Blockers to Finishing Your Online Course

#1 Distractions

Otherwise known as ‘sparkle’! When you’re first learning about creating online courses, it’s very easy to get sucked in to the myriad of promises made by all sorts of online sources. These range from genuine to snake-oil and everything in between, so it’s no wonder being distracted is a blocker to finishing your online course.

I’ve lost count of the number of ‘secret ingredient’ articles I’ve seen, where you just need to sign your life away to get the magic ‘one thing’ that turns everything around. The reality, naturally, is much less sexy, but ultimately far more rewarding – you actually get your course finished and available for people to buy!

Gary Challenge reduced complexityIn addition to the sparkle and allure of silver bullets, you can also be easily distracted by all sorts of other things, particularly social media. Maybe you’re someone who is able to focus intently and intensively until you’re done, but my guess is that you’ve been distracted more than once by some kind of notification. We know we can switch them off, but what if …

Being distracted is fine, once we acknowledge that’s what’s happening and we are able to put some parameters on it. Maybe it’s a twenty-minute window to check email that you allow yourself at the beginning, middle and end of the day; perhaps you have perfected the ‘pomodoro’ technique (which is essentially using an egg-timer to measure out short, sharp bursts of activity); you might even switch off your phone altogether.

Of course, distractions don’t just apply to trying to complete an online course, but if you’re unsure of what you’re doing and how to do it, then the distractions can get traction and before you know it, the online course becomes something you were working on, once. So here are some top tips for avoiding distractions while you’re trying to get this course completed:


Pomodoro technique – as mentioned above, set a timer for a 20-45 minute window and challenge yourself to get as much done as possible during the intensive phase, with a proportional treat at the end of each burst.


Switch off the phone/email – or at least the notifications. Don’t give yourself the excuse that it might be important. Unless you are genuinely expecting news of something time-critical, you don’t have to be at someone else’s beck and call, so set boundaries for when you will and won’t allow yourself to be distracted.


Notice when you are best at specific activities and plan around that. For me, I work best with planning / strategic activity in the mornings and creative activity such as writing in the afternoons, so if I have a choice, that’s how I plan my day. Sometimes I will work into the evening (particularly to get something finished), and sometimes, if the creativity’s just not flowing, I’ll take a random afternoon off (another benefit of an online business!)


Focus on one thing at a time. It would be great if there really was one thing with online courses that made everything else easy / fade away / unnecessary … but there isn’t. So find a good template or guide to follow for what you need to do and follow that, step by step.


Remind yourself why you’re doing this – whether you want more freedom and time for yourself and your family, additional income or something else, write it up, print it out and put it somewhere prominent in your workspace. When the distraction gremlins come calling, read and re-read your reasons until you feel strong enough to push them away! (Just don’t feed them after midnight, or get them wet 😉 )


What’s your favourite distraction-avoidance technique? Comment below 🙂