3 Time Management Distractions

Regardless of what business department you work in, managing time and workload seems to be a never-ending challenge. We’ve all been there – when you look up at the clock and realized the day has somehow flown by and the lofty work goals set up with our morning coffee still remain on the “to do” list with minimal or no progress. Even the best time management techniques have seemingly failed, and we’re left with that feeling of dread- the next day’s to-do list has just doubled to an unmanageable size. It’s frustrating, exhausting, down-right depressing, and ultimately, it’s non-sustainable. These are the occasions where you need to take back control by 1) increasing your awareness of what factors are creating the most significant distractions, and 2) how to mitigate those distractions. We’ve created a list of some of the most common workplace “distraction” challenges, and how best to minimize or even eliminate the issue:

1. Caller ID and the unplanned call

Taking telephone calls throughout our work-day will never change, but we always have the discretion of determining whether we should pick-up and take the call. Today, most of the phone systems either on our desk or our wireless phone have provided us the convenience of Caller ID. We use the information to determine whether the call is important enough for us to stop everything, and take the call. Unfortunately, we subconsciously prioritize any call where we recognize the name of the caller. Or, we incorrectly determine the call will only take 5 minutes.

How to minimize the distraction:

Turn-off Caller ID or set the phone to “do no disturb” – these are settings that most every phone comes equipped with, but few realize that with a couple of temporary setting changes, the issue actually goes away. The argument many will submit – “What if it’s an emergency?” Family or the Boss. Fortunately, the same settings used to activate “do not disturb” allow the end user to input exceptions.

2. The “drop by” meeting and/or greeting

The unannounced casual “drop by” in some office environments can be nearly as frequent as the unplanned phone call. Just as challenging, the type A personality most likely enjoys a visit from a work-place peer or subconsciously we justify our participation in the “drop-by” by rationalizing the degree of importance or the need to be polite. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tech setting to prevent the “drop by” meeting.

How to minimize the distraction:

Without a technological way to reduce or eliminate the “drop by” it becomes incumbent upon ourselves to take back-control by 1) Increasing your consciousness that the regularly occurring unplanned event is a contributing distraction which is aiding the lack of productivity, and 2) be prepared with a response at the time the “drop-by” occurs – frequently, it’s a simple as informing your “drop by” guest that you’re working on a deadline to complete a task and suggesting an alternative time to meet. To make yourself even more productive, schedule the alternative time on your calendar to account for the time within your work-day. Most peers will not deem this rude, but respect the need for you to complete what you’ve deemed as important.

3. Notifications and alerts

Thanks to technology, we’re often in a state of communication overload receiving and average of 360 messages per day, and that doesn't count email and texting which can add up to over 350 per day. Our computers and electronic devices have become communication life-lines – configured to ping a variety of notifications and alerts against a variety of social media applications, and digital communications. For some people, their device is in a never-ending state of notifications and alerts. This is especially true for younger adults who are actively engaged in their social media applications. As a result, we’ve become conditioned to consistently check our laptops and devices to determine the level of importance - Does it require a response? Or is it our intuitive curiosity simply want to know the latest “scoop”.

How to minimize the distraction:

This distraction is a little trickier because many of us have an innate and conscious need to not want to miss any new information- sometimes it’s simply to be “in-the-know” or fear of missing out on something important. The challenge with this distraction is often an issue of wrestling with our own passionate curiosity. The best approach to resolving this distraction is once again to change the settings within your devices. Notifications and alerts are often pre-configured as “always on” – take the time to prioritize and turn-off non-essential notifications. The hardest part for some will be to click the “turn off” button – overcome your curious nature by remembering the communication will not be erased, but rather you are taking control of your time to determine when it’s convenient for you to respond.

Time management is always a challenge in almost any business environment. For a sales team however, it can be the difference between meeting goals and objectives or failure. Jack Belford has successfully applied a variety of time management and sales skills to achieve his own individual success during his corporate tenure. Today, he transfers those successes through his sales training and business coaching company. Want to learn more? Let’s connect.


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