In this post I’m going to explain the single most powerful way to save time every day. It’s a short post. But to understand this, you need to pay attention to the end of this short article. Then, you need to take action!
First it’s worth noting that you can’t actually "save" time. All you can do is switch what you are doing while time happens – because that’s what time does – it happens – whatever you are doing, the clock’s ticking.
To cut the hours you work, or to get more done, you’ve got to change what you do, because how you’re spending your day is the problem, not the amount of time you’ve got. Here’s the big secret though – it’s not just WHAT you do, it’s also HOW you do it. In this post, I’m going to teach you how to eliminate time enemy number 1 – distractions & interruptions.
Distractions Slow You Down
Ever get annoyed when you are in the middle of something important and the phone rings? You take the call, make a note to do something and then get back to your important task. But you’ve lost the flow and can’t get back into it. You resign yourself to take a break and grab a quick coffee.
The quick call that you took just cost you 20 minutes of progress on your important task. You start again and ten minutes later have to go to a meeting. After the meeting, you bump into an old friend you’ve not seen for years and chat for 30 minutes over a coffee.
Finally you get back to the office, sit down to finish and a text message comes in, asking if you can pick up some milk. Annoyed at the distraction, you pick up the phone and start an argument with your partner about how you’re too busy to take texts about shopping. You waste 5 minutes and come off the phone in a temper. You give up for the day on your most important task and you wonder where all the time goes..
Here’s the trick to getting more done. Start something and don’t stop for interruptions until you’re finished. It’s really up to you to choose whether you like being interrupted or not and then to change things to how you really want them. It’s not difficult, it’s just different.
How To Stop Distractions & Interruptions…
If you have staff, tell them you don’t want to be disturbed for a certain time every day. Book a meeting with yourself and use this time to get important stuff done. If they interrupt you anyway, don’t deal with their request, make them wait until you are done. Set a rule that only immediate danger to health, the law or an angry customer on the phone can be used as reasons to interrupt. If it’s not one of those, tell them to go away and play by your rules.
Humans take too long to switch tasks with full attention. Stop switching tasks, you’ll get lots more done.
Close Instant Messenger, Internet Explorer and email when you are writing a quote in Word. Clear your desk and clear your mind.
So What Now…
The most successful clients I work with are the ones who recognise they need to change themselves a little in order to change their businesses. Changing what you do with your time is a brilliant place to start.
Try this out today and stick to it for a week. Tell me how you get on. In fact, do it now and don’t let me distract you!
Don’t read any further unless you’re up for 10 minutes distraction!
If you are in the mood for a bit of distraction and are interested to know more about how the brain works, you’ll enjoy Brain Rules, a website with video explaining how your brain works and how to get more out of it.