The internet is now chock full of tutorials and advice videos on how to make money online in different areas. ECommerce, Dropshipping, affiliate marketing, freelancing, consulting – they’re all possible and there are “gurus” around everywhere now so who do you listen to.
In one sense it perhaps doesn’t even matter whose advice or methodology you follow for making money online. Anyone can make money in any of the above areas following a number of different methods provided they put in the time and effort required and are persistent in reaching their goals.
However, it is often putting the undiluted time and attention into your activity which is where many people come unstuck, since there are so many distractions in modern daily life that pull your attention and focus on all different directions and stop you truly getting any meaningful work done.
Just because you are spending “time” with the intention of trying to build your latest website or eCommerce store, doesn’t mean you are actually getting much done. If you have too many distractions in your life you can devote a lot of time to this and still get very little done.
This is why arguably the most important step to take to ensure success in working online is to remove any obstacles and distractions in you life which hinder your productivity and break your attention and focus. This includes more than anything, social media and use of phones.
Let’s look at some people who argue this point in more detail.
Alex Becker on Concentration and Focus
The first person whose advice we will point to on this is Youtuber Alex Becker, who has some interesting thoughts on the one key to success in making money online. He argues it is not about searching for any one strategy or tactic as such, but simply removing anything and everything in your daily life that gets in your way.
Becker is for sure a polarizing character and some will find him arrogant and obnoxious. However, the advice he is giving is totally sound in spite of the aggressive delivery of it. If you can look past the blunt delivery style then there is a lot to be said for the points he is making.
He does come across as hateful and vitriolic at times, and this despite the fact that he apparently meditates daily. Perhaps he needs to meditate a little more! Maybe the arrogant act he puts up is just that – an act and a persona to differentiate himself from other advice givers on Youtube. I personally get the feeling he isn’t actually like that in real life.
Remove All Distractions
Becker’s advice is not about searching outwardly for some magic trick, formula or strategy that is going to make you succeed. Is is about looking inwardly and removing all barriers and obstacles that are stopping you succeeding. it is about getting rid of mental barriers and daily distractions that stop you getting stuff done.
It is really that simple. There is no magic guru or trick to follow, and he includes himself in that. Just look in close detail at your daily life and be ruthless in the way you cut out anything that is stopping you getting work done, or making you get less work done.
This means cutting out all nonsense distractions that aren’t going to help you get to your goal. This includes things like:
- Getting off social media
- Staying off your phone and deleting all your apps. It is a good idea to keep it turned off, away from where you are working and only check it a few times day maximum
- Get rid of or sell your TV if you have one
- Cancel and Netflix or other subscriptions that are just diverting attention away from working towards success online
- Get rid of or sell any video games consoles you have – gaming is a massive time drain
- As a bonus, any money you get from taking the above three steps can be used to get set up with the domains and hosting required to get started if you are struggling on this.
Taking these steps is important for a few reasons, the most obvious one being the time saved but also the impact this removal of distractions has on focus. Social media and use of phone especially represents a huge distraction and diverter of focus away from one thing.
Constantly checking your phone for texts and Facebook messenger is stopping you getting into that place of focus that will really allow you to get a lot of stuff done during any period of time you devote to building your websites or other online business.
True focus and concentration comes when you dedicate all your attention to one thing, and remove anything else. Constantly flicking back and forward between work and distractions stops you getting into that place of focus and keeps your productivity at a fraction of what it could be.
Cal Newport on Deep Work
Cal Newport basically argues exactly the same point in his presentation above. To get in a state of focus where you are truly productive, and producing something exceptional and of really high quality – what he calls deep work – requires devoting ever increasing amounts of undistracted time and attention to that activity.
Social media and other distractions get in the way of this by pulling your attention and focus in all different directions, preventing your from ever getting into this state of intense focus where you can perform deep work and truly get a lot done.
Moreover, as well as being a distraction in the moment, Newport covers how the way people interact with social media can over time permanently reduce their capacity to pay attention to focus on one thing. Excessive use of social media can remould the brain into constantly seeking new stimulation and thereby harm one’s ability to give their undivided attention and focus to a project.
This is a further argument in favor of just getting off social media altogether. Moreover both Becker and Newport report they have thriving businesses without using any social media at all, dispelling the myth that you “must” be on social media in order for your online business to succeed.
We have made a similar point in our article on the best use of your time as a blogger. Social media can definitely be useful in internet marketing – Pinterest, Reddit and Youtube can be great avenues to build traffic to a site – but it can also represent a massive time drain if you get too absorbed into it and cross the line where this is no longer the most efficient use of your time.
General Steps to Take
Here are some general pointers to take away from the videos posted, emphasizing the main key points plus adding a few of our own suggestions to help keep focus high and distractions low to give yourself the best chance of succeeding with online businesses.
- Get rid of any and all distractions in your life that are not going to get you to your goals, including especially social media.
- Mindfulness meditation can also be an excellent daily practice to undertake which trains the mind’s ability to better focus and be present in the moment.
- Make sure you get proper rest and sleep.
- Regular exercise can be useful in keeping concentration and focus levels high.
- Make sure you eat healthy food and avoid eating junk all the time.
Cal Newport’s Deep Work is a superb resource on removing the distractions that fill daily life in the 21st century and putting the foundations in place to do work that is truly creative and productive. Top of his list of actionable steps is acknowledging and removing the pernicious influence social media has on attentiveness and getting the mind into a place where it is more powerful and focused.