work at coffee house with gadgets

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 shiny 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?

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About The Author

Terry Monaghan's picture

Terry is the CEO of Time Triage

With over 30 years of business and entrepreneurial experience, Terry’s unique technology has dramatically increased the productivity of Fortune 100 executives and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. Whether it’s a corporate executive or a “solo-preneur,” the outcome of Terry’s methodology will give you an expanded level of freedom and productivity with results you can measure.

Terry’s clients find themselves working on what is most fulfilling and what really matters in moving things forward rather than what they previously thought they “had to do.” The things you hoped to get to someday become the things you work on today.

Terry’s work was recently featured in the New York Times best-seller Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time by Brigid Schulte (Sarah Crichton Books, March 11, 2014).

Eliminating overwhelm, giving clients more time to focus and clarity about where to focus, and implementing what it takes to produce results beyond what is predictable are what Terry’s efforts are all about. Her high integrity, no-nonsense, practical approach to business operations has helped build trusted relationships with many high performing professionals, entrepreneurs, and executives.

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