Watch out for those WMD (Weapons of Mass Distraction)
They're everywhere and pray on idle eyes and unsuspecting professionals with ever filling outlook folders. In sales and particularly as a Key Account Manager, admin never goes away, meetings are frequent and email communication is at an all-time high. Don't forget the dreaded social media updates :) Yes the meaningless updates we all fall privy too.
What do you do in those moments where there are all these things to do? An so many distractions particular when it doesn't contribute to the one thing you need to get done. What tools, approaches or systems can you use?
There are tons of productivity resources out there. I'm simply sharing 5 great ideas working for me that may work for you, to ensure you have more of a chance of getting the right things done that will give you the biggest reward on effort.
Make each day specific
This might sound like write a check list but it’s so much more than that. I’m saying make each day about no more than 2-3 things being done. Better yet only 1-2 things. For example every first half of every Monday is creative writing day. I'm delivering blog content for myself and then other publications. Wednesday/Thursday is meeting and calls day. Friday finance. This offers a structure so helpful it means I can get to work everyday without having to think about what needs to be done. That leads us to point 2
Know your daily priority or goals and write them out
If you choose to do point 1 this will only lend to making you even more effective. Let me assume for a moment you ‘make each day specific’. You still need to know what your main goals are or priority on that topic might be to accomplish. The best time to think about that is the day before not the day of (big mistake). Once you know what topic day it is, you on need determine the 1-5 things within that topic to get done. E.g. Writing day for me is. 5 personal blogs and one guest post. You wouldn't believe the sense of satisfaction for getting these done.
Allocate time to be interrupted or check in
Block out time in your diary visible for your wife, your colleagues and who ever else who may need to know what you’re doing. You may even want to allocate time for checking in with people in case you do need to be available. This is something you can still try to anticipate way before the day. You can’t foresee everything but having just one of these actions means your day wont be turned upside down working on someone else's agenda.
Beware email pop ups and web browsers
If you’re like me and spend most of your time preparing in front of your laptop or computer you may want to try something different. I know myself and when planning my day or working on something I can’t always be at my desk. For planning I get up and take audio and transcribe notes using an app. When starting tasks I only have open the browser tabs/website I need to get that task done. Once it’s complete it gets shut down and I open the other tabs needed for the next task. Boy did this take me long to build as a habit but it’s become one of the most powerful habits I have for productivity.
Don’t be mastered by email and other peoples agenda’s
This is such a problem we have to deal with it twice. Email is the number one cause of distraction and lack of employee productivity in the world. What do you do with something so tempting to check but clearly so dependently useful. Many will say don’t check emails in the morning. I’m not, because it wasn't realistic for me. If you’re someone like me who tends to check emails in the morning. Here are 3 things you can do to turn this into something productive.
- Check your email 30min earlier
- Highlight the 3-5 emails that may require immediate attention and put them to draft.
- Allocate a short amount of time after your first two tasks are complete to deal with them. This way you at least have 1-2 of the things you should have done and don’t lose momentum
Bonus: one super effective productivity hack is: Set up an email response to let people know you wont be able to respond to email until a particular time. That way you manage expectations, avoid one of the biggest causes of lack of productivity (email). If it truly is urgent they’ll call you direct.
What other simple focus hacks do you have?
Let me know if you've used any of the above or if you've found the perspective helpful.
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