How I (almost) overcame one of my biggest distractions?

Have you wondered if I ever sleep? Or if I have a secret twin I haven’t told you about? Or if I am impervious to online distractions and cute puppies? A friend pointed out that I had published my 50th post recently and these were her questions (well… I exaggerated some… only some!) I don’t mean to brag – but this will be my 56th post in 90 days. Between a full-time job, a side hustle and a few other personal commitments, this website and the pet project on developing my WordPress theme does feel like an accomplishment.

But was I always this productive? Or most importantly, do I not sleep? No and no. I mean, No, I do not “not” sleep. Jawbone UP affirms me that I do sleep an average 7 hours a night. So believe me when I tell you that I failed miserably many times before I finally got up. Well… did I tell you I actually wanted to start this website in January 2016 and wanted to have 300+ articles published by the end of the year? It is now nearly the end of August and I am on #56. There, I rest my case!

Guess what my #1 productivity killer is – cute puppies the Internet. Yes – as helpful as it is, this is one of my most common distractions. Let me share an anecdote that ends with a cute puppy.

One sunny July morning in 2016. I am sitting with my laptop trying to piece together a WordPress theme review article. Then I hear a ping. My best friend has just sent me a message on Facebook – yes, at 6 AM in the morning. (This is one of the few disadvantages of having most of your friends living 5+ hours ahead of your local time.) Before I know it, I have progressed from my Facebook Messages to my Facebook Newsfeed to a News article to a random video of a cute labrador on YouTube.

I told you it would end with a puppy. Many days this happened and then I would wonder – “wait, how did I get here?” You know what I call Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia these days? Weapons of Mass Distraction! I love them to bits, but that is part of the problem!

Then there are websites I don’t want to admit here. No, not those kinds of websites, dirty mind! Websites on procrastination (or rather how to avoid it)! As though that is going to help me. Oh yes, and all those Netflix-y websites (yes and you too BBC Radio). I can never miss a TV show (says the girl who cancelled her TV subscription, but is holding on to her Hulu). I just want to know was a deranged Emma behind the murders in Scream Season 2 and who is A.D. in Pretty Little Liars and if Mike will ever get out of prison now in… what was that show about men wearing suits all the time? Anyway… I did not start writing this post to distract you, but to tell you how I got over my distractions.

At one point, I used to switch off the wifi on my laptop. But you know how self-control works, right? So I resumed to some hardcore tactics to take care of my distractions. You can take your pick!

Tactic #1: The Carrot Method –  Timer

I set a timer on Google for 30 minutes. I then promise myself (the unrestrained procrastinating lazy inner monkey) that I will take a long break after 30 minutes exclusively for internet browsing, if I just can work straight for 30 minutes. Come 30 minutes, 9 out of 10 times I don’t budge, because by then I am in the zone – the point of no return.

Tactic #1 - Google Timer
Tactic #1 – Google Timer

Tactic #2: The Stick Method – StayFocusd

When the carrot doesn’t help, out comes the stick – also know as StayFocusd (No, I am not missing an “s” or an “e”). StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that restricts the amount of time you can spend on specific websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. How cool is that! Did I say cool? Sorry, I meant to say cruel!

Tactic #2 - StayFocusd
Tactic #2 – StayFocusd

Tactic #3: The Competition – Momentum

This is the one that has been the most sustainable though – another Chrome extension called Momentum. Anytime I open a new tab in Chrome, it shows me my focus for the day and the list of activities that are waiting to be done. This gives me a sense of purpose and motivation, especially in the evenings when I am more prone to whiling away time on the internet.

So why did I call this the “competition” tactic? Because this is the one that helps me compete with myself – being my better self and all that!


Now your turn: How much time do you spend generally online? What is your favourite choice of Weapons of Mass Distraction? What is the one tactic that works for you when it comes to online distractions? Let me know in the comments below or any of the social media websites. If you are the shy type, just send me an anonymous message from my website. I am genuinely curious about this phenomena (as I am calling it now) and looking for suggestions and feedback.

By the way, anyone wants to talk about me writing about distractions while being a distraction to you by writing this post?

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  1. Your ideas are brilliant. I tried all three and thought StayFocusd was wicked! Keep them coming girl…

  2. Agree with Voz. This is brilliant.

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