Minimizing Distractions

Let’s pretend I’m your coach, and you want coaching on productivity and time management. What specifically are you struggling with?

Now, what’s the 30,000 foot view? What activities and areas drive success in your role and business? What creates satisfaction and energy for you personally? Beware of shoulds. What’s important for one person, business, role may be irrelevant for another. What really is important and why?

How much time and attention are these getting? Consider putting your to do list into Steve Covey’s 4 quadrant grid: Important and Urgent, Important and Not Urgent, Urgent and Not Important, Not Important and Not Urgent so you can see where you should be focusing. This is not a new concept, but are you using something like this consistently? What are your priorities for the next few days? What conversations, expectation adjustments or other things are needed to eliminate unimportant items?

Are you using the touch it once rule? Implementing this rule can be a huge productivity boost. Break bigger projects into tasks you can finish in one sitting. How much time will it take? Did you account for what’s needed from others and disruptions?

If you’re waiting for inputs from a variety of people, discipline yourself to wait until you have everything before starting your work. Set expectations and submission deadlines so you aren’t rushed if things are turned in late or an emergency arises.

To minimize distractions, consider closing email and turning off notifications while working on projects. Set expectations with your boss, team, and any others that you will check emails, texts, and other notifications once every hour or two, twice a day, or whatever is reasonable for your role and responsibilities. Explain that you’re working on increasing your productivity, ask how this can be incorporated into your working relationship.

While you’re at it, set expectations that you won’t take phone calls or speak with people dropping by when you’re working on a project. Consider using a busy sign, closing your door, putting on headphones, or using another signal so co-workers hesitate to interrupt you. Leaders can set office hour meetings for people to ask questions and share ideas. Encourage them to accumulate those so you are addressing several questions or ideas at one time. This will also be more efficient for the person who’s seeking your attention.

These are not new ideas, but are you implementing them consistently? What do you need to do to implement these practices? When specifically will you determine what’s most important and how to fit it into your schedule? Who will be impacted by these changes? What do you need to discuss with them? What would be the best way to approach them? When will you do that by? You are retraining yourself and others, what will help you stick to your guns? This is a new process. How and when will you assess if it’s working or not so you can make tweaks?

This is work I do with my clients regularly. Determine what’s needed, break it down into manageable steps, assess the effectiveness, and adapt as needed. Another huge area of time management that we address is lack of confidence and lack of motivation to do certain tasks. That’s harder to do in a speech because there are so many more variables. If those are barriers for you, I’d love to offer you a free coaching session to handle those. Go here to book a free consultation or one hour coaching session.

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