When Even a Locked Door is Not Enough

Let me introduce you to Brenda (not her real name). Brenda is one of my favorite clients. She is motivated to improve, aware of what’s going on in her life and business, and has a lot going on, which keeps our coaching calls interesting.

One day, Brenda came to our call and was frustrated because she just couldn’t keep her dedicated “office time” distraction-free. Through our coaching, Brenda realizes that one of her keys to success is that she needs about an hour each day to “get on top of stuff” in her office. She needs to process email, make sure she has all the paperwork needed for upcoming appointments, return phone calls, and make some prospecting calls. As long as she has this block of time to work uninterrupted, she’s on top of her game all day.

One of the tools she uses to make sure she can get an uninterrupted, distraction-free block of time is to shut the door to her office – “code” for “do not disturb.”

However recently her dedicated block of time kept getting interrupted.

  • Her partner stopped in to ask a question – even though the door was shut.
  • The woman who owned the business she shared an office with popped over to chat – even though the door was shut.
  • Her mom came in to see if she could go to lunch – even though the door was shut.

Even if each of these interruptions only lasted only 10 minutes (which, trust me, they didn’t) half of her hour block of time would be gone!

So, she decided she needed to be proactive in guarding this time.

She had a conversation with all the “guilty” parties about the fact that when the door was shut, it meant she needed to work in silence and couldn’t be interrupted. They could leave a note – and she’d get back to them when she was available.

This solution worked great for her mom. In fact, her mom would text her to see if she was available before stopping in. However, it didn’t slow down her partner or the other business owner.

Next, Brenda decided to add a sign to her door that said, “Distraction causes failure.” This strategy worked for her partner – he certainly didn’t want any failures in his business! He read the sign and walked away.

BUT, it still didn’t slow down the other business owner. In fact, she entered the office and said, “Love your sign!”

So, Brenda implemented a fourth strategy – she locked her office door! I know, you are now thinking THIS strategy MUST work! But NO – the business owner just went outside and knocked on the window!

The good news was that Brenda only had this one offender left. She decided to have another firm, direct conversation with this woman. She laid out the importance of having quiet time when her door was closed, and the steps she had taken to ensure she could have this time daily. She asked that the woman please respect that when the door was closed (and locked) to NOT also knock on the window! Once Brenda presented all the steps she’d taken to make sure she could work uninterrupted, the woman finally understood. She had thought she was just being “neighborly”!

How does this scenario relate to you?

Think about it…do you need to evaluate your strategies and solutions and make some adjustments? Do you need to have some direct conversations to avoid distraction? Maybe you need to reach out for help creating some additional solutions to reduce your distractions.

In that case, I invite you to apply for a complimentary Bad Day Breakthrough Blueprint session. Here we’ll talk about your current life – and the life you want – and we’ll discuss some strategies to help you see your next steps.

  • Discover what’s blocking you from creating consistently productive and stress-free days.
  • Determine what steps you can take so you can stop working nights and weekends (and early mornings!!!) trying to catch up.
  • Identify the one simple step you can take to immediately get into action today.

 

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