This week, during the business coach meeting on Monday morning I learned an interesting fact that prompted some habit changes on my part. According to the New York Times , “It takes 25 minutes to return to the original task after being interrupted.” Think about this and the habits of your day. If you are only able to complete a task nearly once every hour, doesn’t this slow productivity down? The way I see it, you have two options.
One, you eliminate all distractions. Some hours of the day and some days of the week this may be possible. But although this would be the most popular and simple solution, it makes sense that this option is scarce. So, when interruptions are inevitable, what are some tips to deal with the distractions? As always, I look at others and their good and effective examples. Here is what I’ve learned so far as a business coach working for the Thrivetime Show.
Action Step 1:
GET UP EARLIER! Some days this is hard. In fact, most days, or every day if you are me, it is a challenge to get out of bed and be at work by a certain time. Whether you’re at work by 4:30, 6:00 or 8:00 am, or some days even 9:00 am can be a challenge. No matter what time you get up, it’s not fun. But there are fewer distractions earlier in the morning because the rest of the world and the rest of your house isn’t up yet. It’s so worth after about 15 minutes of waking up when you realize it’s not so bad after all. Benjamin Franklin says “The early morning has gold in its mouth”.
Action Step 2:
Turn your push notifications off! Seriously, this one move not only improved my focus and made my life feel less crazy, it also saved my battery life. Think about it, how often is your phone distracting you? Remember the New York Times article? How many push notifications do you get a day? I’ll let you do the math on that.
“You must determine times during your day when you will have your smartphone on and when you will have your smartphone off.”
– Clay Clark, The Art of Getting Things Done
Action Step 3:
Plan your day! Lee Cockerell says, “What gets scheduled gets done”. So, of course, what does not get scheduled will not get done. There is a major difference in performance all throughout the day when you fail to plan properly. I’m sure you know the feeling. Also, allow extra time for hiccups. For example, the printer may not want to print this morning. Maybe you spill coffee on your new sweater. Set realistic expectations for yourself so you don’t feel bad when things come up that weren’t part of the original plan. You can quickly reassess your schedule when you’ve already mapped out exactly what you needed to have done by the end of the day and you know how to get there.
Ask yourself. Am I minimizing distractions? Am I setting boundaries? What small changes can I make to increase the productivity of my day? This week, as a business coach, I practiced building better habits to minimize distractions. I learned actual facts that are slowing me down. I attempted to change a few habits, like sticking closer to my business coach calendar on action items when there was another daily distraction in the way. I am putting my phone completely away during my morning planning time. So, get up earlier, turn your push notifications off and plan your day with uninterrupted thinking. Begin tomorrow, and continue doing this until you’ve formed a new habit! Welcome to our tribe.