Why on earth would we need to manage the distractions? Doesn’t will power deal with it?
I am sure you have heard the statistics.
A survey of executives revealed that they get interrupted on average once every six to eight minutes, all day long, and if they are lucky, they will clock between 45 and 90 minutes of really productive work. And other research tells us that it can take you between 10 and 15 minutes to bring your focus back to the task you were working on before the interruption.
Am I the only one who wonders how on earth you can make that math work? By that formula, you get interrupted in eight minutes, and it takes you 10 minutes to get focused again, but before you can get yourself focused again, you will be interrupted again, and again, and again, and again.
No wonder so many people report having so little productive time during the course of their day. Of course, the tragedy is it can take you 8, 10 or 12 hours just to fit in that 90 minutes of productive time.
So what can you do?
Dan Kennedy says “if they can’t find you, they can’t interrupt you.”
How can you make yourself inaccessible? And do you want to? Interestingly, I run into people all day long who will tell me that they cannot possibly turn off their phone, turn off their email, turn off their instant messaging and close their door. I always wonder why not? Is being instantly available to everyone, all day long, more important than getting your job/project/goal done?
What if you just tried to give yourself 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to focus on the single most important task before you? Just 30 minutes. Turn off the phone – let it go to voicemail. Turn off the email – and I do mean turn it off. Close your office door (or don’t even go in to your office). Focus on that one task, get done, and then go ahead and turn everything back on.
I promise you two things. First, you will make massive progress on the task, and the project it is part of. Second, Everyone else will survive without you for 30 minutes.
Because, really, without a life, what’s the point?