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How to Eliminate Distractions and Organize Your Online Life in 8 Easy Steps

How to Eliminate Distractions and Organize Your Online Life in 8 Easy Steps

No matter how productive you might be, there is only one of you… so it’s in your best interest to cut out all time-wasting activities that don’t add value to your life. If you’d like to eliminate distractions and organize your online life, simply follow these eight easy steps.

1. Disable all text and email notifications from social media.

Humans are born with an innate desire for instant gratification. Add in the fact that most social media apps notify you of new activity instantaneously, and you can see how social media might be the biggest distraction in your life. Do you really need to know that your friend thinks that picture of your dog is precious the second it happens? The answer is “NO!” Remove the temptation to check your phone every few minutes by following the instructions in the help articles below:

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2. Unsubscribe from any email list that doesn’t add value to your life.

On a scale of 1-10, how cluttered is your inbox at the moment? If you answered “5” or more, you should consider unsubscribing from any list that doesn’t directly benefit you. Fortunately, there’s an innovative new service called Unroll.me that makes this process quick and painless. Click here to make an account. Let the software work its magic and mercilessly unsubscribe you from anything that isn’t necessary. My emails, however, are quite helpful, just in case you’re interested.

3. Leave Facebook groups you are not actively participating in.

Since user privacy is of no concern to Facebook, they allow people to add you to groups without your consent. And even if you do participate in some groups, it’d be smart to cut the excess, so you have more time to participate in the groups that are actually beneficial for your networking success. Simply click on a group that you have no reason to belong to (they are all listed on the left-side of your home page) and follow these instructions.

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4. Unlike Facebook pages you don’t care about to make more room for the ones you do.

Due to Facebook’s recent algorithm changes, it is more difficult for page-owners to get their content in front of fans. Help out your favorite pages by unliking everything else. In theory, this should result in a less cluttered feed, making it more likely you will notice the updates you care about. Log into your account and click this link to clean up your feed with ease. If you’d like to say “thank you” (and get updates that are actually helpful), you’re welcome to throw down a like on my page, and you might as well give a like to Lifehack while you’re at it!

5. Unfriend people you are connected to for no good reason.

You’d be amazed how many people you are connected to online for no reason. To declutter your friends list and make more room for your true friends in your feed, follow the steps below:

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  • Access Facebook via the mobile app on your cellphone or log-in on your computer
  • Navigate to your profile
  • Click the link to “friends”
  • Scroll really far down, because it lists them in order of relevancy (i.e. the people you actually communicate/interact with will be at the top and vice versa)
  • Use the quick link next to a person’s name to unfriend

Don’t feel bad about it. You don’t interact with these people, so they will never even know it happened (unless they are stalking you for some reason, then I can make no promises).

Note: Do not follow this process for people who don’t have a profile photo, because that means they have disabled their Facebook account, and unfriending them here will refresh the screen, slowing down the process considerably (I have no idea why this happens, but it is what it is). Get a pen and paper to write down the names of people without a photo as you go. When you’re done with the rest, you can search for those people on a one-by-one basis, and delete them individually.

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6. Delete unused phone numbers.

Take about 20-30 minutes to scroll through your contact list. You will end up scrolling past the names of your true friends who you haven’t thought about in a long time. Make a note to give them a call as soon as you can, and delete the rest; because it is better to have a few true friends than a lot of phony ones.

7. Stop unsolicited snail mail and phone calls.

If you’ve completed the steps so far, you’ve already done the hard part, and congrats on your newly organized online life! For bonus points, click here to join the Do Not Mail List and click here to join the Do Not Call Registry.

8. Bookmark this article and schedule a check-up date one month from today.

I know you have good intentions to eliminate distractions and organize your online life right now, but in the interest of keeping you accountable, I’d like you to schedule a check-up date one month from today. Simply bookmark this article and give it a quick skim on your check-up date to make sure you have decluttered to the absolute best of your ability. At that point, you are also welcome to leave a comment telling us how things are going, how we can help, and how it feels to have more time and energy for the things you care about. If you know anybody who might be helped by this article, please share it via email or the social media buttons on the top-left corner of this page.

Featured photo credit: Hersman Girls – Already on Computers/Erik Hersman via flickr.com

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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