Are Interruptions Stealing Your Time and Costing You a Bucket Full of Money?
Did you know our brains are not designed for multi-tasking and every change of focus means our brain has to let’s say, “re-boot itself”- taking precious time and energy. It’s estimated that for every interruption it takes our brain approximately six to twenty minutes to re-engage, remember what we were up to and move forward with the original task.
Now some people may think, ‘Interruptions don’t bother me’ but may find, by the end of the day they’ve been busy all day, haven’t achieved what they wanted and feel drained.
Be aware though, we are hard wired to be drawn to the new, that’s how we evolved as human beings. This may have been helpful when we were cave men and women to know of everything that is going on around us all the time but it causes some problems in this age of technology.
This is why emails and phone calls are so magnetic, we just want the new, it’s a primitive urge. We also become addicted to finding the sweet thing, you know out of the ten new emails or phone messages there might be one that is really good news or a new sale and the like – something that will give us a feeling of pleasure.
Psychologists call it Variable Ratio Scheduling, as we never know when we’ll get rewarded, it’s unpredictable which is why it becomes addictive. It could be likened to say playing a poker machine and we keep checking to see if we have won. The thing is by distracting ourselves constantly, it actually delays our results and besides that – the message will still be there when you check it later.
Technology is here for our convenience, however if it is controlling you or causing you social, productive and financial hardships due to inappropriate use, or if it is causing you anxiety if you cannot use it, then you may have an addiction that needs some attention.
Being aware and acknowledging that interruptions are robbing you time and energy is the first step.
There are two types of interruptions – internal and external. Internal interruptions are where we are the ones that instigate changing tasks or focus. External interruptions can be phones, email and other people.
External interruptions Step 1 – Advise Others Of Your Availability
Advising others of your availability. Firstly who interrupts you the most? Is it employees, colleagues, clients, friends or family? Think about when your most productive hours in the day are and choose a block of time in the period that you can reserve for you to have un-interrupted time to focus on certain projects or tasks.
Once decided upon, inform your availability to the main people that could potentially interrupt you.
Needless to say, good staff training and systems need to be strongly in place to assist employees to work independently for any length of time.
External interruptions Step 2 – Turn off Emails
Now it does depend on your business and situation – however, if you can turn the pop up emails off and start to think about set times of the day to check your emails, that’s a great start. Many successful business people say checking emails a maximum of three times a day is ideal. This can be very hard to do in the beginning so maybe start with baby steps – once an hour perhaps or if you are very addicted start with once every half an hour.
If social media is also something you check regularly you may like to include this in your new schedule also. I am also currently looking into an app that you can actually set times to lock yourself out of social media and email. Once I have found the best one and tested it I will advise in further correspondence via my facebook page. You will find me on facebook as – Linda McMahon The Accountability and Time Management Chick or email me at Linda@LindaMcMahon.com.au and I can send you the information when available.
External interruptions Step 3 – Turn Off Your Phone
Turn phones off and send the calls to message bank/answering service/receptionist etc. We all know we can just turn phones off or switch them to silent and check periodically for urgent messages, so why don’t we? Because we think we might miss out on something? Maybe it’s because we feel we are expected to be available all the time?
Many successful business people state that the benefits of having blocks of totally un-interrupted time far outweigh the odd time they miss something important. Again, it depends on you and your situation – however, a good way to reduce phone interruptions or to give you strength to turn off or divert your phone is to ensure you have tended to step number one – letting others know of your availability. If you have an iphone you can also use “Do Not Disturb’ in your ‘Settings’ area to mute notifications as calls and emails come through. The same for androids eg Samsungs go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Blocking mode’.
These are the interruptions that are actually initiated by you! Checking emails, social media, making phone calls, making another cup of coffee, flitting from one task to another. Sound familiar? Read on to see how can we reduce this self-sabotage.
Internal Interruptions Step 1 – Clarify Your Goals
First things first – do you have goals and absolute clarity of what you would like to achieve? Spend some time getting the big picture first and ensure it is in line with your values. For without this, I’m afraid you are pushing a barrow uphill. How do you do this? Join my Four Day Weekend Fast Track Program, which has an amazing worksheet and session on values and goal setting – especially designed for women who own their own business or contact a friend or coach with experience with this. What ever you choose – Go For It!
Internal Interruptions Step 2 – Set Yourself Up To Win
Now you have clarity over what you truly want, the next step would be to set yourself up to win. When is the best time to put aside blocks of time to work uninterrupted on your most important tasks that will move you forward? When are you most productive? Decide when this is and schedule it.
Internal Interruptions Step 3– Set Five Important Tasks Weekly
Now you have reduced the chance of external interruptions, have clarity and blocks of time set aside to focus, a way to get more done in this time is to have clear measurable weekly goals. First set five things you would like to achieve during the week that will move you forward and break it down into what you will do in the blocks of time you have set aside –diarise or schedule it. Choose things that you normally don’t make the time for and have been putting off but are really important to your long-term results. You know what they are!
Internal Interruptions Step 4 – Make Yourself Accountable
Now you have everything in place and five measurable goals set for the week it’s time to make yourself accountable on a weekly basis. This is so powerful and makes achieving your weekly goals so much easier. First find someone to share or swap your goals with and schedule a weekly check in time. However, be careful who you partner with, if they are not serious about moving forward with their goals they can bring you down. Please message me should you need assistance or a suitable partner for this process as I provide an accountability service that consists of ten-minute calls or an email service weekly. Linda@LindaMcMahon.com.au
Internal Interruptions Step 5 – Keep On Track
With everything set in place to win, it’s now a matter of just doing it. If you find yourself going off track a good thing to ask yourself is “What am I doing?” “What is my outcome?” and then refer back to your five set weekly goals. Also many successful people state that looking at your list of long-term goals minimum of twice a day will also assist your focus enormously.
Internal Interruptions Step 6 – Use Gratitude
Use gratitude to ensure you continue to work towards your long-term goals. When ever you can and especially every night remind yourself of what you are grateful for, say out loud or journal it. This helps sets you up for more happiness the next day. Concentrating on what we haven’t done or what we don’t have can put negativity in place and this can set us up for more of the same. Focusing on the good and what you have done and do have whenever possible seems to ensure more of that turns up.
Internal Interruptions Step 7 – Reward Yourself
Remember to reward yourself along your journey. Rewards don’t always have to cost money either. It could be a walk in nature, reading in the sunshine, a relaxing salt bath with your favourite music, popcorn and a movie or things like that. Things that cost money could be anything from a favourite magazine or a book to a new item of clothing or something else you’ve been wanting for a while.
Congratulations for taking the time to reduce your interruptions – I hope it assists you to reach the life you desire. Speaking of the life you desire I’d like to ask you this:
Want More Time For You?
Are you a woman that runs your own business? Do you find yourself giving so much to your business, family and those around you that you run out of time for yourself? Do you want life back on your terms? If you are serious about this then:-
Book a 30 minute Rapid Accessment Session with me today,
I guarantee you’ll come away with:-
Clarity of where you currently are at the moment and you will learn how to maximise the real power of time management and strategic planning. I will sit with you, either in person, via Skype or over the phone one on one and we’ll take a look at your unique situation and I’ll advise you on all the things you can be doing staright away to get yourself up and ready at a level where you can make the changes you need to live life back on your terms.
My time is extremely valuable so this offer is not for everybody. It isn’t for someone who says they want more time but isn’t prepared to take any action, it is for those who are serious about restoring balance back in their lives and remove overwhelm and procrastination.
To book – email your details to Linda@LindaMcMahon.com.au and I will be in contact with you within 48 hours to book in your session.
Here is to you reaching your desired personal and business goals