Question, who likes interruptions? I don’t, do you? But, unfortunately, we allow interruptions to rule our lives many times. When we’re working in business, it’s really important that we’re focused. We’re focused on what’s most important, that we’re working within our strength areas, that we can go ahead and produce highly. The issue is most very successful businesses have owners, management teams and employees who are very focused and very good at what they do.
You know, I looked at a little study on interruptions. It said that it can take up to 45 minutes to recover from an interruption. If someone stops in your office to have a conversation with you, you get a phone call from somebody, you get a text message, whatever. After you deal with it, you don’t instantly jump back what you’re doing most often. Most often that interruption slows you down and maybe it costs you 15 minutes. My experience has been when I manage those interruptions well and not allow them, I can accomplish as much in one day as I normally do in 5. In a whole week. I’ve done it over and over and over.
I’m in a professional services business. Interruptions cost us a lot so we have to manage our time well. I did that was called Time Is Wealth. True wealth is not how much money you make but how much time you have to do the things that you enjoy or that you want to do. We need to be careful that we don’t waste time. For most people, 20% of their time is very productive and very well spent. 80% of their time not so much. That 80% of the time is often associated with interruptions. What are the biggest interruptions in life today?
Cell phones, text messages and emails. If you can learn to manage those things, and wean yourself from those interruptions it would make a huge difference in how focused you are, what you can accomplish and what you can get done and how much free time that you’ll have. Emails, just check it once or twice a day and then deal with those important emails. If you can’t train yourself to do that, get yourself a personal assistant. Either one that’s right here with you or a virtual personal assistant if you need to. But, those email interruptions often control the better part of the day for a lot of people. Text messages, same thing. Boom, you’re interrupted by oh I’ve got to deal with that.
I couldn’t believe some of the surveys that talked about when people are checking their emails at times you wouldn’t expect. They’re ignoring the people around them. Do you ever watch people sitting in a restaurant? A husband and wife or two friends, sitting in a restaurant. What’s going on? One of them is talking on the phone and another one is staring off into space. Or, they’re each talking on the phone to somebody else or they’re dealing with their text messages or they’re checking their email. You ever sit in a meeting where somebody is constantly checking their text messages and so forth. Or they’re answering calls rudely in the middle of meetings.
How can you be focused? How can you really be productive in what you do if you allow interruptions to rule your life? When you’re focused and working, turn off your cell phone. Turn off your email. Don’t let it check and ping you every time that another email message comes up. The temptation will be to look at it. Get away from those interruptions and it can make a huge difference in how productive you are, what you get done and most importantly, how much free time you have. A word to the wise.