Working from home, whether you’re a self-published author or selling a product, comes complete with land mines of distraction. Stop these time-draining work distractions today so tomorrow can be more productive.
• House chores: laundry, dishes, cleaning
• The online world with social media at the top of the list and email a close second
• Time sinks like the TV and your phone
• And when you think you’ve got it under control . . . squirrel! Something catches your attention and you’re off!
It’s a surprise we get anything done working from home.
I can ignore household chores for awhile — yes, I do vacuum and clean, just not as often as I should — but the online world pulls me in. Facebook has been my nemesis.
The problem is that Facebook is also a good thing for my indie author business. I keep up on changes in business, network and learn new skills through Facebook groups. And I need to stay active and visible for my business. Not to mention the fact that I’ve run Facebook ads in the past and probably will again in the future.
But I have to stay away from it until at least the afternoon. Mornings are my most productive working time, the time when I’m most creative. I succeeded today in staying away.
Your business is calling:
Distraction can come in the form of things you actually need to do. Just not that second, and not instead of the project that’s at the top of your to-do list.
At this moment, I need to go to my website and update something. I almost went to do it a few minutes ago, but that would put me on a squirrel chase in a completely different direction.
Yes, I do need to make this update, but that isn’t my primary task right now. I’ve put it on my to-do list so I can’t forget it and will probably do it later today. And I need to send in my quarterly taxes to the IRS. I’ll also do that later today. (It’s probably not a surprise that that task is higher on the to-do list than the other one.)
Instead, I need to finish this blog post and create an image for it. Those are my top goals for the day.
A workday can be open to giant distractions if you don’t know what you’re supposed to accomplish that day. Sure, you’re going to create a course, write a book, write a blog post, complete a course, do bookkeeping . . .
Instead, every day after work decide on a single task you will complete the next day. These should be tasks you can complete the next day.
• Instead of “write my book,” decide to spend 60 minutes writing your book, or write 1,000 words of your book today.
• If you’ve bought an online course, please don’t say I will do XX course. Say that you’ll do a module of it, or even one section that you replay and understand well.
• Don’t say “build a website” unless you’ve built one before and know you can finish it in one day. Do say “write a home page and upload it to my under-construction site.”
If you just write down the big project, you’ll be overwhelmed in a hurry. Every time.
It needs to be something you know you can achieve that day. Each tomorrow will be so much easier if you feel successful today. Success breeds success.
Technology can help:
There are many distraction-proofing apps. Some block your access to a site, others control the amount of time spent there and/or control the day of day you can access them. Each of these has different specs — some are Google Chrome, Firefox, PC or Mac only, so search for what fits your needs.
Maybe blocking isn’t your thing. You’d rather control productivity. Then search for those apps.
I hadn’t heard of FocusBooster until I researched this article, but I think it can help me to stay on task. I just signed up for a 30-day trial, so we’ll see how it goes. (I’m not an affiliate. I just thought it could help.) With FocusBooster, I can set a length of session for focused work, and the length of break I’ll get. I do some hourly work and it times that, so it may be a double win.
My first go at it with a 25-minute session started with a goal of working on Canva. I did open Canva, then I made the website update, and decided I needed a snack. I did make a smoothie instead of having a junk snack so it was a partial win.
In my second session, I did make the featured image for this post in Canva. Yay!
Give yourself permission to start over.
And do schedule in time to do your dishes and vacuum. Just don’t do those things when it’s work time.
Your Action Steps:
1. What is your biggest distraction?
2. What changes will you make to get control of your indie author life?
3. Make a list after work of at least one thing and no more than three things you want to work on tomorrow.
I will ___________________________________.
Writing this post has helped me. I hope it has helped you. My biggest distraction is Facebook. I can’t go there until the end of my work day. I’ve learned to block out most of the little things that want to be done right this minute.
My to-do list and the occasional sticky note on my computer for high-ranking needs is my friend.
What’s your biggest distraction?