How do you manage interruptions?

May 30, 2012

Have you ever noticed how many things will interrupt you throughout your day? And how often?

I have heard that we get interrupted, on average, about once every 6 to 8 minutes throughout the day. And, that it can take us 10-15 minutes (or more) to get our focus back on what we were doing before the interruption.

There is a real problem with that! The math doesn’t work! By those standards, the first interruption will derail your whole day.

What can you do about it?

Dan Kennedy says “If they can’t find you, they can’t interrupt you.” But in these days of 24/7 connectivity and accessibility, how do you make yourself un-findable?

Here are some things you might want to consider:

Turn off your email

Really, shut it off. Not for the whole day (I can hear you hyperventilating), but consider turning it off while you are focusing on that report you need to write, or that project you need to give your attention.

Let your calls go to voicemail

Maybe I am odd. But, I really have no trouble turning off my phone when I am in a meeting, or when I am working on something that requires my undivided attention. The world will not end if I don’t answer my phone for an hour!

Work somewhere else

Book a conference room, and close the door. Go to a coffee shop, or the library, or the park. Take yourself away from your own environment – co-workers won’t be able to stick their heads into your office/cubicle, and all the things that are distracting in your own office are not where you are.

Have a specific place for your work

If you work from home, have a specific place in your home to do your work. This really helps me. It is too easy to goof off if I am working on my living room couch instead of in my office. Everything in my office is about work. Everything in the rest of my home is about relaxation or play. If you don’t have a separate room, at least have a work area you don’t use for anything else.

Give yourself a break

Don’t try to focus for more than about 90 minutes at a time (at the most). Give yourself frequent breaks. This is a great way to deal with bright shiney object syndrome. I can focus on anything for a while, knowing that I will be able to take a break and distract myself in a little while.

These are just some of the techniques that will support you in managing the inevitable interruptions. Because they aren’t going to go away.

Now, which one are you going to try?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


Is your schedule working against you?

May 23, 2012

How many of you are working from a schedule? Some kind of schedule?

There are many different ways to approach your schedule.

Some of you, I am sure, would rather be very spontaneous. So, your schedule is most likely kept fairly open, with just critical, time based items listed (doctors appointments, birthdays, events).

Others of you have the kind of work where virtually every minute of your day is tightly planned and scheduled. If you lost your calendar (paper, electronic) you would probably panic!

And still others will batch their work (or whole days). For example: Monday is admin day – a day for phone calls, paperwork, planning. Tuesday is for clients. Wednesday is for writing. Thursday is for clients again. Friday is planning, wrapping up, and sometimes special clients.

Whichever way you approach your schedule – is it working for you? Or is it working against you? And how could you tell?

Your schedule is working for you if you move through your days with ease and a sense of flow. There’s a rhythm and you move easily in and out of the different activities.

Your schedule is working against you when you find yourself frantically spinning your wheels, when it feels like you are running as fast as you can and getting nowhere even faster!

There is a rhythm to everything – in nature it’s seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides. Your work and life has an ebb and flow to it as well. Give yourself a little time to discover what it is, and build your schedule around it. Let yourself dance with your life’s rhythm, whether it is hip hop, disco, or ballroom.

Now, what is your life’s rhythm?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


5 Reasons to Work Less (and Get More Done)

May 15, 2012

Why is it we think the solution to getting something done is to throw more time at it? You know what I mean. Just 5 more minutes. If I just keep pressing through I will actually get it done.

Five more minutes turns into 2 hours, and we are no closer to finishing than we were before. Then, of course, we usually think there is something wrong with us. What’s wrong with us that we can’t get through this? And we can’t even think straight we are so tired!

I have had this conversation with every single client this week. Every. Single. One. Which leads me to believe that there is an epidemic of busy-ness going on. Frankly, I’d rather see BUSINESS happening.

So here goes. Since you seem to need someone to give you permission, here are 5 reasons to work less:

You are not a machine

Machines are designed (if they are well designed) to work continuously once they are turned on, until they are turned off. Humans are not designed that way! We work best when we work in pulses – periods of focus and concentration, followed by periods of rest and renewal. Even the best of us – those at the top of their game – can only work at peak intensity for about 90 minutes before needing a break. Plan out your day to include brief breaks at least every 90 minutes.

You get your best ideas when you are relaxed

It is only when you stop concentrating / focusing intently that your brain begins to make all kinds of connections. Those connections are what produce those lovely sparks of insight. That’s why so many of us get genius ideas in the shower, or while taking a walk, or doing something other than sitting at our desk trying to force the idea!

You can focus on your unique area of genius

When you stop trying to do everything (and everyone else’s job) you can focus on what you do best. That is also usually what gives you the most satisfaction, and what produces the most significant results for your business. Imagine: how much extra time you could have if you only focused on your job?

You will be more productive

When you allow yourself to focus on just one thing at a time, for a short period of time, you will get more done. Multi-tasking only gives the illusion that you are getting more done. Study after study has demonstrated that it actually takes longer to finish tasks when you are multi-tasking than if you just did one thing and then the other.

You will make more money

For most of us, being more productive will mean more revenue for our business and more money for us. Who doesn’t like that idea?

Now, when are you taking your first little break?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


There’s gold in those notes!

May 9, 2012

Recently, I was at a weekend business conference. I sat in all the sessions, went to smaller breakout sessions, had loads of conversations and took pages and pages of notes – jotting down action items, thoughts that came up while I was in sessions, notes on things that made me think, and great ideas I heard or came up with.

Now am I back at my desk, with my notebook beside me, reviewing the notes I took.

It occurs to me that the way I deal with the notes I take has changed radically over the years.

Back when I was in school, I would take notes, review them, highlight them, study them. And then, when the class was over – I would forget about them.

I kept the habit of taking notes over the years, but somewhere along the line lost the habit of reviewing them. I’d almost never go back and review notes, and as a result, I know I missed some great opportunities.

Finally, as I began to build my business, I realized that taking notes and then forgetting them wasn’t serving me well. There were great ideas in there! There were potential clients and opportunities in there. There were notes about people I wanted to follow up with. There were all kinds of actions to take, and I wasn’t taking any of them.

So, I took a really hard look at what I was doing. And, I figured out a way to make it work for myself.

Now, when I go to a class, a meeting, or a conference – I take the notes I need to take to jog my memory. I capture my ideas. I write down those actions I want to take. I write down what I told someone I would do (and the date I told them I would do it).

And, after every conference or meeting – I have time scheduled in my day to review those notes. During the review, I move all the action items into my calendar. I don’t just put them on a list – I look at when, exactly, I will be doing that action (making that phone call, researching that topic, reviewing that material, etc.)

That one change has made a huge difference in my business! Now, I don’t worry that too much time has gone by, and I have missed an opportunity.

Because I know what I am going to do next…

Now, what gems are you missing because you haven’t looked at your notes?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


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