Staying focused and productive is a challenge that many bloggers and writers face. You would sit down in front of your PC and before you could write, you get distracted in a 101 things.
There are some suggestions to turn off your internet connection completely when you are writing and setting your phone to airplane mode so that no calls/notifications can come in that can distract you.
I have heard about this but only gave it a half-hearted try before I turn on my internet again.
Until I was involuntarily put out of my Wifi connection.
One stormy afternoon, I came back home to find that my dog had somehow severed my phone cable in one of his complete frenzy mood. It surely was him was he has the guilty face when I confronted him about the broken wires.
I was without Wifi connection until the technician arrived to fix the issue.
And to make matters worse, I have used up most of my mobile allocated data plan and is only left with about 600 MB to last me till the end of the month. Blame it on watching too much YouTube education videos using data instead of Wifi. That means I cannot be using my phone too much to surf or check on details.
Not to be deterred by no internet connection, I decided to type my draft articles using Word and posting to my blog once the Wifi connection is back. Boy what a difference it made.
The next day I woke up early in the morning strangely feeling alert. I fired on my laptop, launched my Word and started typing away. Before noon, I was able to complete about 4 quality posts.
I am pleasantly surprised by this accomplishment. It is something that you should consider giving it a serious thought when you want to be totally focused in your writing or projects.
Then I reflected on why I am not so productive while I am on Wifi and noticed the following:
1. You will react on any thoughts that comes to your mind because you can search it out.
I cannot recall how many times that I am supposed to be typing a new blog post. I opened up a New Post on my WordPress dashboard. While accessing to my site, I thought about a little tweak or something I wanna do…. The next thing, I will be googling on how to do it and the next thing, I would end up reading related posts in that site.
Or I would search a video for instruction and ended up being sucked into the various recommended videos from YouTube. YouTube is real smart….I have no idea how it can present me with so many suggested videos that I ended up liking.
Or I would arrive in Quora and for the next few hours, reading one of those life dilemma questions that have more than 100 interesting answers.
2. Focus and inspiration is hard when you are on your own and set your own deadlines
When I was working in my corporate job, no matter how tired or uninspired I was, I have to squeeze my brain to produce work. To write difficult emails. To complete difficult and mind numbing tasks. This is because I am accountable to my bosses as well as to many staff who needed my help.
With blogging or any work-from-home, it is a little different. You are accountable for yourself and your goals. The beginning is often hard when you do not see results (example new sites with no traffic growth). And it felt alone especially if you do not have real life buddies that share your interest.
Hence it is easy to get demotivated or have a little self-doubt coming in. At that time, you may look outside for inspiration- experience sharing from other writers/bloggers and YouTube videos.
Those inspiring and motivating YouTube videos- once you get started, you can never stop. By the time you do stop, you are too tired to write. And that puts you further and further away from your goals.
Kill off that internet and TV connection!
I write on my laptop and I find that I get very productive when I am writing on my Word document without internet connection. When I go out and bring my laptop out, I do not connect to their Wifi. I just type away.
Another thing is that I also avoid writing when my family are watching TV in the living room. I would bring my laptop into my room and write away. This is because I’ve ended up a number of times being hooked to a particular drama series or sitcom just because the show happened to be on while I was working on something.
In the good old days, even 500 MB data plan is considered a lot. Now most people have unlimited data plan. I still have mine pegged to limited data plan a month to control the time I spent on the internet. Whereas for my home wifi, it is not the fastest plan hence if I am watching a video, saving a blog post would be slow and met with a possible error message (errgghhh… imagine a long post not being saved because of timeout error). Perhaps some may consider the limitation and the speed as annoying and would switch (and pay more) for faster data.
But for me, it has been a blessing in disguise. Slower and lower Wifi capacity has enabled me to be more productive in my blogs.
In September, I pretty much maxed out my mobile data allocation by the first week because I was using my mobile data as hotspot to connect to my laptop to view site changes that I have done. I had to switch to mobile data as sometimes immediate chances are not reflected as the ISP (internet service provider) would cache the old version of the site. After I maxed out the allocation, speed will be managed- meaning any sites will go at turtle speed and practically not able to watch YouTube videos. Needless to say, my time spending on the internet surfing videos also reduced. I was also more productive.
Therefore, what some bloggers/writers have suggested to stay focused by disabling internet connection and putting your phone on airplane mode (purpose is to stop receiving notification and distractions) do work.
If you have watched a tonne of YouTube videos or read countless blog posts for motivation, you should be sufficiently motivated and it is time to get to the real work. Think about it- if you are not persistently working on your goals, you would most likely waste your time elsewhere through Nexflix, playing computer games or sleeping. Or even shopping.
Either way, you would not be able to recover your time spent. So why not invest it in your goals and dreams. Heck, even if they do not come true, you would earn a lot of experience (in knowing what does not work) and also the skill can spill over to help you to build or identify the career in doing what you love.