- Internet & the Web
Distractions That Can Adversely Affect Your Blogging - and What to Do About Them
Look! A rabbit!
Or a shiny thing. Or food. Or whatever tends to catch your attention at the slightest exposure.
They say that these days, people have shorter attention spans. More children are being diagnosed with ADD and more adults have ADHD. Whether this is based on scientific evidence, or people simply joke about the situation, it is hard to deny that distracted individuals are very common in society.
I have to admit that there are times that I am one of those. Even while working, I have to exert considerable effort to make sure that I am focused on the task at hand.
I am not sure, but I think bloggers and work-at-home writers are especially prone to distractions. This is not really all that surprising given the fact that the Internet abounds with shiny things. Or rabbits, if you will.
This hub is about some of the most common distractions that can ruin your blogging and what you can do to handle the situation.
Some of the most distracting things for bloggers
Anyone who works on a computer connected to the Internet knows that distractions abound. For bloggers who spend a huge majority of their time online working, the problem of distraction is very real and a threat to productivity.
Naturally, what may be a distraction for one person may not be an issue for another. We are all different after all. There are, however, some common things that have the potential to derail any blogger. Here are some of the most "dangerous" distractions in my experience.
- Instant messaging. Whether it's gTalk, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, or Facebook Messenger, the end result is the same. If any of these instant messaging platforms are on when you're working, then the chances are that you'll get distracted at some point. Someone may send you a message, or you might see someone go online, making you want to chat.
- Social networking. Sure, you need to be connected, but do you realize just how often you check Facebook? How about Twitter? If you have these platforms open, you will probably find yourself checking more often than you should. And you know how some people keep announcing just how busy they are on Twitter or Facebook? What if they actually got off those platforms and did some work? See what I mean?
- Online shopping. This may not seem obvious at first, but it is so easy to click on a link leading to an online shopping site. Before you know it, you would have spent a considerable amount of time browsing the store. Whether you actually buy or not does not matter.
- "Research". You probably know where I am going with the use of those quotation marks. I do research. A lot. On Reddit. On Fark. On BBC (sports especially). On countless sites. The problem is that, sometimes, the research is not necessary at that time. Alternatively, the research becomes too exhaustive, eating up most of my time.
What distracts you the most online?
How to handle these distractions
I've got one word for you: focus.
Of course, it is very easy to say just focus and ignore the distractions. But they are not called distractions for nothing! In practice, it may not be a simple thing to ignore them and keep your attention solely on the task at hand.
What can you do then?
The answer lies in common sense and is very simple: turn off every program that you do not need while writing.
Log out of Facebook. Close your Twitter client. Close all your instant messaging platforms. That leaves you with as little temptation as possible.
Now what about "research" and online shopping?
This is how I do it. I normally do my relevant research prior to the actual writing. Depending on the topic and the length of the article, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or so, maybe more. What is important is that I make it a point to do all the research in one go as much as possible.
As I do the research, I also create a rough outline of the article. This way, I can see where I am going and I can add or delete points as I go along. By the time I am done with the outline, I am usually done with the research as well.
At this point, everything can be closed, with only the blog editor open. Minimal distractions.
Another tip: if you really, really need to get rid of every little possible distraction, disconnect from the Internet and write using a text editor. Alternatively, if you have a tablet, use that to write instead.
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