Tag Archive: interruptions



26709126 Year 2016 is ComingWhat I see on a regular basis is women going through their days fed up, stressed out and pressed for time. Many people were experiencing that frustration at the end of the year, and although we’ve crossed over into a new year, the frustration remains. Typically, when you cross over into a new year, you have great aspirations and big goals you want to accomplish, but there’s this thing that keeps you from it, making it take even longer for you to get from point A to point B.

Being caught up in all there is to do doesn’t help your quest and it doesn’t line up with the energy of having a nice, fresh new year to dive into. You’re being pulled in multiple directions, you have no idea where your time is going and the pressure is on, causing chaotic disorganized days. To make matters worse, your calendar looks like an over-stuffed closet and you have 101 things hanging out in the most dangerous place in the world—your head.

We’re at the start of a new year and if this is the way things are in your world right now it’s time to take the reins. You’ve got an entire year ahead of you, new goals and dreams to follow so now is the time to take the steps to empower yourself. Empowering yourself means learning exactly where your time is going, realizing what things are wasting your time, and knowing what kinds of things are interrupting your flow every day. You can do each of these by tracking your time for about five days. Each day when you start a task, write it down. While you work, keep track of the interruptions you get and how long you work on each thing. Be sure to note the level of importance for the items you work on. It might seem a tedious, but detailing everything you do will give you access to some great information once the five days is up. Once you’re done tracking you do you can see what things are actually getting your time, the kinds of interruptions that come into play and whether or not you’re focusing on the things that will help you accomplish those goals you created. The information you get out of this process is gold because you have to be able to know what’s really going on so you can address the problems.

It’s time for a clean slate and a new way of operating. Take the reins and take control of your days and your year by equipping yourself to have a better day-to-day experience and actually get things done, achieve the goals and dreams you created for this year. Tracking your time is one step in taking the reins. Get your time log here and discover where your time is going.

 


WastingTime-ClocksWasteCan-SmallWe live in such an excessive society and people waste so much, even food. We also waste our time.  The difference is that time is something we don’t have in excess.  We each get the same amount of time each day and once it’s spent, it’s gone for good.

Do you honestly know where your time is going? How much of your time are you wasting?  On average, individuals spend any where from 1.5 to 2 hours of each work day searching for things-files, documents on their computers, contact information, and the list goes on.  Not to mention the other ways that time gets wasted.  Multiply that wasted time by 5 work days and that’s 7.5 to 10 hours every week when nothing is getting done.  With typically 20 work days in each month, that’s 150 to 200 hours of wasted time every month for the average individual, which means that there are a lot of “to-dos” that aren’t getting done because of some big-time time wasters.

So, how do you know you’re wasting significant time?  Begin by looking for indicators:

  • Messy desk, cluttered work space, things not filed
  • Not being able to find things
  • Missing, being late for or often rescheduling appointments
  • Arriving to meetings unprepared
  • Tired and/or unable to concentrate

Once you’ve identified the indicators, work on the solutions:

  • Organize your entire work space
  • Determine what fits your personality and establish a time management system that fits that personality
  • Plan your work and prioritize your list
  • Focus on important and not urgent things (this comes into play once you establish good habits)
  • Eliminate procrastination
  • Delegate the things that you can
  • Learn your personal energy cycles and use them
  • Control interruptions effectively

When you begin working on the solutions, know that although you may be implementing things immediately, it takes at least 21 days to develop a new habit.  Letting go of your big-time time wasters is a process, it can happen quickly, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Allow yourself the time and the room to do so, and when you revert to old habits, simply acknowledge what you’re doing and get back on track.  It’s also a good idea to enroll someone in what you’re doing and ask for support as part of your system for getting a handle on increasing your productivity. Remember, how you give your time to is what makes the difference and impacts your bottom line.

 


The current times that we are in have individuals experiencing heavier work loads and added responsibility and more and more entrepreneurs are being created. It’s more important now than it has been in the past to manage ourselves effectively.  Given that scenario, we all have to focus on getting more done with fewer resources. It’s important to get to the top priorities, manage time and projects, empower and keep ourselves from burning out.

The challenge that we all face is that we have too much to do.  Even our children have too much to do these days.  The key to getting past having too much to do is to determine what things are worthy of your time.  Before you can decide what things are worth your time, you have to know what your values are.  Look at every area of your life and think about the things that are important to you and create a list, then use that list when you are deciding what things are worth your time.  If you choose to place things on your agenda that are in line with your values, you are more likely to accomplish goals that you set around those things than you would be if they weren’t values based.  When you base what you do upon the things that you value, you are placing the focus on what’s important to you, which has to be your first priority.

A vital factor in managing workflow effectively is having an organized environment.  Whether you work in a company office or your office at home, it must be organized.  Think about the stress involved, not to mention the extra time it takes, when you simply can’t find something.  We all know that it may take a number of hours to get an environment completely organized, but it’s time well spent and it will keep you from wasting time in the future looking for that particular file or what ever it might be.  With your environment organized, you’ll be able to access what you need in a matter of seconds.

One thing that I teach my clients to honor is their own Prime Time™.  By that I mean, the time during the day in which your energy level is the greatest.  This is the time of day when you are going to be most productive and the time of day that should be used for your most important tasks.  This would not be the time of day to check your email or return phone calls.  This is the time of day that you want to use for the things that require creativity or focus.  You also want to protect this time of day so that it doesn’t become the space for tasks with lower priorities.  You want to use this time of day for your top priority tasks.  Take a look at your natural energy rhythms; what time of day does your energy seem at its peak?  If you need to, look at your patterns over a few days and see what time of day works best for you. Once you determine that, be sure to block out a couple of hours during that time to get your top priority tasks done.

In addition to your values, getting organized and honoring your natural energy rhythms be sure to set time to schedule and plan your week and your day.  At the end of one week, sit down and plan for the next and do the same thing each day.  At the end of your day take a few minutes to look at what you have set for the next day.  There may be some adjustments that you have to make to your schedule because something was canceled or perhaps there is something that needs to be added.  If a task is going to take longer than 15 minutes to complete, it should go into your calendar and not just on your to-do list.  If it doesn’t go into your calendar, you take the risk of something not getting done that day and the added stress that comes with the day being upset.

When you’re planning and scheduling your to-dos, be sure to include their priorities so that at a glance you know what items are your top priorities for each day.  Not everything has the same level of importance, so you want to be sure that you’re focusing on your crucial items before you get to those that aren’t so important.

Next, find a way to minimize interruptions.  Constant interruptions will keep you from getting anything done.  Turn off the email notification, or better yet, close your email while you’re working on other things.  For those hours during your prime time™ that you’re working on top priorities, turn off the ringer on the phone or place it on do not disturb.  If someone transfers calls to you, ask for your calls to be transferred into your voice mail and check them later in the day.  If necessary, close your office door for a while so that you can focus on what you’re doing.  Constant interruptions can destroy your concentration and cause added stress.

Finally, you have to keep your well being a priority.  During the course of your day, no matter how busy you are, you have to take breaks to stretch, take a short walk and make time to eat right.  Nothing that you have to do can be more important than your well being.  Even if you implemented each of the aforementioned in managing your workflow, things won’t flow smoothly if you don’t incorporate your well being.  It is a key factor in making it all flow.


We all are interrupted throughout the course of our workday, by people and by things that may not necessarily always be in our control.  No matter what the interruption is or how many of them we encounter during our day, if you want to have a very productive day, you have to get a handle on managing those interruptions.   Get ahead of the game and start by preventing interruptions before they occur.

When you control interruptions and eliminate distractions in your day, you have more time to work on the things that matter.  Look at the things that keep interrupting your day or keep you from working on what matters most.  What are the things that interrupt you the most and why? What’s interrupting you right now?  What can you do to put a stop to that distraction?

If you can’t answer this question right away, keep track over the period of one week of what is interrupting you and the reason for each interruption.  Also make a note of how much time you spend on each distraction.  At the end of the week, add up the accumulated time spent on the distractions. As you review your list, ask yourself what you can do to stop the various distractions.

One common interruption is the telephone.  It may not always be possible to not take phone calls or answer the phone, but there are times that it’s possible to have someone take messages, let the calls go to voice mail or place the phone on do not disturb and return calls later in the day.  This is especially helpful when you’re working on one of your top priority items.  You can keep working and know that you can still address the needs of those on the other end of the phone, just not right at that time.

Coworkers present another common interruption.  It might be that they come to your workspace or office because they need something from you.  To cut down on those interruptions, change your habits.  When someone enters your space, ask them what they need and let them know that if it’s something that will only take a few minutes, you can stop and help them right then; if it’s going to take longer, find out what it is that they need and set a time to talk to them or to get them what they need a little later in the day.  This helps keep you on track with your top priorities and keeps your day flowing.

Others may stop by because they want to chat about their weekend or something that happened.  It’s easy to get caught up in it, but it costs you precious time and brings your productivity level down.  If you have an extra chair in your office and you don’t want to remove it, try placing a personal item such as your briefcase or coat in it to stop people from coming in and sitting down.  If they have to stand, they may be inclined to spend less time in your office, but once they sit down, they are likely to spend more time visiting.  People are less likely to move personal items to sit down.

If you have an office, close the door occasionally to help curb interruptions.  For example, I used to do payroll at a job that I had some time ago, which is something where there was no room for error.  The problem was that I had multiple interruptions.  My remedy was to close my office door from the time I started the payroll process until I finished and then deal with the requests that people had after that.  That became my habit.  My coworkers got into the habit of not disturbing me on Monday mornings.  If they forgot and came to my office, they remembered that the closed door on a Monday meant that I was busy with payroll, and they could come back in a couple of hours.  They also came to know that if the door was closed at any other time that I couldn’t help them right then, but would be available later on.

These may seem like simple actions to take, but they are quite effective.  You develop new habits around interruptions and begin to learn how to handle them effectively and others begin to respect your time.  You will be surprised at how much these simple things can help increase your productivity level.

 


Given the current state of things, the average worker is experiencing heavier work loads and added responsibility. It’s more important now than it has been in the past to manage yourself effectively.  Given that scenario, focus has to be on getting more done with fewer resources. It’s important to get to the top priorities, manage time and projects, empower and keep yourself  from burning out.

The challenge is that  we have too much to do.  Even our children have too much to do these days.  The key to getting past having too much to do is to determine what things are worthy of your time.  Before you can decide what things are worth your time, you have to know what your values are.  Look at every area of your life and think about the things that are important to you and create a list, then use that list when you are deciding what things are worth your time.  If you choose to place things on your agenda that are in line with your values, you are more likely to accomplish goals that you set around those things than you would be if they weren’t values based.  When you base what you do upon the things that are important to you, you are placing the focus on personal balance, which has to be your first priority.

A vital factor in managing workflow effectively is having an organized environment.  Whether you work in a company office or your office at home, it must be organized.  Think about the stress involved, not to mention the extra time it takes, when you simply can’t find something.  Now,  it may take a number of hours to get an environment completely organized, but it’s time well spent and it will keep you from wasting time in the future looking for that particular file or what ever it might be.  With your environment organized, you’ll be able to access what you need in a matter of seconds.

In addition to your values and getting organized,  be sure to set time to schedule and plan your week and your day.  At the end of one week, sit down and plan for the next and do the same thing each day.  At the end of your day, look to see what you have set for the next day.  There may be some adjustments that you have to make to your schedule because something was canceled or perhaps there is something that needs to be added.  If a task is going to take longer than 15 minutes to complete, it should go into your calendar and not just on your to-do list.  If it doesn’t go into your calendar, you take the risk of something not getting done that day and the added stress that comes with the day being upset.

Distractions and interruptions will disrupt your flow.  Turn off the email notification, or better yet, close your email while you’re working on other things.  For those hours that you’re working on top priorities, turn off the ringer on the phone or place it on do not disturb.  If someone transfers calls to you, ask for your calls to be transferred into your voice mail and check them later in the day.  If necessary, close your office door for a while so that you can focus on what you’re doing.  Constant interruptions can destroy your concentration and cause added stress.

Finally, you have to keep your well being a priority.  During the course of your day, no matter how busy you are, you have to take breaks to stretch, take a short walk and make time to eat right.  Nothing that you have to do can be more important than your well being.  Even if you implemented each of the aforementioned in managing your workflow, things won’t flow smoothly if you don’t incorporate your well being.  It is a key factor in making it all flow.

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