Distractions are inevitable, and unavoidable to say the least, with whatever we do.
The solution to these distractions are simple, but as human beings we welcome them with open arms for as long as we can, because we enjoy procrastinating and avoiding work and whatever brings us stress, don’t you agree?
These distractions are part of everyone’s daily lives; even the most productive of us aren’t invincible to them. It may be hard to slack off at an office when you have task after task to finish by the end of the day, but freelancers working at home are more vulnerable to distractions.
However, the solutions are pretty basic and simple, what you decide to do with them is your choice. But think about them, and actually consider them.
1- Surfing the web
This is the most common, and maybe the deadliest of all, especially when it comes to our phones. Whether its Safari, Google Chrome, or YouTube, they all serve as distractions, and each one leads to the other. It’s like a cycle you can’t escape from!
Solution: Develop some willpower, or just merely put your phone in the other room. This way you disconnect, and focus on the task at hand. We all could use the break once every few hours, don’t you think? There are also applications an add-ons for certain browsers that allow you to prevent access to certain websites, thus, whenever you subconsciously try to access them, the application reminds you not to slack off.
2- Social Media
The mother of all distractions!
Social media, whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or WhatsApp, they’re all designed to keep you on for hours and hours at a time without even realizing it. Imagine!
It’s a double-edged sword indeed; we use it for business and pleasure, but try separating the two.
Solution: Just spend time away from your phone while you’re doing something; watching TV, working out, reading, writing. Just keep it away from you till you feel the need to check it.
Resist the urge; it’s worth it even if for a short period. I speak from experience, it’s worth a try—your mind gets to relax for a bit.
Another method is to keep your work-related conversations and threads on those apps on top in order to remember your priorities and prevent yourself from wasting time, socialize moderately, do not over do it.
We all love watching TV, right? We watch movies, TV shows, reality TV, news, documentaries: everything basically. So we pretty much spend a lot of our free time on it, we even stream from our laptops. TV has a way of sucking you in especially when it’s time to catch up on all your favorite shows.
Freelancing might end up giving you so much free time on your hands, that you automatically just switch on the TV to waste it all or perhaps these days dive into 360-degree videos on your virtual reality gear.
Solution: Having the will power and strong motivation to stop, and getting back to doing something else.
Personally, I use a reward system: where after I’ve accomplished a few things on my to-do list, I take a break and reward myself with a movie or a TV episode. Give it a try, but make sure it’s just one episode. I know how addicting Netflix is, and how comfortable that couch can be!
With music it can go either way. Some songs put you in the right mindset to do tasks, but some don’t and will certainly distract you.
If I know the lyrics to a song, or it’s a favorite, I’ll stop and sing along and subconsciously type the lyrics out in my document, and we absolutely don’t want that to happen!
Solution: Either play soothing, non-lyrical music while working. Or every half an hour, take a break for 5 minutes and listen to your favorite song and get back to work. You end up regaining that focus and energy, believe me! Don’t deny yourself your favorite songs!
How I feel listening to my favorite song.
5- Texting, messaging and snapchatting
It’s a harmless habit, but once you start texting, or sending messages, it starts a cycle and you start to remember everyone you need to text for whatever reason.
Solution: Put your phone on airplane mode while you’re working, or just turn it off for that amount of time. Use your breaks to respond to texts and other message but don’t take too long! Keep in mind that staying on top of your game requires your punctuality and meeting deadlines; that’s how successful freelancers roll.
6- Your thoughts
The truth is, we can’t eliminate our thoughts from our life, even when we’re in work mode.
We can’t help but have thoughts. Positive ones help, but negative ones do nothing but distract you and even weigh you down. At certain times, we go through situations when we can’t avoid our thoughts and we have work to do, and most of the time it’s hard to separate those two mindsets. The only time it is okay for thoughts to merge with work is when you are a creative freelance writer, then you will need your thoughts.
Solution: Counteract those bad thoughts with positive ones. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come, and how much you already accomplished. Don’t deprive yourself of self-care; it is the worst thing you can do to yourself. And always remember, many of the most relatively successful people in this world have made their accomplishments at a late stage of their life, read about writer and author J.K. Rowling for example and how old she was when she wrote Harry Potter. See, you should not stress much about achievements but do not laze around waiting for them to happen either.