Focus Your Mind, Get in Control of Your Time

Avoiding Interruptions and The Lure of Lost Socks

– Posted in: focus interruptions overwhelmed prioritization procrastination small business owner stress time management working at home

There are never enough hours in the day; we always have way too much to do. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in the day and we do need to sleep and eat (no, those are not flexible hours for when you run out of regular time!)

So there is a constant challenge to make sure that we squeeze every ounce of productivity from every minute of the day.

When I first left working in an office environment and started working at home, I thought (please don’t laugh) that I would be so much more productive without all the interruptions that go with being in an office environment.

Instead I found that interruptions just took a different form.

  • Friends calling to invite me out to coffee or lunch (obviously working from home means I don’t do anything all day right?)
  • Calls from clients or prospective clients (welcome of course but always when I am right in the middle of something!)
  • Silent but insistent calls from laundry piles and dishwashers that need dealt with
  • Electronic interruptions from e mails, Facebook, twitter and Skype
  • Calls from telemarketers (who knew they called through the day as well as at dinner time)
  • And let’s not even mention interruptions from my own family!! (Am I the only one who knows where we keep socks?)

I quickly realized I needed to tackle this problem or I would get nothing done.

I considered investing in a sensory deprivation chamber and locking myself inside till I had finished my projects, but surprisingly they would not fit my budget!

Luckily the solution that worked for me was less expensive although it does take a bit of discipline to start with.

Each week while I am scheduling my calendar, I book appointments with myself for “uninterrupted time”. This time is devoted to getting projects finished that need real focused concentration.

To make this work:

  • I try to make these times as regular as possible
  • The phone is sent directly to voicemail,
  • All my applications like email, facebook etc are shut down.
  • I make sure I stick to the rules too!
  • A big notice is on my door with a dire warning to anyone who even knocks on my door
  • I have a specific end time when I reenter the real world and return calls and find socks!

This has worked for many people I have helped over the years, allowing us all to progress with work and keep a level of sanity in our lives.

What is your best tip?

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