Everyday you face something that can seriously impact the success of your business and you probably give it little thought.
Wonderful though modern technology so you can stay connected with distant loved ones, can get information you need without a trek to the library, can get your business message out to far more prospects at a fraction of the cost… It comes at a price and an expensive one at that.
Do you sometimes watch an old TV program or movie where the Internet and mobile phones are the realms of science fiction and yearn for those times? For those of us who can remember the excitement of a 4th TV channel launching, do you remember how much quieter and simpler life seemed to be? Boring though it could be, at least it was no effort to find a quiet place and chill out.
That’s the expensive price – quiet, uninterrupted quiet – the chance to get on and do something, possibly for hours, without the interruption of a phone call or text or email or a notification that someone wants you to play a game that crushes candy. Or without the temptation to surf, surf and surf.
Our attention is constantly sought to a point that it can sometimes feel like there’s a conspiracy to stop us doing the things we need to do.
So what can you do? The only thing you can do is not open yourself up to these distractions. Open your email inbox when you get into work and you can easily lose hours responding to the needs and wants of others…your time becomes theirs, your agenda becomes theirs and before you know it most of your day has been theirs. The same goes for all the other distractions. (I do appreciate the irony of what I’m saying and do hope that you’re reading this at a time of your choosing.)
Turn them off until you are ready.
When you start your day, you need to know exactly what you have to do that day, roughly how long you think each must-do task will take and therefore how much time, once the tasks are complete, that you can allocate to the demands of others. (Of course, if you need an email from another in order to complete some work then look for it but stay focused on looking for that email and then switch the program off.)
You may think responding to a ping from your inbox will only take a minute but even if it does, you’ve lost more than that in getting your head back into what you were doing and getting back into the rhythm and concentration you had before being so rudely interrupted.
The result of these distractions is a day where tasks haven’t been completed. This clearly has a knock-on effect with your workload but it also affects your well-being.
Your ability to switch off, to relax with your family and friends, to sleep well at night depends on you having completed the things you needed to do. And your efficacy depends on you being able to switch off.
At the end of the day, make a list of what you must achieve the next day. That way you’re not mulling over what you need to do tomorrow when you should be relaxing.
And the next day, knowing exactly what you need to do, get on and do it…and whatever you do…don’t check your emails until you’ve finished.
Image courtesy of Colin Davis (Flickr)