How To Fight Distraction When Working Online

Almost every time I’ve got someone ask me for help with their affiliate marketing, article marketing or blogging business, they had one thing in common they needed to fight with. That one thing is distraction.  Unfortunately when you work from home at your computer, distraction can be a killer. How can you fight distraction when working online?  This will be the discussion of this post today.

Define the List of your Distractions

Everyone has different circumstances and different types of distractions, so the first thing you need to be aware of is what type of distractions are you facing on a regular basis.  The better you will be able to pin point the problem, the more you will be able to fix it.

Take your Online Work Seriously

Taking your work seriously is the most important reason that is going to help you concentrate on your online work and limit distractions.  If you do not take this business seriously enough, you are always going to find ways to get distracted, because that’s really easy to do.  The few very important questions you need to ask yourself are: How much do I want this, and why do I want this?

How Much Do you Want it?

What was your motivation to want to work online in the first place?  Was it just to make extra money from home or was it to be able to quit your job and live the life you’ve been dreaming about?  If you started an online business just to make a bit of extra money, you might feel that you don’t need to put too much work in, and therefore, be tempted to get distracted easily.

The problem is that even if you wanted to make that little extra money online it would take a minimum of efforts on a regular basis.  The only difference is that you may not need to work as many hours as you would if you wanted to totally replace your income, but the dedication to your online business should still be the same.  If you dedicate two hours a day to your online business, give it all your attention for those two hours. No exception.

The human brain can be tricky.  Sometimes, you may think, consciously, that you want to do something, but how much do you really want it?  You need to be honest with yourself and try to answer this question.  If you let distractions take you away from your writing, networking, blog reading and other steps that you need to take on a daily basis, it could be a sign that even though you have convinced yourself that you want to make money online, there are some underlying issues that seem to get in the way.  Trying to find out what such issues may be can totally free you and help you start anew.

Why do you Want to Have your Own Business on Line?

If you have been hanging out with online entrepreneurs, even for a little while, I’m sure you’ve heard the question. What is your WHY? Why do you want to do this?

I don’t have to tell you that the stronger your WHY is the more likely you are going to be focused.  If your why is just, leaving your job, that might not be enough to be able to focus 100% on your online business few hours a day, every day.

The reason why I’m saying this is because I can see the proof of that all the time.  Your WHY is not something anyone can decide for you. So, ask yourself this very important question. Why do I want to do this?  The answer, however, better be better than good or it might not work for you.

Bullet Proofing Yourself Against Distractions

Once you have answered all those questions and have decided to stick with your online business, you need to make a quick list of what is going to help you focus and concentrate on your tasks.

Decide what time of the day is better for you to work

Especially if you have another job or if you have children, you need to set aside the best time for you to be able to concentrate on your online work.  If you have small children, chances are that you will be distracted and won’t be able to work much when they are around, this means that while they are at school or asleep should be the best time for you to work.

If you have another job, you need to set aside a SPECIFIC amount of time that will allow you to work. If you have a family, you need to inform them that this is not an option and they need to leave you alone during that time.  Once you’re done give them all the attention they need.

Cut your Online Distraction by 80%

It has been said many times how people trying to work at their computer can get distracted by emails and the internet.  There are two easy fix for such problems.

1- Make sure you cut your email alert if you have one, and schedule specific times to check your inbox.  Do not check it under any circumstances between those times.

2- In order not to get distracted by the internet I use Google Chrome.  For the longest time I was reluctant to use this browser without even knowing why, but since the day I started using it, I absolutely love it and do not use any other browser.

The great thing about Google Chrome is that it’s distraction free because it’s basically blank with not news, photo or advertising to grab your attention.  So, if you need to go online, only go to the site you need to go to, and leave it at that. Google Chrome can really help you with this.

Take your Excuses for What they are

That’s right; take your excuses for what they really are, which is just a bunch of excuses.  Of course, we all have things that will distract us at one time or another. We all have circumstances that may be disrupting our online work and focus once in a while, but we can’t allow ourselves to find daily excuses for why we haven’t done the work that we were supposed to do.

So, now it’s your turn. Are you finding distractions hard to resist? Why do you do not to get distracted?




67 thoughts on “How To Fight Distraction When Working Online”

  1. Hello Sylviane,
    I must admit the working online can be frustrating becuase of the results that come online, we need to have a cockroacjh mentality as Anthony says in his post today!
    Focus, clarity, determination and a ig why is what we most need to be there are create excellence.
    Thanks for this post!

    1. Hi Patricia and welcome here 🙂

      Yes, in order to be able to focus more and get distracted less, we need to have a strong determination and a strong WHY.

      Thanks for your feedbacks, very much appreciated

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for coming here. Yes, email can be a big waste of our time if not controlled properly. Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for leaving your feedbacks.

  2. Ooh I love this post – take your excuses for what they are: excuses. My top excuse for the day is I feel overwhelmed. So to banish that sort of rubbishy thinking I’m going for a cuppa and then coming back to write a list with a fresh head on 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Welcome here. Yes, sometimes I get a bit tired of hearing excuses from people who ask for my help. Now, I really “hear” them excuses, clear as spring water and I let the person know right away. Don’t really care if they like it or not anymore 🙂 It needs to be said.

      Thanks for your feedbacks and hope to see you again here.

  3. Hi Sylviane,

    the problem with distraction is that it doesn’t just happen. It’s a method to avoid the important tasks at hand. It’s incredible what people are scheming out to avoid to do the things that make the money. I admit that I am not always free of it. That’s why I appreciate your advice:”How much do you want it ?” The bigger the desire, the less vulnerable to distraction, that’s the equation, right ?

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Take care


    1. Hi Oliver,

      It’s true that we can find many ways to get distracted away from making money. I have done that a whole lot myself.

      When I see you here, however, I can’t help thinking that Germans are probably one of the most focus people as a whole, and that’s how a lot of people see them. What are your thoughts on that?

      It’s true that the stronger the desire, the more focus we are going to have.

      Thanks for coming, Oliver 🙂

      1. Hi Sylviane,

        interesting thought to ponder on. Well, Germans can be very focused, the question remains the same: What are they focused on ? On good things that makes people’s lives easier or on bad things that makes them more difficult ?

        Anyway, anybody can be happy regardless of what everybody else, the “society” or some government does.



  4. I agree with everyone Sylviane, what a wonderful post.

    It’s not just about the distractions to me. It’s like you mentioned, sometimes the reason you venture into this is not really important enough to you which is why you can get very easily distracted with other things.

    I usually allot so much time to certain tasks and even put a timer on so that I make sure I do nothing else during that time frame. Let’s face it, consistent action is what’s going to get the results so constantly checking your email or chatting with people on Facebook isn’t going to get the job done.

    Ask yourself why you’re really here and then find out what works best for you as far as eliminating those distractions per the suggestions you’ve named above. That’s the best way to start if you ask me.

    Thanks for sharing this Sylviane and I’ll be sure to do the same.

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    1. Thanks for your compliment, Adrienne.

      I was a bit stuck this week about what to write about, but it’s that constant focus and push that I force myself into that made me write about this last night at the last minute.

      I’ve just got a new writing job that makes me discover, research and write an article in under two hours, so that sure improve my speed these days. I love it!

      I see you as a very focus person, Adrienne, I think that you are doing quite well 🙂

  5. Great post on minimizing distractions when working online!

    These tips work just as well for keeping distractions at bay for any kind of effort we make. If its not important to you then why are you doing it? If it is important, either in its own right or as part of a larger goal, then its important to give it our full attention!

    Have a grateful day!

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    1. Very well said, Chrysta.

      If it’s important to you, you should be your best motivator and focusing should not be a real issue. That’s why it’s very important to ask oneself the question, why am I doing this? If the answer is not obvious, then comes the problems with distractions.

      Thanks for your feedbacks 🙂

  6. Sylvaine, distractions are a problem for anyone who works on a computer, even if they do not run an online business! That’s why so many companies (who can afford it) set up firewalls in their office and block out sites like Facebook, or Amazon or anything that people might go to instead of working.

    Of course, those are not the only distractions – even just email can be a distraction if you constantly pay attention to every one that comes in. My email pops up a little alert in the corner of my computer every time a new message comes in and when I really want to get something done, I have to close the email program completely because those little popups will drive me nuts.

    It’s really important to focus, remind yourself of what you want to accomplish and set tasks and goals that you want to achieve during the day.

    This was a great reminder to everyone to stop paying attention to “everything else” and make sure to pay attention to the real thing that matters, and that’s building and running your business.
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    1. Yes, Carol, distraction is everywhere. I don’t even know how companies who do not block their employees from going into different site can even come out OK at the end of the day.

      This is the wonder of the internet and its worse nightmare. everything under the sun at the tip of your little fingers in just second. Very hard to resist. Sometimes I am in the middle of work and I feel like going to YouTube to listen to some French songs from when I was a teenager 🙂 Wow, some tough stuff to resit right there!

  7. Oh I can relate to this post Sylviane!

    I have found that the days when I forget to write down my 3 tasks that I absolutely must do are the days when I get distracted. When I have some tasks laid out I am very good with restricting my time, but it does take some serious commitment doesn’t it?
    Food is another big distraction of mine working from home 🙂

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    1. Hi Nicky,

      I totally agree that writing down your tasks will help you get much less distracted. I do that too and it works better for me as well.

      For the most part, I am very disciplined with food, thanks to having been raise to a french mom who taught me NOT to eat between meals, so it’ in my “paradigm” and to this day I have no need for food between meals.

      However, distraction has many other tricks, if not one there is another.

      Thanks for leaving your feedbacks, Nicky 🙂

  8. Hi Sylviane,
    Distractions….I think we all have them. When you said to remind yourself WHY you are online that really resonated with me. I do get distracted even when I have all my work cut out for me and stick to it. It just happens sometimes.
    As I read this, I wrote on a post-it WHY. This will certainly help me to focus on building my product. It is in the works, but I’m having difficulty with it at this time. WHY – that one simple word has changed my mindset and I thank you so much for helping me.
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    1. Hi Donna,

      Well, I’m very flattered that I could help someone like you who pretty much seems to have it all together. However, we can ALL enjoy a little reminder sometimes, and yes, one word such as WHY might do it.

      Believe me I do get inspiration by my own post, and try to use my OWN advice, so my blog post also helped me here 🙂

      Thanks for your feedback, Donna 🙂

    1. Hi Herbert,

      Yes, putting on your headphone with “work inducing” music is an excellent way to help your concentration and avoid distraction.

      Thanks for your feedbacks 🙂

  9. Hi Sylviane,

    Just like you said it’s all about your why. Working at home has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

    Getting distracted is so easy. That is why I believe you have to find a way to be alone with no one around so if there are any distractions it will be your own fault for the most part.

    I also believe whether you are working part time or full time you should take your business seriously. Business is business.

    Terry Conti
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    1. Hi Terry,

      Indeed, taking your business seriously is vital in order to do your job. I think that’s what is lacking for a lot of people, they don’t take it seriously enough, therefore, get distracted easily.

      Thanks for coming 🙂

  10. Sylviane,

    I would have to agree that distractions are the leading cause of “procrastinationitice” and “WhyDidn’tIFinishThatTask” Flue. An epidemic which has been sweeping the blogshpere and crippling even some of the best internet marketers.

    Discipline, clear plan of action and proper time limits can help. One of the best work arounds for this issue has been a decent listed to do plan with matching notes. What I mean is it’s easy to just write a to do list. But when i add a couple of keywords or triggers around that action item it seems to take on a life of it’s own.

    I’m much more eager to finish it as I’ve put just a little more thought to it. Thanks for the great tips and well outlined post.

    Ken Pickard
    The Network Dad
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    1. Hi Ken,

      Thanks for your feedbacks. Yes, distraction and procrastination have the same mother, so to speak. both are soft killer of success.

      Glad you came and added your very interesting inputs.

  11. Hi Sylviane,

    You have made a very valid point of having specific times to check emails , because that can be a major distraction. Also I think it is very important to have a list of exact goals you are working on and that way your mind is clear and a lot harder to get distracted . Take care Rosemary

    1. Hi Rosemary,

      Thanks for coming here.

      Yes, email used to be a great distraction for me, but I got much better by applying my own advice.

      Making a list of goals and tasks it’s very helpful. We should all do that and we’d get much more done every time.

  12. This is a great post about how to spend quality time on doing the things you NEED TO DO instead of wasting it on things that don’t matter. I’d have to say the biggest things that waste time for me are Facebook & “learning things” that usually don’t pertain to what I need to do. I mean, there’s seemingly always something you can learn that you don’t need to know. So yes, organizing that time is a smart way to go.

    As always, another great post.

    Seth L.

    1. Hi Seth,

      I’m glad you came this week for my post. Your post did great last week, by the way.

      We all have something that is pulling us away from our work at one point or another, don’t we? The best way to fight it is to be aware, and do control damage as much as we can.

  13. Hi Sylviane, there are so many ways to get distracted from your work when you work online and this is really a problem for any business owner. For me the best way to avoid destractions is to focus only on one task each time and when you finish moving to the next task following a list, thanks for sharing…
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    1. Hi Kostas,

      I think that taking one step at the time (one task at the time) is a very good tip to stay focus and avoid distraction.

      Thanks for your feedbacks, always appreciated 🙂

    1. Hi Galen,

      I think that we could all say that, you know. We are a distracted type of animal 🙂

      I’m glad if my list could be of any help to you. Thanks for your visit, always appreciated.

  14. There are a lot of instances that distraction will come across our concentration. However, those tips that you have shared is very strong influence to consider.
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  15. Hi Sylviane
    It can be so easy to get distracted when working from home and you have listed some great ways to overcome this problem.
    I also use Google Chrome and like yourself will not use anything else now.
    Although I do not have small children at home to distract me I have a husband who also works from home and sometimes he demands my attention LOL so I have to tell him in a nice way to let me finish the work I am doing at the time and wait for my input (he designs websites etc and often needs my opinion!) so I am training him to leave me alone and when I am taking a break (which is also important I think as you cannot sit at your PC ALL day!) I will then help him….
    I plan my day the night before and use my online calendar to schedule my jobs for the day, most of the time I get to stick to it but there are times when something happens and you have to adjust it.
    Thanks for sharing, hope you have a great day.
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    1. Hi Pauline,

      I just laughed out loud reading your comment when you mentioned how you have to train your husband to leave you alone. I am divorced now, but I’ve been married before and I so know what you are talking about. Those guys always need us, don’t they?

      Believe me I know that you do not need to have children to be distracted or disturbed I do not have any children either but still have to fight it like anyone else.

      Thanks for your great input and come back 😉

  16. Great post Sylviane! I think a lot of people struggle with the distractions that come with working online. It is very easy to get distracted by e-mail, social media, videos and even the things going on in your environment.
    I love the tips you give in your post! One that I had not thought of doing is using Google Chrome as my browser. That is actually really great advise.
    I have learned I have to shut down my e-mail and Facebook when I have set work times because it is so tempting to go look when I see a new notification.
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    1. Hi Angela,

      Nice to meet you here.

      Yes, Google Chrome is such a great help for me. When I was using other browsers with all those, news and video stuff I was so distracted sometimes I forgot what I was meaning to do in the first place.

      Thanks for coming by and leaving your comment.

  17. Hi Sylviane,

    I have found that dedicating a specific time to work on my blog and business works best for me. If I turn the television off, and don’t check email, then I can stay pretty focused. Your suggestion for using Google Chrome is a good one! Going online to research something specific can be easily forgotten if we see headlines or other items that are distracting.

    It’s a matter of discipline and as you stated, having a big enough why, that will help us to fight our distractions. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
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    1. Hi Jamella,

      Yes, I find that a lot of people who have read this post like the idea of Google Chrome. I’ts so very true that headlines and other distracting “bells” are not good for concentration, and Google Chrome help to cut all that out!

      Thanks for leaving your feedbacks, Jamella 🙂

  18. since I started timing myself with each thing that I want to get done I have been much less distracted… Am I easily distracted.. to some degree.. I think for me it is more where do I start!! You have made some great points here.. I am progress in motion… Keep trying things to help the distraction that I do have.. Locking my door when others are home doesn’t even help!! LOL Putting on my headset does help minimize the others distracting me… So now it is the self distraction that I work on!
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    1. Hi Holly,

      I am also very easily distracted. I’ve always been that way, so for people like us it can be a challenge to stay focus, but we can certainly improve by using tips. I use my own tips.

      Thanks for coming.

  19. I do not work at home full time, but have an academic career where my deadlines are largely driven by …me. For some people, this system works incredibly well.

    Those who can focus and set reasonable short and long term goals are strong academics and thrive on the independence and self-motivation of the academic world. However, there are just as many who go down too many paths, who get caught up in the wrong activities, or who are not able to put words on a page. These people do not do very well in academics…

    I guess it is a profession which is similar to what you described. For me, the most distracting things are typically other people, the internet, and email. I have worked to set limits with other people (i.e., meeting with them once a week or once a day) and try to only spend a certain amount of time checking all my emails at once. The internet I try to restrict to lunchtime, evenings, and weekends, when possible.
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    1. Hi Kristen,

      Very interesting comment you left here. I think that email and internet are two biggies when it comes down to distractions, but with a bit of discipline we can conquer them.

      Thanks for coming, Kristen 🙂

  20. Great post Sylvia, very important… it’s EXACTLY what I teach also in my Double Your Business Productivity course…

    In fact, I’m doing a presentation to a small group of entrepreneurs talking about eliminating distractions… I’m very much looking forward to it!

    Thanks for sharing and great topic…

    1. Hi Gavin,

      Thanks for coming. I’m glad this is part of your teaching, distraction can be a plague if people don’t know how to tackle it.

  21. Hi Sylviane,
    I really appreciate the great suggestions you recommend. There are so many things to get distracted with when you have a online business but I find that if I make a daily schedule of things I need to accomplish it makes it easier for me. I never thought about using Google Chrome but now that I know the benefits I will try it. Thanks for the good tips!
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    1. Hi Shelley,

      So sorry your comment got stocked in moderation land:( That happens sometimes that’s why I check regularly.

      Yes, try Google Chrome, i’t really great. Once you try you won’t use anything else.

      I love the title of your post here. Will check it today.

  22. There is some good pointers here. It can be hard to stay focused when at home. That is why it important to minimize distractions by turn off the tv and emails. This way we are more focused.

    1. Hi Jacob,

      Yes, TV and email can be killers, but we can dominate them, can’t we?

  23. Hi Sylviane,

    I couldn’t agree more about the emails! I am so much more productive when I wait until the afternoon or late morning to check my email! I also find that writing a list of my priorities helps or I will get distracted by something unimportant!

    I’m with you on Google Chrome. My favorite aspect is all of the extensions that we can add.


    1. Hi Stacy,

      I think that writing down what you have to do is a great helper to focus. Having a specific time for email is a must as emails can be a huge wast of time.

  24. Great post, Sylviane! I think that my big problem with distractions is not just using the computer, but the fact that social networking can be both the biggest distraction and the source of biggest productivity. For me, the big issue is finding that balance.
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    1. That’s true, Steve. Social media is at the same time the a distraction and a huge way of getting traffic and business. I guess the best way to find a balance is to monitor yourself and giving you task to complete.

      Nothing allowed until all tasks are completed.

  25. I got some relief after reading this.
    I have done some self-introspection and checked myself whether do i really set daily goals.Back came a reply from my consience which is shocking to me.I realized that my conscience has been reprimanding me and advising me for the past 22 years to think high and it knows that the thing which stops me from doing so is having some junk and stray feelings always which breaks my concentration.
    Now,my conscience is more clear after reading this.
    Thanks to the author.

    1. Hi Amrik,

      Well, the author would be me 🙂 Sylviane 🙂

      I’m glad if this post helped you clear out some things that might have clutter your mind and prevent you from your work in some way.

  26. Distractions, oh yes.

    I find it really hard to cope with distractions – social media basically.

    But, right now I am using my distractions for good – I just check my email, for everything – comment replies etc. I have my twitter tab open (if there are any new mentions/interactions, I can see the number count in the tab itself). I use email to check for FB notifications. I don’t use social media for personal purposes, mostly for blogging. Nowadays, I am using these distractions to interact with other bloggers and build relationships.

    But, there are times, I need to fight these distractions, especially when I am writing.

    When I write, I just go with the flow. I don’t usually check back until I have finished writing (if I do, I have to wait sometime before I get back into the flow).

    It is really hard for me sometimes, because I use Rockmelt browser (all the social stuff is integrated). But, there is a quiet mode in which I can mute all these social distractions.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing the tips, Sylviane.

    Appreciate the post,

    Jeevan Jacob John
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  27. Email alert is for me the worst enemy. The problem is that it takes time to detractive it any time need to concentrate. On the other hand I had sometimes the experience, when the task I was working was interesting, urgent or serious, to ignore any alerts and concentrate without problem.

    1. Hi Prosklitriria,

      Thank you for coming and welcome to my blog.

      I agree, email alerts can be distracting. I learned to ignore them, so now it rarely calls my attention if I want to concentrate.

  28. Hi Sylviane!

    Sorry to have been missing lately! Was busy with exams!

    As for distraction online, I have 12 tabs open right now and you know the amount of distraction that causes!

    Normally I log off from every social network when I am about to write a piece or work on a project; it makes focus so much more easier. Otherwise if I am logged on to FB and twitter while working; my work never gets finished!

    1. Hi Hajra,

      Yes, it’s nice to see you back.

      I know what you mean, Social Media can be a huge distraction, it wise to shut them off when we need to concentrate on something else.

      Thanks for your feedbacks, Hajra 🙂

  29. I’ve recently read that Facebook is responsible for about 10% loss of productivity during the day! So if you are using facebook, close it, or if you are a company, ban the employees from using it and there goes a 10% rise in productivity. Would be a nice test! 🙂

  30. this is a great discussion for shifting the distractions!
    I have recently started email triage to get more time – at one point I was waiting for incoming email… how crazy is that? Effective time management is essential to all online entrepreneurs.

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