I have 2 under 5 running around under my feet, so unfortunately I have to fit my work in where I can. It does make it tough, but surprisingly I've been quite productive this year already. I think if you can shut the door and say "hey! keep out I'm working!" you will be so, so productive, probably much more than I am! Great post John!
      Yeah, I'm sure it's a lot tougher when you have kids at home with you. You can't really ignore them if they're small like that. Good for you for making the best of it, though! We have to pick our battles and be as productive as our circumstances will allow.

      John
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  • Profile picture of the author Murt@gh
    I have removed most of the possible distractions that I can so that I can be very focused. I deleted my facebook, don't want to bother with any of the social media stuff at the moment unless it is to do with business! I know they are big time wasters and often people can sit around for hours on sites like facebook without actually doing anything apart from having a nosy at someone elses pictures

    Regards,
    Ross.
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    Yep, you got that right. Picking my battles is part of my daily schedule lol
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  • Profile picture of the author justdave
    You are so right about distractions. Its easy sometimes for me to get distracted working from home. Every time get distracted I make a cup of coffee and lock myself back in my office and focus on my list of things to do .
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    • Profile picture of the author TedMarlett
      Hey John,

      I'm with Ken--> Thanks for the distraction.

      I am getting better about this also. I have actually accomplished more this year so far than my best days last year.

      I do think I am my own worst distraction though. My mind keep thinking about all the things I can do, should be doing, and what I am currently doing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sylvia Meier
    John, YOU just made a distraction LOL. You made a thread so I had to come check it out.

    In all seriousness though, distractions can kick your ass.

    With a full household, that can have anywhere between 1-5 children running around at a time, I have distractions non stop.

    It's gotten to the point I utilize sound proof headphones and pretend there is no world war carrying on around me LOL. (Thank goodness for hubbies who can take care of em while I attempt to work.)

    As we speak I have music playing, kids fighting over mario cart, a cat meowing at me, and about 15 tabs open in firefox LOL. But I work through it cause I know the end is worth the means right now.

    Best wishes,
    Sylvia
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    • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
      Originally Posted by Sylvia Rolfe View Post

      John, YOU just made a distraction LOL. You made a thread so I had to come check it out.

      In all seriousness though, distractions can kick your ass.

      With a full household, that can have anywhere between 1-5 children running around at a time, I have distractions non stop.

      It's gotten to the point I utilize sound proof headphones and pretend there is no world war carrying on around me LOL. (Thank goodness for hubbies who can take care of em while I attempt to work.)

      As we speak I have music playing, kids fighting over mario cart, a cat meowing at me, and about 15 tabs open in firefox LOL. But I work through it cause I know the end is worth the means right now.

      Best wishes,
      Sylvia
      Hi Sylvia,

      I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone trying to make a good living online with all the other important things (and people) I know you have going on in your busy life! If YOU can do well, 99% of the others out there have no excuses, cuz your life is full of distractions (read: kids). LOL

      John
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      • Profile picture of the author Sylvia Meier
        Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

        Hi Sylvia,

        I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone trying to make a good living online with all the other important things (and people) I know you have going on in your busy life! If YOU can do well, 99% of the others out there have no excuses, cuz your life is full of distractions (read: kids). LOL

        John
        I give credit to anyone trying to make any sort of a living with children under foot. It can be very difficult to make time and find time to work on your own business. To those doing it or having a hard time, just remember to take time to enjoy those kiddos while you do it. They grow up much too fast.

        Best wishes,
        Sylvia
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  • This is definitely a big one for me too!! It is so easy to waste time reading emails, surfing the web and other non-productive things. I find myself wandering around the house and folding laundry or doing dishes when I need to be working. I think that is the hardest thing when you are working from home and you do not have a boss that is watching you or have deadlines that you have to meet because of the severe consequences. My goal is 2011 is to find a way to be more focused on my goals.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    I hear you loud and clear! Moving the full bar from my home office back to the dining room area was one of the toughest things I've ever had to do.

    RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author Joel O
    I guess that means that I need to leave the forum now.
    Those shinny WSO objects are too distracting.

    But yes, I am often finding myself getting up to go do something else when I should be focused on working... my to-do list is getting a bit too long.


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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Miranda
    I agree 100%. This is a killer in our line of work. I think sometimes you have to just get it done and turn off the music or tv ..etc
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  • Profile picture of the author Leslie B
    Ugh, distractions, why did you have to open that can of worms, John? I mean, I have more distractions during my day then I'd like. Then again, I can't cut most of those out, I mean, can't leave my two boys unattended

    But yeah, you're right, when you're working for yourself, you are basically your own worst enemy. If you aren't disciplined enough to do the work and to focus, then you leave a lot of money on the table, and boy, did I leave a lot of money on the table before

    It got better in the last year or so, but I still have days that I fall for everything that can get me away from work. I did found out that that is usually after a very busy period (like I had the last week), so I'm allowing myself those easy-going days from time to time. Besides, the kids love it when mommy is available to play

    Leslie
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    • Profile picture of the author wordygirl
      Just last night I decided to write down some ground rules for myself. One big thing for me is shutting the internet right down during my writing hours except for my lunch hour (oops, 1 minute left on lunch!) I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who suffers from distractions, but I was hoping that when I had as much experience under my belts as you all do I would have conquered them...sigh...
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      • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
        Originally Posted by wordygirl View Post

        Just last night I decided to write down some ground rules for myself. One big thing for me is shutting the internet right down during my writing hours except for my lunch hour (oops, 1 minute left on lunch!) I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who suffers from distractions, but I was hoping that when I had as much experience under my belts as you all do I would have conquered them...sigh...
        I've come to grips with my own nature enough to know that this is something I'll always battle. I think the best some of us can do is set things up in our daily work environment to lessen the distractions as much as possible. 100% elimination isn't feasible for most of us. So you pick your battles and do your best. I figure every extra minute I stay focused on what makes me more money is a good thing, even if I'm still not as productive as I could be. You know?

        John
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        • Profile picture of the author Devid Farah
          Personally i think distractions are one of the main downfalls of internet marketers.

          The fact that people work from their computers and have easy access to Facebook, Games, YouTube, Browsing, etc. makes it very difficult to stay the course and put in the hours.

          To quote a few cliques: “Time is money” and “You never get lost time back.”

          That being said, we shouldn’t be on the opposite extreme either.

          Some internet marketers simply can’t stop working.

          That is just as harmful as a person who is easily distracted.

          We need to find a nice equilibrium where we are getting work done without burning ourselves out after one week.
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        • Profile picture of the author paulie888
          Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

          I've come to grips with my own nature enough to know that this is something I'll always battle. I think the best some of us can do is set things up in our daily work environment to lessen the distractions as much as possible. 100% elimination isn't feasible for most of us. So you pick your battles and do your best. I figure every extra minute I stay focused on what makes me more money is a good thing, even if I'm still not as productive as I could be. You know?

          John
          I have to agree that it'd not be practical for the majority of us to cut out every single distraction in our daily lives, but we can certainly strive to set up our daily work routine and environment to minimize it. If you can reclaim even 1 hour of productive time each workday (which should be a cinch to do), that's 20+ extra hours of productivity in a month, assuming you work 5 days a week - think about how much more you'd be able to accomplish each month with those extra hours at your disposal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Sieverding
    You couldn't be more right. Distractions are my kryptonite and the best thing I've done is delete my facebook account. That has helped so many distractions.

    And now starting this year I am making a to do list with deadlines and its already been helping me so much
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    • Profile picture of the author James Clark
      Funny that you would make a post like that. I have a friend of mind who is very successful and is not a member of this forum. She starts working at 8pm and works until 3am in the morning.

      She says she has a busy schedule during the day but with those hours distraction is not problem for her.
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      • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
        Originally Posted by James Clark View Post

        Funny that you would make a post like that. I have a friend of mind who is very successful and is not a member of this forum. She starts working at 8pm and works until 3am in the morning.

        She says she has a busy schedule during the day but with those hours distraction is not problem for her.
        I do that too! Well, I "work" earlier in the day too, but I get the most done late evening - wee hours. Whatever works to help with the distractions.

        John
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        • Profile picture of the author James Clark
          The reason I mention that was because I’m thinking about trying something different. My background is corporate. So, as a young man I started as a salesman for a publishing company. We got up before the crows pissed.

          Also, we had sales meeting every three months.

          Early on I developed some good work habits. Truly hate to think that I could be missing out on some profits because I could be more effective working different hours. But you’ll never know unless you try.

          Anyways, it wasn’t long before I was promoted to Sales Trainer. We figure out that it wasn’t a good idea to give new salespeople to a Sale Manager. They would literally scare the hell out of the new people.

          A Sale Managers mind is loaded with so much stuff the new recruit would quit after one week (LOL). So, they would receive some training before being sent out into field. I find that it takes me a couple of hours before my fingers start to work right. One of the things we taught them was how to get warmed up just like sports.

          You think I should to try some of my own medicine? In the dark shadows of the back of the mind some of us still believe we are going to receive the shiny email that will solve our problems. We call that the “dummy curve”

          The emails are the biggest distraction for me, but I'm truly getting better and not running to open up Outlook all the time.

          I play a lot of Golf and carry a low handicap. Sometimes I get so cocky and arrogant I can’t stand myself.

          And then I whip one out bounds and come back to earth. That is an unpleasant experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    When I first started reading the OP my reaction was "not me" and "I am very disciplined." I have to confess, though, the more I think about it I waste a lot of time with distractions. Some days I am in a zone of super-productivity. Most days I am not.

    Some distractions I would not trade for anything though:
    • Some quick play time when the nieces and nephews come over.
    • Hobbes, my cat, decides to curl up in my lap greatly slowing down my keyboarding speed.
    • A good cup of green tea.
    • What is that great new song I am hearing on Pandora? I need to put that on my iTunes wish list so I won't forget. Fascinating bio on the band... Oops, back to work...
    I embrace some of my distractions as part of the joy of working from home. I have to come clean though that most of my distractions kill my productivity. A five minute distraction can turn into 15 minutes lost.

    When I worked in the corporate world I got so annoyed at the uselss "busy" work. Endless unproductive meetings, emails, reports that never made a difference, etc, etc,... Some managers could put in 60 hours a week and never really do anything productive.

    Thanks for the reminders about distractions. I never really thought about it being one of the worst enemies to our success but you are right. At the same time, many of us on our most distracted days may get much more done than the average person with an outside job.
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    The ironic thing about reading this post is that it distracted me from my daily income producing tasks.

    Instead of reading this i could of written a few articles, set up a ppc campaign, posted a few blog comment.... stuff taht could be bringing me traffic and ultimately sales.

    We do get distracted too often. Its a big problem with people who fail....they simply read and dream and never take action. So i guess the biggest thing here is read this post and learn from it and then go and take action.

    The more time you waist, the more you are losing time and money. That is how i think of it.

    Good post by the way....even if it did distract me
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
    One reason to:

    1. Get a separate work area - if possible an office.
    2. Keep work area clean of distractions and clutter, tv, etc.
    3. Separate work hours.
    4. Set hard deadlines on everything.

    Those have helped me!

    Rob
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    • Profile picture of the author packerfan
      For me it's not just the normal distractions we think of, it's getting distracted by having a new idea and focusing a couple hours doing keyword research when I need to be writing, or whatever. It seems productive at the time, but all it really did was keep me from finishing what I was doing.

      My mind goes a hundred miles a minute 24/7 it seems like. It's fun and frustrating all at the same time.
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  • Profile picture of the author stephfoster
    I have 3 young distractions, ages 2, 5 and 8, and one older one, known as a husband. He's a help sometimes with managing the other distractions, but difficult other ways, because he's always planning family activities on days I need to work, that I've asked be available for work.

    We're getting better with the balance, and he knows I need at least one of the days each weekend for working. I can't say I always get the quiet work time I ask for, but it's getting better.

    I've found my laptop to be a huge help in managing distractions. I can get away and into a quiet room to work now. That wasn't possible before.
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  • I agree, focusing in on one thing is key to making money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hogan Chua
    so true, there are too many distraction in the home environment and no pressure to get the work done. Especially if this isn't your main income stream or your just starting out. I think a good idea is just to have 30 minute power sessions with set tasks.
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    • Profile picture of the author smartlazy
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      I encounter a lot of distractions, too. It doesn't help that I work at my living room because my bedroom is small and I also share my with my brother. It's hard concentrating on my work when there's the television blaring in the background.

      I also have a hard time resisting Facebook. However, I'm becoming better at resisting distractions. I just set a limit to the time I spend in Facebook and other websites.
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  • Profile picture of the author Giftys
    I'll share a little trick: About 3 years ago, I was fed up with my lack of ability to discipline myself. I bought a little kitchen timer and the next day I timed every single task I did for the entire day and logged it in a journal. To say the least, it was a wake up call. It really brought into focus just how much time I was wasting. Almost overnight I was able to bring things back into focus because it was sharp in my mind and I was determined not to fall into this trap again. Of course I still do from time to time (we're all normal), but when this happens, I pull out my (Ok, now I have an iPhone with a timer... lol) and start timing again.

    It works. Try it!
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  • Profile picture of the author gdwebs
    I've been working online for over three years now and I'm getting much better at ignoring distractions (by the day!). Nowadays, as long as I've got plenty of space and the radio on, everything runs smoothly.
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