In a recent post, we wrote about how to handle the constant interruptions your team sometimes creates. I was flipping through an on-flight magazine this week and saw a startling statistic. We interrupt ourselves 21 times an hour, on average, to check our texts, social media, instant messages, email and other sources of technological connections. That’s roughly every 2.1 minutes. Apparently, our employees aren’t the only (or even the worst) causes of our lack of focused time!
Seriously, this is a horrifying statistic. We only go 2.1 minutes before our attention shifts and we check our phones/computers? This in-your-face revelation got me thinking about how to keep these sneaky time thefts from wrecking your production.
- Technology diet. I love my technology as much as the next person (i.e. check it constantly) and I’m a huge believer that it does help my business in many ways. (marketing, visibility, accessibility to clients, etc.) But 21 times an hour is unacceptable. We have to control our technology and not let it control us. Set specific times of the day that you will turn on, sync or connect to your email, phone, social media, etc. You can easily set auto-responders to handle many of these, informing your clients that you will check and respond at certain times. Take the reins and get your focus back.
- Food and drink. Often our concentration is broken by the basic need for a drink (usually another cup of coffee or water), or by our blood sugar dropping because we haven’t eaten in hours. If you are going into production or focus time that you don’t want to be interrupted, take a thermos of coffee into your work area with you. Take extra bottles or glasses of water. Grab some protein bars, almonds, or whatever you snack on. Make sure you have anything you might need at your fingertips so you don’t have to break concentration and go searching for it. We all know that a quick trip to get another cup of coffee can be a 20-minute journey as team members grab you for “one quick question” or you get waylaid by a client in the hallway.
- Get all of the files or items you need. If you have a plan to knock out production of several files or projects, take all the relevant materials into your work area with you. If you leave each time you finish one file to get the next, you will again lose valuable time and concentration. The goal is to start your production agenda and get to the finish line of without having to leave the room and risk breaking focus.
If you are still thinking that it’s your teammates who cause the most interruptions, check out our previous post on strategies to reduce team interruptions without crushing their enthusiasm.
I’m still reeling: over 21 times an hour. So every time you have the urge to Candy Crush, remind yourself of the velocity you are losing 21 times every hour!
Champion of your continued success,
Laney and Molly