When you start out as a blogger, you learn very quickly how being productive online can gobble up precious hours of your day – or night, depending on your routine – as avoiding distractions online is impossible until you’ve acknowledged and addressed your bad habits.
Can’t tear yourself away from what friends are doing? Turning off social media, as painful as it might sound, is often a good place to start. But even in self-imposed Facebook exile, you’re still perilously close to an infinite supply of adorable kittens bumping into things on YouTube.
Whether you’re a blogger, work from home or you’re starting an online business, here’refive simple tips to increase your productivity online:
1. Don’t mix business with pleasure
It’s an ancient phrase, butit’s absolutely true – especially when you use the internet for work – business and pleasure don’t go together. If you’re constantly trying to avoid distractions online, you should set yourself strict guidelines and stick to them. Decide what your working hours are going to be, and keep away from anything that isn’t work until it’s time for you to ‘clock off’. Scheduling short breaks for non-work related stuff is a good way to rewardyourself and stay motivated.
2. Keep everything organised
Think about why your productivity online is suffering, and why you’re so eager to explore the more entertaining corners of the web. Often, it’s because the amount of work you want to get done is so daunting you simply don’t know where to start. Use a productivity tool like Trello to make to-do lists that are manageable, and then tick off tasks as you complete them. Set yourself deadlines and use email reminders so nothing gets missed.
3.Turn off social media
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great, and are useful for promoting your work, but they’re also very good for wasting time. A social media ban during your work hours is often an excellent way to stay focused and productive. If you have your email open in the background, make sure you’ve turned off notifications so you aren’t tempted to check what’s happening on Facebook every time an alert whooshes into your inbox.
4. Banish unnecessary clutter
If you’re working from home, work at a desk, not on the sofa, so you feel more like you’re in an office. This definitely helps with productivity as well as posture – you won’t be in as much danger of dropping off if it’s been a particularly tiring day!Keep your desk clean and tidy as it’ll help you feel more organised, and keep your gadgets – smartphones, tablets and so on – out of reach when you’re working too avoid temptation.
5. Set up parental controls
If all else fails, and you’re having a nightmare avoiding distractions online when you’re meant to be doing work, why not go one step further than turning off social media and use parental controls to put a block on Facebook, Twitter and any other websites you’re wasting time on? All the UK’s big broadband providers offer parental controls free of charge and you can customise the settings to ban yourself from certain websites at specific times of day, thus keep yourself on the straight and narrow.