How to Stop Procrastinating and Avoid Distractions

How to stop procrastinating
Kitty playing video games

Distractions are one of the biggest threats to your online success, and learning how to stop procrastinating could be the missing puzzle piece.

I’ve talked about the obsession with web site stats, and of course there’s the need to check email and social media sites on a regular basis too.

One of the principles that I’ve adopted from my Software Engineering days is the idea of context switching. If you’re working on one task, you have a certain set of ideas and resources set up to accomplish it. If you switch to a different task, it will require different tools and a different frame of mind.

The time spent closing down one train of thought and opening up a new one might not seem important, but over time it can add up to large chunks of wasted time.

Part of my approach to teaching you how to stop procrastinating involves a cool little piece of software, but even without it you can achieve a similar result by just using a timer.

Check out this quick video on how to stop procrastination.

How to Stop Procrastinating & Avoid Distractions

The top tools that teach you how to stop procrasting:

For the Mac I recommend you Get Concentrate. There is a 60 hour free trial, which should be enough to give you a taste for building your focus muscles. Then if you enjoy the software it’s worth investing in it. But please don’t spend tons of time checking out different software and deals, since that right there might be procrastination in action.

For the PC I’ve heard good things about Temptation Blocker, which helps you stop distractions and focus too. It’s currently free on their site, so definitely check it out!

The 50 Minute Time Chunks

As much as I can, I try to work in 50 minute time chunks. It’s not the most natural way to work, since my mind tries to jump to other tasks, but with a timer going it’s easy to remind myself I can get to another task later.

If 50 minutes is too much, you can build your focus muscles over time by working up to it. Start with 20 minutes and then gradually increase the amount of time you don’t get distracted by things like checking email or social media sites.

How to stop procrastinating once and for all

The other piece of the procrastination puzzle is to only put things on your todo list that matter. If there’s a project you have guilt around doing because you owe someone a favor, or if you say yes to a task that you know is a bad idea… it is time to clear those off.

Go back and feel through your todo list and reaffirm why you want to do each thing. If you’re procrastinating on something like studying for an exam, think about what you’ll gain by acing the class.

If you’re procrastinating on a project that’s near and dear to your heart, but you keep doing surface work instead… it’s time to recommit to yourself and reclaim your ownership of this creative side of you.

Finally, if there’s a project or todo item that comes across your desk that doesn’t sound like a good fit… say no! Don’t add it to your list.

Your turn!

Be sure to grab your free get techy with it videos, so you can get your online business off on the right foot.

Leave a comment below if you found this video useful, and let me know if you have any tricks or ideas for how to stop procrastinating!

13 Comments

  1. heatherlyone on August 31, 2011 at 7:06 am

    hey nathalie, this is a great post! i don’t use any software but i definitely have Creative Person’s ADD so i’ve always worked in chunks as it’s the only way i get things done! rather than assigning time limits, i just pick an item from my to-do list that is a priority, and commit to finishing it before i check Twitter or get a snack or do cartwheels in the backyard. ha! works like a charm. :)



  2. LynnCrymble on August 31, 2011 at 7:56 am

    This is great and reflects this great mindmap that I just love about Focusing in the Age of Distraction http://learningfundamentals.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Focus-mindmap-for-web.jpg

    @heatherlyone I totally wish I could do cartwheels.



  3. Gladys on August 31, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Hi Nathalie,

    Thank you for all of your informative posts.

    I have a question about your videos. Do you upload your screenflow clips and video footage to

    i-movie to edit? Also, which program do you use to add the text directly onto the video and add text to black background? And lastly, what microphone do you use with the screen flow?

    Thank you sooo much!!!

    xo

    gh



  4. a_prezzano on August 31, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Thanks, nathalielussier . I’m looking forward to checking out “Concentrate” — Yeah, it is so tempting to just “check things out” with the internet when it has NADA to do with the task at hand.



  5. NathLussier on August 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Ooh cartwheels – I love it. ;)



  6. NathLussier on August 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

    @LynnCrymble@heatherlyone Thanks for sharing that mindmap, it’s definitely in line with my approach and it goes into other things I try to do too. (Amazing how easy it is to boil it down and remember in visual form too!)



  7. NathLussier on August 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

    @Gladys Hey Gladys, I use Final Cut Pro X to edit the videos and add the text. I use the Yeti microphone. :)



  8. NathLussier on August 31, 2011 at 10:54 am

    @a_prezzano Great! I totally agree, it’s too easy to get sidetracked by cool new things. But if we set aside some time to just wander, and set aside time to be focused, we can do so much more. :)



  9. MartaSpendowska on August 31, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I’ve been using Concentrate since few months and it can really help (if I remember to turn it on :) Thanks, Nath!



  10. MartaSpendowska on August 31, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I’ve been using Concentrate for few months already and it can really help (if I remember to turn it on :)

    Thanks, Nath!



  11. NathLussier on August 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    @MartaSpendowska Hehe ahh yes, turning it on is the trick. ;) Thanks for letting us know how you’re getting along with Concentrate!



  12. Rich Polanco (from UnwireMe.com) on September 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Great concept about the 50 minute chunks. Have a little timer app on my PC that helps me batch tasks. No e-mail, no social networks until 50 minutes are up.

    Works great to get stuff done!

    I often find that those tasks which we dread doing the most, are often the ones that need to be cleared asap.

    -Rich



  13. James on February 24, 2014 at 3:00 am

    This is a great article! For Windows, I also recommend StopDistractions: http://StopDistractions.com