Putting in a full, productive workday is sometimes easier said than done. Despite the best of intentions, some days can just seem to get away from you – turning into emergency response days or employee management days that – although necessary to keep things running smoothly – nevertheless take away from the precious time you have available to complete what is on your to-do list.
Unmanaged distractions can slowly chip away at your ability to focus on necessary, high payoff activities/tasks that move your business toward success. In some cases, those distractions can actually lead to calculation errors or financial errors that cost you big time in the long run. If you find yourself continually interrupted by people or your own thoughts, it can also take a toll on your overall attitude and even your mental state at the office. The bottom line is: if you always feel unsettled and anxious about getting interrupted, it will keep you from doing your best work.
So, how can you reduce distractions and avoid interruptions? Is it even possible to create a work atmosphere that is productive and avoids emergencies altogether?
Set Your Team and Your Schedule Up for Success
While it is virtually impossible to eliminate all of the last-minute issues that crop up during the week (you are after all a business owner with a busy schedule and a company to run, and if issues arise you need to be the one with the last word on how they are handled), it is definitely possible to structure your business in such a way as to significantly reduce the amount of times you are pulled away from productive tasks to focus on something unplanned.
To improve your workplace schedule and eliminate distractions and interruptions, try implementing one or more of these four proven productivity tips:
- Schedule your day in blocks of 60-90 minutes at a time whenever possible. This allows you to focus on specific big-picture tasks without being distracted, since there are consistent breaks in your day between these blocks where you can get refocused on the next activities by fully closing out the previous activity. For shorter tasks, consider 10-15-minute sprints, where you can knock out several quick but vital tasks (answering emails, returning client calls, and more) without fear of interruptions. Scheduling meetings with the team is a time block that can take 10-30 minutes, so nobody interrupts anyone with things that can be handled in a scheduled meeting. For more on time blocking, check out an article I wrote by going to https://bit.ly/Time_Blocking.
- Remove technology from the equation. As great as email, cell phones, computers, virtual calendars, and social media may be, they also pose a significant threat to your to do-list. When you see or hear a message alert pop up on your phone or laptop, for example, your brain subconsciously becomes distracted from the work you are currently focusing on, causing you to multitask mentally whether you intend to or not. Studies show that the average person checks in on their email and digital notifications every six minutes. By removing those distractions and scheduling time blocks specifically for email and technology-related things, you will eliminate the need to multitask and will allow yourself to focus solely on the work in front of you. I recommend two time blocks to check email and the first one is not first thing in the morning. The first time block should be around 10:00 or 11:00am and then the second time block should be around 4:00pm.
- Set your employees up for self-management success. When your team is able to self-regulate, they will be less likely to interrupt you to handle small questions and concerns. Consider training and equipping them to handle general, routine things to better free up your schedule for those tasks that only you can handle. Another way to avoid employees interrupting you with questions throughout the day is to set up a daily time block or two – even if just for 20 minutes – where employees know they can come to you directly to discuss everything they need to talk with you about and you with them. You will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that tasks requiring your direct focus will not be interrupted, and your employees will have confidence that they will be able to talk to you daily (once or twice) at a scheduled time.
- Do not procrastinate. When you put off things you dread doing, they roll over to another day, thus taking valuable time from that day’s schedule. This can become a toxic hamster wheel of tasks that have been shoved aside, only to snowball and come down on you when you least expect it. Often this happens when things are already hectic, creating unnecessary additional chaos and stress. The best thing to do is to bite the bullet, and handle your to-do list in its entirety whenever possible, so that your future self does not have to pick up the pieces of a scheduling mess your past self set in motion. If procrastination is an issue for you, download my complimentary Guide to Stopping Procrastination, Helping You Create Your Ideal Business and Ideal Life by going to https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/stop-procrastination.
While not every distraction can be avoided, you can absolutely structure your workdays in such a way that you minimize unnecessary interruptions. This will create a peaceful, stress-free work environment; one that naturally encourages productivity and success.
What if this statistic is true? Every 11 minutes you are distracted or interrupted by someone or something that takes your focus away from what you are currently doing. Then it takes approximately 30 minutes to go back and get refocused on where you were to then begin again. If this is true or close to reality, what would have to happen to not let this be true in your life?
Start creating a distraction-free workplace today by implementing one or all of the four tips listed above. The more that you and your team prioritize a consistent schedule, the easier it will become to work in an uninterrupted, peaceful manner. To help you more with effective time management principles, access some training to help you Focus on your High Payoff Activities and Achieve Your Goals using Effective Time Management by going to https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/landing/. This training is useful for you and your team members.
Do you feel like your business has plateaued or you are sick and tired of being sick and tired? Could you use a shot in the arm to make even more progress on your goals? Consider working with The Accountability Coach. I’m here to help you accelerate your results, so you can enjoy your ideal business and ideal life! Reach out today for your complimentary consultation.
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