Distractions, Interruptions, the Boogie Monster and Other Myths

distractions and interriptions

Ever done a “Time management course?”

Why? Did you want to get more done or limit distractions or learn how to prioritise? Maybe your boss sent you?

Did you land up managing time any better? How? Did you find some more time or wake up and instruct the clock to slow down (maybe set the alarm earlier or took the batteries out? Ever moved the car clock time so it runs a few minutes ahead?) Do you now manage your time so it reports on performance usage and attains all set KPI’s?  Yeah - Na!

Reality check = You cannot manage time.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day, or 1440 minutes or 24 hours and there is nothing you can do about it. Time is the great equaliser. Whether you are born in a rubbish dump in India or Buckingham palace you have exactly the same allocated every day as everyone else. The only difference is how YOU choose to use it!

So what steals your time?

The top culprits named by attendees in my training sessions are interruptions and distractions (aka procrastination). Studies are showing that interruptions and distractions account for around 45% of time wasted every day in many workplaces. Depending on your role you can expect to get interrupted 15+/day and each interruption can take between 12-20 minutes before you get back to the place and state of mind that you were at before being interrupted.

Many people intuitively know this and yet are shocked by the vast amount - imagining that some of their time just seems to vanish - enter the Boogie Monster - imagined consumer of time, energy and productivity! Fact - time does not vanish.

Focus can be lost, priorities can be unclear, willpower can be weak but time is true and constant.

Why do you allow your time to be taken? Yes, you read that correctly - You ALLOW it to be taken. Some of you will have chosen roles and careers which exist to be interrupted - front line reception, fire-fighter, emergency room staff. However, for many, time is taken because it is easier to daily choose the easy route than fight for what is rightly yours. Humans are inclined to do what is easy - the easier it is to be distracted, procrastinate, and be interrupted, the more we will do it and allow (even encourage!) others to do it. How often are you interrupted by a team member asking “Where is this?, “How do I do that”, “What should I do about these?” and it is easier to answer than train them? [Reality check 101: You are training them to ask you next time!] You could say, “What do you think you should do?”; “What would you do if I was not here?”; “What has been done before?”.

There is another way. A better way. It starts small and build up. It is developed from lessons learnt from hundreds of people over the last decade. As I work with people, I remain impressed and amazed at how clear and focused the highly productive people are.

I see in them a discipline that echoes Aristotle's observation: “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”

Join me as we explore the power of positive change. Training is best started in small repeatable actions. These are best identified and worked on at your core thinking level. It is here you can discover the power of “micro-choices.” 
Think Right, Act Right, Live Right.  Watch this space!