Awareness * Work * Evaluation
How often do you start a project only to be pulled away by people needing your attention? Earlier, I recommended following a 3 Step System to reduce distractions: Step 1 – Awareness (what distracts you and when), Step 2 – Work (how can you adjust your environment), and Step 3 – Evaluation (what is working, what isn’t). How did you do? If you are still striving to master this skill – here are some additional ideas.
AWARENESS: Did you use a timer to help build awareness? One timer I particularly like is Cool Timer available at HarmonyHollow.net. This timer is a free download; you can change the mode (count down, count up, or stopwatch), change the picture, and change the sound.
WORK: Previously, I explained some strategies for eliminating email, website, and people distractions. Here are some additional techniques you may want to employ:
- Is email a distraction? If so – add a line in your signature that states your email policy. For example, “Thank you so much for your correspondence! My policy is to respond to all emails within 24 hours.” This allows your stakeholders to know when to expect a response from you, and it allows you to focus on your most important tasks without feeling guilty.
- Are specific websites a distraction? Try using a parking lot. As soon as something pops into your head that could distract your focus from the online task at hand, write it down – or “park it”. Once you finish using the current website, then look at your “parking lot” and decide which website to visit next.
- Can people pull you off task? Often people are our biggest distractions – and many times it’s unrealistic to think we can put them in the “parking lot”. It can take up to 15 minutes to get back into the “flow” when you are working on a project and get interrupted. Write down your next step before responding to the person, answering the phone, etc. This way, when you are able to come back to YOUR task, you will have an easier time moving forward.
EVALUATION: Still struggling to eliminate distractions? Use a buddy system. I find my buddy is especially helpful when I’m tried a couple of solutions – but haven’t quite found the perfect answer. Often, someone else can have a completely different perspective and offer unique solutions.
I’d love to hear about your successes and challenges – what distractions have you overcome? Where are you still struggling?? Please post below!