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Does this loop look familiar? Check email. Check stats. Check social. Then start over by checking email AGAIN. The online entrepreneur's “OCD Loop” is a soul-sucking productivity killer… and this video is all about how to get out of that loop…

Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear what you're doing to be more productive…

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76 Replies to “The Online Entrepreneurs “OCD Loop” (And 3 Tips For Increasing Your Productivity)”

  1. Thanks, Jeff… a good kick in the pants is always welcome! The best way to get out of this loop is certainly focussing on those money making activities, and/or hiring it all out… Or like my buddy always says, get the Egg Timer out, and do 30 minutes of solid work, and move on, and never spend more time than you know you need to…. Check it, and move on with your day… 4-hour workweek style!

    • YES! I agree. Working in time blocks keeps me on task and helps to build in mind breaks that refresh the “go-get-em” spirit within.

    • I’m really interested in that video about your morning routine, but I was looking through your youtube channel and I cannot find it.

      What is it called?

      Better yet, do you have a link to that?

      I need help in this area and want to watch it.


  2. Love this Jeff! I know exactly what you mean by the OCD loop, it’s such a battle sometimes, especially when you are launching new program. One of the things that helps me is unplugging my Wi-Fi… since we live in the country and have Hughesnet it takes several minutes to reboot the system so once I unplug it then I have to be more mindful about turning it back on. This becomes most important on my writing days when I am working on books and articles since I am using the computer. Thanks for the reminder and support that I’m not the only one who has this issue and for the encouragement that it can be controlled.

  3. Thanks for the great video Jeff, on a topic that we can all relate to: procrastination.

    Like you say in the video, it’s all about having systems and processes within our life and business.

    Compared to most, I’m pretty good at ignoring social media and email, however I’m not perfect. I think I need to keep my phone away from me more often because it’s often texts that distract as well as email.

    The stat checking is important but needs to be scheduled in rather than constant checking. I have lots of campaigns running so checking them all takes a lot of time. I try to have a specific part of the day that I check and adjust my campaigns.

    • Mark Huddleston


      Jon, maybe you’ve already found the link, but if not, here it is:, or at YouTube, I found it here on Jeff’s website after searching for the words “morning routine,” “morning ritual,” “routine,” and finally the term that worked, “ritual.”
      Cheers, Mark

  4. Mike Sandburg


    Hey Jeff, thanks for sharing your OCD message. You are so right. As wonderful as social media is, it really can be a time magnet. Like a so-called dust magnet, social media, email, skype, text messages — all of which are at our fingertips through our smart phones — suck up every moment of every day. Thanks for the reminder that we actually can put these things aside if we make the effort.

  5. I LOVE the idea of checking out and leaving my phone at home for a day! I recently listened to Michael Hyatt’s podcast on taking a sabbatical, and have been thinking about taking a week just to write at our lake house in 2015. Jeff, your message seems to be timed to help convince me to do that (God does work in mysterious ways).



  6. Story of my life! My 3 year old is so adjusted to seeing me starting this cycle as soon as I wake that this morning she fussed at me for not getting my laptop off the floor when my eyes opened. “Mommy, get your computer NOW.” Even though I do not have an office space, I need to leave it in another room. Great tip.

  7. Jeff,
    Thanks for this. This is a topic that I was actually hoping you were selling a book at the end of your video. Maybe something is coming.

    Regarding your book ‘Launch,’ I have a question. I have a copy, but I would love it on Audio. I’ve only been able to read the first few pages, but if on audio, I would have listened to it a few times by now while biking or driving. Do you have plans to put this book on audio?

    As a side note, if you’re open to a collaboration, I’d enjoy working with you to create the audiobook. Not looking to make a sale here, but I have the resources to create a high quality audiobook quite easily.

  8. Fantastic video Jeff and very relevant
    On a different note will you be releasing PLF again in the near future?

  9. Great advice Jeff,I find myself caught up in that loop quite often and at the end of the day it’s a real buzz kill because you don’t
    get anything accomplished.

  10. Good message, I saw this while going through my OCD loop. Great reminder, that I really need to set up a solid morning routine and get to the important things first.

  11. Love the idea of the morning rituals and not keeping the phone close to you in the bedroom. I think we all know we should do that but we still do it. Now I need to find myself an alarm clock to replace my phone.

    I do love having it there when you get those awesome inspired jolts of briliance just before nodding off though.

    Nice video, thanks Jeff.

  12. Jeff, great video conversation, my favorite topic and where I notice myself and my clients struggle most on a day to day basis. I share a similar AM ritual as you do and it totally sets the tone/intent. I would add, that during the day I trust my body signals and awareness of “the loop” to at some point notify me I’m in the loop (in an unproductive way) and then I have a set response to this ‘feeling’. I immediately look at my ‘attention planner’ for the day or week (Brendon Bruchard has a great example of one) and it helps refocus my mind on what matters. This is a great way to strengthen our attention abilities. Even though being in the loop sucks, we all have the ability to notice and choose to move our attention, and be more productive or connected.

  13. Hi Jeff, thanks for reminding about the OCD loop, in which I often get caught. I will start implementing rituals, excellent idea. One thing that I started to do a few months back is disabling my email notifications on all my gear (smartphone, Mac, iPad, etc.). I feel less stressed and more focused. But that’s only the beginning. Your ritual advice is the BOMB! Thanks again for posting!

    P.S. It was nice to meet you at PLF Live!

  14. i love this! You’ll be more productive and do more good if you stay out of what Stephen Covey referred to as “quadrant 4” activities.

  15. Thanks for this. I try and avoid my phone until I’ve done at least 1 purposeful activity. And by “purposeful”, I mean anything that contributes to my growth, mind, body or spirit, including this. Now, I’m off to my email!

  16. Thank you Jeff!

    What has really helped me is to define a SMARTER goal and take daily focused action steps towards it.

    1. At the end of each day, I write down six bite-sized action steps that I aim to complete the next day.
    2. Then I arranged them on my calendar in order of their priority. First thing each morning, I know exactly what I will sink my teeth into.
    3. I focus on the first action step, complete it, then I move on to the next.

    If I’m not working on an action step, then I’m aware that I’m engaging in distraction, which may or may not be necessary.

    Sometimes I completed all six action step, sometimes I don’t.

    Even if I do not complete each action, at least I’m focused on my priority.

    Hope this is helpful!


    Read more:

  17. Hi Jeff, This is something I’ve been working on for myself so your message is timely! I’ve begun a new morning routine for myself and it includes writing (by hand) and making art, then going to yoga. I’ve found I have a deeper satisfaction of my whole day by putting the things I love to do first. Additionally, I seem to need less time at my desk doing “the work” because my mind has had time to disconnect and just be present. Thank you for your quality content and best wishes to you.

  18. You can use your phone for dictation and have alarms set up for appointments, while setting aside time for focused work on your business, by putting your phone into the airplane mode which also conserves power. It conserves the power of your consciousness as well. Great video!

  19. This video reminded me of Arianna Huffington’s “Let’s not glorify busy.”

    The architecture of how we live our lives is badly in need of renovation and repair. What we really value is out of sync with how we live our lives. And the need is urgent for some new blueprints to reconcile the two. — Arianna Huffington

    I’m a busy educator at a huge university. Whenever I ask my colleagues, “How are you?” they always reply “Oh! I’m so busy!!!”

    I think, “Why don’t you slow down and focus on what matters?” Just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you are a success. “Digital detoxes” are all the rage. Because they get all those notifications out of the forefront, and let you focus on the big picture.

    Cheers, Jeff!

  20. Just With a sheet of paper, with the most important task to do, I think this is the most useful to avoid the loop you’re talking about !

  21. Thanks Jeff for the thoughtful insights in managing self. I have to raise my hand in admittance to the OCD routine along with you. Keep doing the good things your doing; very helpful. Craig

  22. Hi Jeff,

    To be effective with your daily tasks a good way to go about is:

    Urgent matters early
    Important stuff next
    The chores for the next day
    Chill and connect. Great video

  23. Jeff, This is so amazing that you’re pointing this out; the OCD loop. The practice of getting away from distractions and the web, and quieting the mind. This practice is very valuable in a noisy, distracted, disconnected-from- nature -world. What valuable advise you have given.
    Thank you!!

  24. Sveta Kurbanova


    I agree about morning rituals. The very best thing it’s how you start your day.
    Meditation, yoga and active movements like walking, running or other.
    You become calm, focused and super-productive.

  25. I was smiling all the way through the video – Oh Boy! Yes of course I could relate to everything you were saying. I have installed Cold Turkey to get me off the OCD loop – it’s a free ap and it has been helpful :))

  26. Beatrix Willius


    Doesn’t almost everyone have OCD nowadays? I see so many people walking around staring at their phones.

    For so long I resisted the lure of the iPhone and kept only an iPod touch. But for PLF Live I bought my first smart phone 🙂

    I’m checking my mails too often. But if people have problems with the software that I sell it’s something that I need at least to have a look at.

  27. Hi Jeff. Very good content, and lovely to witness your relaxed demeanor. It is all about presence, that’s our present, and presence is cultivated by the very things you spoke about.
    A few things that anchor me to presence:
    – Llighting a candle on my desk. The flame represents my inner fire and purpose..
    -I take oxytocin breaths which create a sense of peace and pleasure in my body.
    Being in real estate, the training from companies such as Zillow, etc. Is that you must respond immediately to any home inquiry or you will loose the opportunity to serve them as your client. According to research, the first broker who responds is often who that client will work with. I find competition and demand creates adrenaline in my system, which is not healthful, particularly for women. I create an auto responder that invites potential clients to relax, and choose wisely the intimate partnership of a successful real estate transaction.

  28. Great tips, Jeff many thanks.

    I never though of myself as OCD until you just pointed it out!

    One of the ways I deal with other people’s agenda, as you say, is to use it like a Pavlovian treat. I know when I get an hour’s solid work done, e.g, that I get to check my email/news etc. That’s the theory anyhow! 😉

    I think the big question we have to ask ourselves is, do we control our technology or do we allow it to control us?

  29. I have the hardest time with the morning routine. I’m slow to rise, and tend to use it for discovering new things, reading articles, and am almost afraid to check email as issues or requests will dominate my mind once I’ve seen them. But then, maybe that’s my routine. I’m more able to dig into reading and research before the demands of the day start and I’m still peaceful and curious.

  30. The OCD Loop kills me most days. It sounds like you have an amazing life. It would be amazing to be able to do what you are able to do some day.

  31. Great video! I too have a morning ritual before starting work. Recently, I’ve fallen into a time suck with FB so have to become disciplined with that. (I wasn’t on FB at all until PLF live and it’s a great way to be part of community…just need to limit my time with it since I’m always excited to see what people are doing!)

  32. I’m leaving my phone home when I go shopping more often these days, and I go camping 3 times a year 3+ days at a time. The only time I use my phone camping is to find my friend when we separate. (We camp with several hundred others [SCA]). In the near future, I’m moving and plan to ditch the cel phone about a month after settling in. As far as internet, that’s tougher. Chalene Johnson doesn’t get online until after noon. I like that. And on occasion, I designate a “no computer” day. Feels good!

  33. My biggest OCD loop is my iPhone. I turn it off AND hide it in a drawer so that I am not tempted to check. Out of sight, out of mind. 🙂

  34. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks a lot for your nice tips in the video and your overall contribution to the world!!

    I’m happy to know that you are into yoga and meditation, I’m a mandala artist and Reiki master. I would like to ask you the opportunity to design an exclusive mandala for you, digitally made. So you can hang in your wall and get the positive energies and insights that it could give you and then expand way more your fabulous work. You need to pay only if you love it!

    Thanks a lot again and I’m waiting your reply!

    PS.: I’m Brazilian and English is not my mother-tongue, sorry for any possible mistakes.

  35. Lawrence Sanders


    Thanks Jeff. Just what the doctor ordered. This happened regularly in my life… Now I can try differant thing to get thinks done. Love it.

  36. When ever i log off, i leave some OFFLINE work or project on my desktop. One that i know i will enjoy and will be fulfilling. This keeps me from being exposed to the Wide World Internet and it gets me fired up for the rest of the day and the things that I emphasizing “I” want to accomplish before i am bombarded by external demands.

  37. My daughter is always complaining “You never answer your frickin’ cell phone…”. If I get a call on my landline, I never answer if I don’t recognize the number. Instead I let my voicemail handle it. If the caller won’t leave a message it is a non-event for me and in that case I won’t even bother looking up who called. So I am hopefully on a good path already. However, ignoring the outside online world completely for the first 60-90 minutes of the day is a brilliant concept. I am going to start with that on Monday…which is tomorrow – That will be a great week !! 😉

  38. Hey Jeff,

    Great video! We are definitely creatures of habit…and the internet is a breeding ground for bad habits! I know that I get into this loop WAY MORE than I should! The interesting thing is how I try to justify it as “work” at times. Here is the conundrum though: what is work and what is the loop? If I am answering emails and Youtube comments I think that is productive. ALSO, as a side note I stopped working on something else to watch YOUR VIDEO…I’m sure you would think that’s productive! I sure do!

    I often try to stay away from my emails until later in the morning but I am going to start sleeping with my phone in the other room. Also there are different (free) online software products that will allow you to limit your time on websites that distract you so you only go to them for certain amounts of time per day. Great ideas!

    Take Care,
    Rob Anderson

  39. Thanks for the video Jeff,

    As always gets mentioned committing to a morning routine helps get you in the productivity mode. Similar how ending your day with the same wind down routine can help you get to sleep keeping a regular pattern first thing in the morning sets you up for success.
    It’s like athletes who follow a pre-game routine, it’s about getting your body to recognize the pattern and to know what is going to follow, in our case it’s productivity

  40. Hi Jeff,
    Having just about completed your PLF course and following your advice, I’ve signed up (using your link) to Brendon’s Achievement course… starts tomorrow. Hopefully this will improve my focus and give me the techniques to avoid the OCD Loop… I’ll let you know

  41. Great point Jeff!
    Here’s another way to avoid the OCD Loop – or maybe at least make the loop work for me – I read or re-read a chapter from “The Launch.”
    It works for me!

  42. Great reminder Jeff. I do check my phone in the morning only to see if any clients canceled. I enjoy walking my dog Domingo every day along the river. It’s peaceful and quiet. Many of my friends are folk and blues musicians, so listening to them play is a great way to unwind.

  43. OK, very guilty of the OCD Loop. Thanks for the tips. For the ADD/ADHD folks (like me), I’d like to recommend Noise canceling headphones with instrumental or “Spa” music in the background. It really helps to block out the world and keep you focused on a task. All My Best…

  44. Hello,Jeff. This is a great reminder of … when we do what we always do, we get the same result….. I think the answer as you say is to decide to do something different and really commit to sticking with it. How do we commit more? How about increasing awareness of thoughts, listening to your internal dialogue commit to breathing to break your pattern and then affirm a new thought or behaviour like some of the amazing feedback you have already had on this page. I am new to all this internet business malarkey Jefff but really love your book and hope to grow and develop a super successful internet business. Big Smile ………

  45. Thanks for the video Jeff. I’m on my way of building my morining rituals step by step. Right now I’m making it a habit not to check the email until I set my daily goals. It feels good to be in control.

    As about the phone, I have long developed the habit of puting my phone on silent mode and it is almost always upside down. Until I reach out the phone and look into it I wouldn’t know who called me (or wanted to disturb me with his/her agenda). But I have also a habit of returning 100% of the missed calls. In this way people don’t get really upset but get used to it over time. This puts me in total control of my day and easily finish my tasks since I’m not distracted.

  46. Can so relate. Thank you for that. Let’s all be better at focusing attention to the most important things and get those things done as good as possible.

  47. I too have a morning ritual and other daily rituals to keep me focused on the work instead of losing myself in the static of life. When I wake up, I check on my family before heading to my computer to do ‘Morning Pages’ on
    From there, I review my To Do list from the previous day and my project management software to begin shaping what my day will look like. Then I open my email and do a quick check of social media to record open loops. My husband has breakfast ready normally about then so I go eat with him and my son. My phone is in the charger (upstairs) all day on Do Not Disturb.
    Email and social media open a few times during the day, but I have certain days during the week which are social sabbaticals so I can focus on creating.

  48. Hi Jeff,

    Love this video reminder! We just finished our first product launch and this blog especially hits home for us! We are sisters, designers, and creators of the Om Sweet Om (OSO) organic meditation cushion. We know from personal experience that taking that time especially in the morning for a meditation starts out your day with more positive energy, that you then carry on to your family, friends, and co-workers. We love sharing this message and thank you for doing so as well.

    Sharing the love!
    Jen and Christine (OSO Sisters)

  49. I find the inbox and Yahoo to be internet purgatory. You get into it and get stuck. My goal now is to do focused writing from 9-1. I don’t check email. I don’t answer the phone. I make sure my email is not “behind” my work to tempt me.

    I focus on my two main projects. Then after that, I can do things of lesser importance.

  50. The best start of my day is meditation in my faith and then a 45 minute jog through a remote park in our area. It clears both heart and head and allows me to set my own priorities for the day. Now in my fifties, I feel prepared for the day even better than when I was younger. Keeping one’s priorities in line is one powerful tool for a full life. Especially if they are placed at the beginning of one’s day. Thanks Jeff.

  51. Thanks for all your work and for the “heart” it was done with. This is my pre-launch…not exactly in your formula, but what I wanted to say…

  52. I love your terms, OCD loops. Thank you for remind us. This loops eventually will destroy the real relationship offline. I also feel that if we don’t do sabbatical leave from this online world, someday they will be our master. Not our life, not our family. Even, not our God. Great video.

  53. So true. I get caught in that OCD jumping from one thing to another. But what helps is rituals. I don’t bring my cell or laptop into our bedroom, I meditate, make a freshly squeezed juice, read a lesson in “A course in Miracles”, play with our baby, make breakfast and seat down at the table saying a gratitude prayer before eating. A few days a week, I go to a morning class at my fitness club. So it usually takes 1-2 hours of all these beautiful things before I actually get to my desk and open my laptop or check my phone. But where it gets tricky for me is once I get to my laptop. I start going from one thing to the next and around checking and adding things to my to do list of little projects. Any tips on how to avoid that are greatly appreciated.

  54. This is my exact challenge right now!
    Thank you for talking about that, it’s a great reminder not to let things go on like that.

  55. Right on the spot, I suffer from these days. I love the piece about not bringing your cellphone along.
    My schedule is to check mail twice a day but should not start my workday with checking.
    Also I need to find a way to outsource support calls or at least have them filtered before they get to me.

  56. Thanks – a great reminder Jeff! Time I left my phone out of my bedroom and get an old school alarm clock!

  57. not to allow “OCD loop” to corrode my health and productivity, I start my day with one hour of meditation. This hour is the best time investment which produces the best ideas that surprise from nowhere. If my brain is still “constipated”, I go for a walk until I get my heart pumping fast. Then, the day is rolling smoothly. I also stopped making myself available to interruptions that are not emergencies. And when I really need to concentrate on one task, I hang a sign on my door “NOT HERE”, which actually is more of a permission I give to myself than asking others to respect the block of time when I can’t juggle. Thank you Jeff for creating this post, I am picking up from other comments and from your video additional tricks as well.

  58. Pingback: How to Kill the Email Disease |

  59. Thank You, this is great advice! I am with you on everything that you said. On a daily basis, I have breakfast, read scripture in the Bible, then check my email. I know the day I don’t have the quiet time in the morning, I go off on a tangent.

  60. Hey Jeff, this is solid gold. Thank you.

    Just distinguishing when I am in fact in an ‘Entrepreneurs Online OCD Loop’ is going to provide leverage during my day and help me hit the eject button faster.

    It was only after I finally admitted to myself how little control I actually have over my own attention, that I was able to start putting real systems in place (keeping all devices off prior to sitting down to work, turning off all devices at lunch, etc.). When I was relying on willpower alone (like most folks), I was largely powerless to make significant changes.

    The mindset that gave me the most leverage in this area was, “My attention is one of the most delicate and precious things I have, therefore I need to protect it.”

    One structure that has helped me tremendously is putting a timer on the power strip that connects my wifi. We set it to go off at 10:00pm and to turn back on at 7:30am. This way my girlfriend and I don’t need to think about it, and we know that we will be enjoying quality time together.

  61. Hey Jeff!

    This is great! I am 100% on board with you. It reminds me of this awesome skit from Portlandia

    Right now I’m reading the book The One Big Thing and it’s echoing a sentiment I heard from Dave Crenshaw about the Myth of Multitasking…namely that our brains can only do one thing at a time and though we THINK we can actually get more done when we multitask, we’re actually (researched) just “switch” tasking and every switch takes a hit on our time.

    I do very similar to what you do in the morning (on the ideal day)…namely, wake, drink water, read something inspiring or that helps me self reflect, exercise, meditate, shower and eat.

    Thanks for bringing my mind back to the importance of that!

    I’d love to hear you talk about how you handle your email…I have a hard time and I can only imagine that you have much more than I. 🙂

    Thanks Jeff!

    Newest Goal: To help 1,000 authors sell 1,000 books each!

  62. Hi Jeff,

    I was there for your launch, it was very cool. Unfortunately I cannot take your course. I wish I could to be honest, maybe next time. Until then, I buy your book I will have to search on your site for all you information 🙂



  63. Hi Jeff,

    I get to know you from Michael Hyatt’s email. I saw a couple of your videos and I love what you are sharing.

    I have a morning routine which doesn’t include switching on my phone. So it gives me a good 2-3 hours at the beginning of the day to be away from the loop. I like your switching off the wifi idea. I might try that. Just that I don’t want to miss the whatapps messages. OCD! :p

  64. Hi Jeff,
    One of our “Biggest” fans here. Bought LAUNCH, love it, and I’m getting caught up on all of your videos and the materials you sent me as a follow up. I have sooooooo much of an opportunity to really have an amazing online biz, and by some standards I’ve done well, but no where as well as I will with your insights, thanks so much!

    All the best!

    Final Four Contestant on NBC’s Biggest Loser, Season 11

  65. Gratitude solves no problem, gratitude does not lessen a painful situation, gratitude does not bring employment so why bother?
    Taking action steps toward what you want or need is all you can do and nothing is guaranteed. Gratitude is total BS.

  66. I know I get into this loop more often than I should ;( Thanks for all the great tips – I really do need to have my quiet time, finishing my Morning Pages and then focus in the “genius zone” for a good 3 hours every morning 🙂 Great Video Jeff – needed this today!

  67. Sharon Burgess


    Hi Jeff – Nice to e-meet you!
    I’ve just purchased ‘Launch’ and am reading the book as well as getting online, checking out your blog and videos etc. Great tips here! I’ll be leaving my phone in my office on charge in the evenings and putting a note book next to the bed. No more social media feeds first thing in the morning! It can wait. I also like your point about emails and how they really can set your ‘to do list’ for the day. I’ll be setting times for email correspondence so I can focus on prepping my new website and getting my business moving!
    Cheers 🙂

  68. Your 16-day adventure sounds amazing. My wife and I get unplugged too. Last year (as bf/gf), we went on a 5-day 40+ mile backpacking trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire climbing 7 4000 footers. Nature was our friend. We left all work and the day to day craziness at home. Let me tell you, the homemade granola we snacked on took our minds away. When we sat down for lunch the peanut butter on a bagel never tasted so good. There is something to be said about the power that lies in communing in nature. Finding a place in the wilderness to pitch our tent every night enriched our souls. It connected us. We got back to the basics. We laughed, we smiled, we enjoyed life. And when we returned, work was still there, it didn’t go anywhere. But what it did was lighten our hearts and minds to the pleasures that exist when we take the time to appreciate them. We were energized and full of inspiration. Ideas flowed easily.

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