How to Avoid Distractions When Working Online

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Whether you work from home as an online professor or you are a student taking online courses, it is inevitable that you will become distracted and start focusing your time on less important (although often very entertaining) activities. And don’t blame this distraction on your children or significant other; there are other distractions that you bring upon yourself. You may be distracting yourself and then wonder at the end of the day why you didn’t get as much accomplished as you had hoped.

Allow me to explain. How many times have you been at your computer busy working and someone sends you an instant message? How many times during the day do you check your phone for text messages? How often do you log into social networking sites while you are supposedly “working”? You might even receive an email about the latest sale on your favorite electronic gadget or from your favorite clothing brand, so you then navigate to that store’s website to find out what kind of bargain you can get because the sale ends TODAY! Do you see where I’m going?

In order to decrease distractions and increase productivity and a sense of accomplishment by the end of each day, here are some important tips:

  1. Turn off your personal cell phone. You can check it on your lunch break.
  2. Make yourself invisible on your instant messenger so that you won’t receive random information from your friends.
  3. Tell anyone who normally calls you during work or study hours to refrain from calling or texting you during specific times. Also if you work or study from home, kindly tell your roommate, children, or family member that you cannot be disturbed at these times.
  4. Designate a time to view social networking sites, and stick to it.
  5. Lastly, clean up your mess! If you are working or studying in a disorganized workspace, your mind might also feel cluttered and disorganized. Remove all unnecessary papers, gadgets, extra pens, cups, toys, etc. from your desk, and put them in their appropriate places.

Of course there are many other tactics you can use to make you feel less distracted and more accomplished by the end of the day. It really depends on you and what you think tends to be the worst distractions in your life. By learning to set limits with others, and with yourself, you will see the difference in your level of productivity and acquired knowledge through studying.

Written by: By Sonja Bethune, Psy.D.
Sonja is an Assistant Professor in the College of Liberal Arts at Ashford University.

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