One of the hardest things I struggle with as a writer is the difficulty of distractions. They’re everywhere, and they kill my productivity if I don’t manage them properly. You’re probably the same way. You sit down to write a blog post, and next thing you know, nearly an hour has passed and you don’t have a single word typed out.
Here are my 5 biggest distractions that slow down my writing.
- Gmail chat—I use the chat feature on my Gmail to keep in touch with a lot of clients. I’ll quickly discuss projects or just say “hey” to someone I haven’t talked to in a while. That’s harmless enough, but I also use it to talk to some of my close friends. It’s all too easy for me to get sucked in to a captivating conversation with a friend, killing loads of time. My solution: Either sign out of chat or set my status as Busy or Invisible.
- Facebook and Twitter—I shudder at the thought of how much time I spend on social networks each day, particularly on Facebook. I’m absolutely an addict, and it really kills my productivity. My solution: Set aside a few times throughout the day to check my Facebook and Twitter, and have time limits in place so that I don’t waste too much time.
- YouTube—YouTube might be the biggest time suck of them all for me. I can easily kill an hour going back and watching clips of Paulie Walnuts or crazy, old people fighting each other. My solution: Help!
- Research turning into mindless web surfing—Many times, I start out with good intentions. I’ll start surfing the web to research a topic I’m writing about, but somewhere along the way, I start surfing websites that have nothing to do with what I’m writing about. My solution: Allow myself a few minutes for mindless web surfing after each blog post or other piece that I complete.
- Music—I love music. I’ve played music most of my life, and I listen to music all the time (side note—investing the $10 or so each month for Spotify’s premium service is so worth it). But I find it hard to write while listening to most music. Next thing I know, I’m accidentally typing lyrics to the song I’m listening to. Oops! My solution: Only listen to instrumental music when writing.
What are the biggest distractions you face when writing?