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How to Stay Focused and Avoid Distraction as a Blogger

Ever sat down at your computer to blog for an hour only to find that when you get to the end of that hour you’ve done anything BUT what you sat down to achieve?

If so – you’re not alone. This video talks through some of the distractions that bloggers face as well as my simple 3 point strategy for staying focused. It’s not rocket science but as bloggers we need to be reminded of this type of thing from time to time.

See the video at full size here.

Video Transcription

I’ve had this video transcribed below for those who prefer to get it that way. The transcription provided by The Transcription People.

Hi it’s Darren from ProBlogger here.  Today I’m in the last stages of putting together a product launch and have been spending my day writing a sales letter for this particular e-book on my photograph blog and as happens when you have a deadline like this looming, it’s amazing the distractions that come your way.  All day I’ve had little beeps go off on my computer as people have messaged me on Skype, I’ve had questions coming in on social media, my phone’s been ringing, I’ve had all kinds of ideas for things that I could do, new projects, posts that I could write videos that I could record, and it’s just been quite amazing to see all the things working against me.  It’s almost like the world is conspiring to distract me from the task at hand.  In reality it’s probably a fairly normal day in that way but I guess I’ve become much more aware of these distractions as I feel the pressure looming to get this task done.

And so I’ve been thinking about and I’ve actually got most of the sales page written now which is great so I thought I’d just talk a little about this idea of distractions because there are so many and it’s one of the big challenges of bloggers, is that I find that we are so tempted to get off those core tasks that we have at hand, all day we are being interrupted and distracted.  Sometimes we’re being distracted by tools.  This week I got an iPad.  I’ve been so distracted by this new tool, this tool which has all kinds of possibilities but really none of them are really taking me towards my goals.  I can see potential for it to help but it has been a bit of a distraction so we’re often distracted by the hardware tools but also the software tools, the new tools that we can use on our blogs, testing new plug ins, new tool bars, that type of thing.

We can also can be quite distracted by ideas.  I am constantly distracted by ideas.  Ideas for new projects, big projects, new blogs, new forums, new partnerships that you can start, new products that you can start.  All these things are good but they can actually take us away from the thing that we need to do now, that number one thing right in front of us.  So we can become distracted by ideas.  We can become distracted by the tweaking, and it’s very easy to tweak a lot of things on your blog whether that be your design, your tool bar, even tweaking posts and headlines.  Tweaking your SEO, testing different alternatives on your blog, putting up new idgets, new logos, all of these things, and again they’re all good things and it’s worthwhile tweaking and a lot of good can come from that but it also can be an incredible distraction, and one of the other things that I’m often distracted by is networking.  Even now I just heard my Skype ping.  Someone’s trying to interact with me and that could be really great interaction.  The Twitter interactions that we have, Facebook, all of this networking can lead to great things but it can also distract us from those core things that we need to achieve today.

So the distractions they come constantly.  For me there’s probably three things that help to keep me on task.

The first one is to know and identify my goals, and to know them on a big picture so every now and again every six or so months I’ll sit down and I’ll write my goals.  I know my overall objections for myself as a person, but also my objectives for my blogs, and then I begin to do some strategic thinking about the things that I need to do in the next few months to achieve those things, and so having a bit of a framework for thinking about goals and strategies is really important because then as you’re playing with the iPad you can be constantly filtering, you know, is this actually going to take me closer to my goal?  As you’re tweaking your SEO you can ask yourself, “Is this actually taking me closer to my goal?”  It may actually be but then you need to start thinking about the priorities of your goals as well, and making a list of the things that you need to achieve.

So that’s the first thing; is actually having a good awareness of what it is that you’re trying to achieve.

Then it comes down to boundaries and boundaries around the core talks that are going to take you closer to your goals.  So one of the core tasks that I need to achieve every day as a blogger is creating content.  So even on a day when I’m writing a sales page I also need to be thinking about, “Okay, my next post, it’s due midnight tonight and I have a deadline, how am I going to produce that”, and so on.  I’m putting boundaries around that and I’m setting time aside to achieve those core tasks and creating content is one of those core tasks.

The other type of boundary that you do and this is what I do is actually creating boundaries around the distractions. 

You see it is good to have ideas, it’s good to play with tools, it’s good to do networking, it’s good to do all of these things that I’ve talked about which can be distractions, but it’s also good to limit them.  I could spend all day thinking about ideas, and that could be a good thing every now and again to spend a whole day doing that, but if I spend every day doing that, it would be become a distraction.  It’s not my core task, and so I need to create spaces in my life to do those things which are good but which also can be distractions. 

So for me it’s about knowing your goals and creating boundaries both around your core tasks and the distractions.  How do you keep on task?  How do you keep focused and stop those distractions actually taking away from the things that you need to achieve today?  Love to hear your comments on that.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. PTC sites says:

    You have a point , distraction is the chief rival of success , and i have that bad habit , i get distracted from any piece of job am working on , i need to focus
    there are many things i love to do but , need to focus on the work more than them. i need to give a damn thought about it

  2. Darren,
    Thank you so much for having the video transcribed. I’m one of those people that prefers it that way.

    And what’s the one way so many bloggers get distracted?
    “I’m just going to check my Facebook for 10 minutes.”

    Then, three hours later…

    Best regards.

  3. Febap Liew says:

    hey Darren,
    this is my first time going through your blog. i have heard so much about what you do and what problogger has immensely become.

    Speaking of distraction, it is only normal as human that we will be constantly distracted. Can’t blame us. In the world we are living today, out surroundings are just filled with heaps and heaps of ‘entertainment’ that it makes it hard for us to not be distracted.

    For in particular, to make money online today, i find it hard at times to just sit down at one spot and concentrate solely at what i should do.

    Even until today, at times i would find it hard to concentrate. I could just shut my self off and isolate myself but my mind will gradually be filled with ideas and thoughts.

    I know this may sound a bit in contrary to what I have mentioned but apparently, I have wrote a post on 10 ways to concentrate better when writing. I do practise some of the listed given points but it doesn’t last for long.

    http://blogxic.com/2010/07/say-no-to-distractions-%E2%80%93-10-ways-to-concentrate-better-when-writing/

    But I care to share and I hope for the best for everyone else.=)

    cheers darren,
    keep up the good work.

  4. gary lee says:

    My computer has 2 screens and I know that it’s been mentioned to limit TV but I guess I break all the rules. But the left is the blog and right now the right screen is on hulu. I find that by doing this I can sit for hours on my blog instead of always wanting to take a break to head to the other room and sit in front of the TV.

  5. Chester8111 says:

    Distractions are the cause of more failed ventures than a person may realize. The one key that makes for success is to stay focused. I appreciate the information, Thank you.

  6. Sean G. says:

    Hi Darren,

    It’s true that there are many possible distractions as a blogger. We may easily drift away from the original reason we got on the computer. However, if we have a specific goal in mind and a step-by-step method of how we would like to achieve it, we can prepare ourselves to be more efficient. Also, meditation is a good practice to eliminate excess mental noise and allow us to focus on the task at hand.

    -Sean

  7. I really need this. I usually out of focus after I went out with my friends that is why I don’t want coming out in my home office. It is really nice tip though.

  8. Hi Darren,

    Congrats on such a popular blog!

    I think having the right environment for posting helps. At my office, I am interrupted by a continual flow of questions or ‘pressing’ issues that have to be dealt with.

    Sometimes I have to threaten that I’m going to work from home before I get 30 minutes without being disturbed :-)

  9. nick says:

    Fantastic post! I really like the idea of blog and then having it transcribed…brilliant! About the info I especially like “The first one is to know and identify my goals.” Thanks, I really enjoyed the video! I get distracted very much. Everyday, actually. Thanks for the ideas anyways…