Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


Distractions: How can you avoid them?

Everyone knows the meaning of procrastination. Of course, there’s the obvious form, which is delaying whatever you want or need to do, but that also ties into a bigger issue, which forms the larger and more severe form.



Procrastination (Photo credit: Emilie Ogez)

These things vary in size, form and severity. From answering an email, to having lunch, to being completely and utterly distracted by your friends or family. The little ones are bad, but everything gets progressively worse until the point when you get absolutely nothing done.

In the age of the internet, there are a lot of potential distractions. Here’s just a small list of online distractions:

  • Social Media: These websites are killer and a great way to procrastinate. One minute you’re just checking your messages, and the next, you’re checking everything your friends have posted.
  • Email: It’s always hard to stray away from these potentially business-related emails. The problem? They take up time and often a lot of emails come from social media websites. See a trend? It’s a vicious cycle.
  • Blog: I generally have my posts written and up in half an hour, sometimes longer. Add a bit of procrastination to that and it can take up to two hours, which is more procrastination from writing.

Of course, that’s not the only type of procrastination. What about things that happen around you, away from the laptops? Here’s another few things that cause procrastination:

  • Books: Every writer is also a reader. Reading is essential, but it can also be a huge distraction from writing.
  • Family/Friends: It’s hard to resist when friends or family members say they need you for something. Sure, it’s fine every now and then, but you need time that is specifically for writing time. If they approach you while you’re writing, ask them if it could wait until later. No harm done.
  • Television: Similar to reading. There’s nothing like sitting down to watch one of your favorite shows or movies, especially if it has to do with your preferred genre of writing and reading.

The best way I find to avoid distractions is something I mentioned briefly already. Pick a set timeframe or simply an amount of time that you will use for writing, end of discussion. Make sure friends and family know. Disconnect the internet if you have to, and turn off your television.

One thing I always do is listen to music while I write – soundtracks from my favorite video games, mostly without lyrics. It blocks noises from the outside room and makes it so that I can focus on writing, even if someone else is watching a show or movie in the same room.

Another thing I do is set smaller goals within my main goal. After writing 500 words, I briefly allow myself to check my websites and email. Briefly, which means in under ten minutes. After that, it’s back to writing!

What works for me might not work for you, so let me know in the comments! How do you avoid being distracted? Share your stories!