how to stay focused

Distraction-killers: how to stay focused online


If you make money by working online, you need to get dead serious about staying focused.

But distractions are everywhere on the web, and most big tech software companies know the more you engage with their platform, the more profit they get in their pockets.

So your virtual workday becomes an all-out war between your limited willpower and the endless temptations just waiting on practically every website.

Here are some power tips that’ll keep you on top of your work game day in and day out.

how to stay focused

Deactivate social media

If you make money by working online, you need to get dead serious about staying focused.

But distractions are everywhere on the web, and most big tech software companies know the more you engage with their platform, the more profit they get in their pockets.

So your virtual workday becomes an all-out war between your limited willpower and the endless temptations just waiting on practically every website.

Here are some power tips that’ll keep you on top of your work game day in and day out.

RescueTime

Personal time management app

Download

Stayfocusd

A productivity extension for Chrome

Download

FocusMe

A customizable tool that blocks or limits websites and apps

Download
how to stay focused

Put work apps at your fingertips

From Google Docs to Slack, SaaS apps are intertwined with our online work, and setting up the computer workspace is critical for navigating these apps quickly.

If you’re looking for a solution outside the browser, most work platforms make desktop versions of their software so that users can access them through the dock on their computer. However, switching between many windows throughout your workday can create a disjointed work experience.

Also, some desktop apps like Shift bring together work apps into one interface. But, if you are used to working within a browser, this may feel cumbersome since these apps can’t offer extension support.

Within browsers like Chrome, users can set up bookmarks or pinned tabs of their go-to sites to access them quickly, but creating a personalized online workspace can feel challenging beyond these features.

Sidekick offers a Sidebar where users keep their apps for lightning-fast access. Sidekick’s apps also integrate with over 200 web platforms to deliver notifications, multi-account login, and an app-specific search, all from a single interface.

how to stay focused

Block all ads

Ads are those annoying (often animated) boxes that show up when you’re reading blog posts or articles. Since the goal of every advertiser is to get you to click on their ads, they are by design extraordinarily distracting and pose a severe threat to your focus.

Getting rid of ads is one of the first steps to preserving concentration, and there are many tools at your disposal to do this. The first is, of course, the built-in browser ad blockers. But, no matter how much they “sell” you on their tools, the fact that they make money from ads tells you they won’t be very effective.

Adblocker extensions like Adblock Plus and Poper Blocker are options for those looking to eliminate ads. Still, ad blocker developers have struggled with Chrome as the browser maker has changed its API to make it challenging to keep up.

As a subscription-based browser, Sidekick makes no money from ads and can block them categorically without concern over the loss of profit.

stay focused

Track your work time

Nothing gets you working faster than a timer and personal accountability, and time tracking apps deliver on both. Whether you are working by an hourly rate or project, time trackers can help you keep tabs on your time.

Many project management and accounting platforms have time trackers in their toolset. Still, some apps that shine in this area are Toggl for simplicity, Harvest for invoicing, and Timely for automation.

When tracking time, it’s critical to remember to start the timer when you begin work (or even think about work) and stop it when you are taking a break or done for the day. Knowing you’ve got an active timer keeping track of your time helps you delineate work and personal time and enables you to review your time management regularly.

how to stay focused

Silence notifications

Notifications come in on all devices and in all shapes and sizes. Every app on our phone wants to keep us updated with the latest news and oh-so-important messages. But no matter how you look at it, the wrong message pinging you at the wrong time is a distraction.

One of the best strategies to quell the tide of dings is to silence your phone entirely and use the software on your desktop to filter out unimportant messages. You can do this through the notification settings and individual desktop apps, but many will find this solution cumbersome.

The Sidekick browser offers isolated workspaces for projects, notification management for individual apps (and accounts), and a one-button focus mode that allows online workers to shut everyone out in one fell swoop.