How many times a day, do you find yourself interrupted or distracted away from your work?

Do you often find you start your day with the best intentions of completing your ‘to-do’ list in a timely fashion, only to realise that at the end of it, you’ve only crossed a few off?

Interruptions and distractions can be unpredictable. There are times when a client call may take longer than anticipated, or we’ve needed to be reactive to an urgent, unplanned request to provide our clients with outstanding customer care. Perhaps a personal issue has arisen and you have a sick child to take care of or maybe technology just isn’t on your side and your internet connection is interrupting your working day.

We all know how easy it is for these obstructions to arise, and those mentioned above are pretty much out of our hands, so we have to deal with them as and when they happen.

However, how about those interruptions and distractions that ARE within our control?

You may or may not realise it, but you do have the power to eliminate, or at the very least, reduce those timely time suckers and be able to get your tasks ticked off.

Think about how much time you spend on the following:-

Social media

This has to be the most common of all distractions. Social media can be an absolute time drain if not managed correctly. Taking five minutes out to ‘quickly’ check your Facebook page or reply to a Tweet, can turn into an hour with ease. Newsfeeds are full of distractions to entice you to follow links and delve further into the world of the Interweb. The way to tackle this problem is to schedule a time slot to engage on social media platforms. Taking half an hour for two intervals each day and sticking to that time, is far more productive than constantly logging in and out and feeling as though you need to catch up in real time. Of course, if you work within an organisation then there may be restrictions on this anyway. However, if you’re self employed, the flexibility of online engagement is always available. Becoming strict with your social media schedule, will undoubtedly result in an increase in productivity, concentration and focus. Try it and notice the results.

Your Inbox

We all know how much stress an overflowing inbox can cause. Many of us feel that if we’re not constantly checking our incoming mail then we’ll never keep on top of it, or may miss something of importance. However, every time that notification pops up in the corner of your screen or ‘pings’ on your mobile phone, you’ve been distracted. Focus has changed and you’re now almost drawn instantaneously to your inbox. As you open that message, all thoughts of the task in hand have been postponed and this electronic mail is your new focus. Whether it’s an email from a client with a question or yes, you guessed it, another social media notification, we’ve diverted from what we were doing.

Scheduling time to check your email is the way forward. This may require a little more than social media, just to ensure that you reply to anything urgent as soon as possible. Checking your email at regular intervals during the day such as first thing in the morning, once after lunch (when your mind is refreshed) and last thing before you finished is a great method in maintaining your inbox and keeping control of distractions. Turn off your email until you are scheduled to check in. If there is anything THAT urgent, then most people will choose to pick up the phone and talk to you. This leads us on to our next distraction…

Unnecessary Telephone Calls

If you like to talk, then you can spend unnecessary time taking telephone calls. Especially if you have a close business relationship with your clients, which is of course a very good thing. However, what could be a quick conversation can end up being an unplanned hour of talk time. Use your voicemail facility, and as before (are you noticing a pattern here?) allow specific times to check in with your phone. Most clients or potential clients will leave a message asking for a call back. When you start working with a new client, explain your call handling procedures. That you will get back to them within your call handling timescale, and provide them with an alternative number for absolute emergencies. You can also take advantage of the many services out there that can assist you with taking your calls. Having your own (virtual) assistant is a great way to ensure your clients still get to speak with someone, when you’re not available.

As you can see, the key to reducing the distractions and interruptions within our control is all about managing your time to deal with those distractions. If you find that you are unable to remain focused try some of the tips mentioned above.

If you have any tips yourself to help others benefit and minimise what pulls us away from our daily accomplishments, then we would love to hear from you.

Remember, help is always at hand with Virtual Hand. Let us help you focus, schedule and succeed.

Busy business owners and successful trainers all struggle from time to time to get everything done in the working day. That’s why we put together our list of favourite tips, tricks, and real life examples that you can use to start doing more with the time you have. Download your free copy here

Learn how you can work with Virtual Hand; how your business can grow and how you can communicate better with your audience.