Of course we don’t want to waste time. But we can get into habits that, without our even realizing it, can steal this precious commodity. Here are 3 concepts to keep in mind that should go a long way to helping us get the most out of the time in the day.
Email and Phone Interruptions:
For many of us, the phone rings and we, like robots, rush to answer it. These habits are usually established in us as kids and, for most people, continue on into their adult years. Compared to the phone, email is relatively new. But email, too, can become something we feel compelled to handle immediately. For, perhaps, most people the phone ringers remain on and email notification alarms continue to beep as the emails are checked every 5 to 10 minutes. Both of these, the the ringing phone as well as the constantly chiming email notification sound, can be very distracting and can essentially stop our production.
Most of us consider interruptions to be rude. In an office setting, we expect that if a colleague stopped to buy to chat, he or she should at least look in and ask if we are busy. Conversations can be easily put off to times where both parties are receptive and ready to engage. If we had a colleague who just barged in without any consideration as to what we were doing, we would consider it rude at the very least. This exactly what ringers and email notifications do if we do not properly handle them.
Most experts, and most people who get a lot done, agree that it is best to control phone calls and emails and to handle them at times of our own convenience. While this may not always be possible, an attempt to put some sort of control these factors can be very beneficial. One way to do this is to designate certain times of the day to handle phone calls as well as emails.
There are numerous ways of doing this. Each of us will find a workable method that’s unique to our type of life and our work. Many folks find it quite useful to first check their email just after lunch. Perhaps they will heck it again at the end of the day. Though we can check it in the morning, this can easily incline us to diverge from our planned activities for the day. This is why many have discovered and now recommend that just after lunch is the best time to check that in box.
It is, unarguably, important to shut off the alarm notifying that email has arrived. What I personally do is turn off the automatic checking for email and check email manually. This way I am in full control of the incoming communications.
The phone can be a bit different because we might want to be available more often, especially for new clients. However if we are doing any kinds of projects, it is essentially impossible to be available all the time for phones. Many people find it best to have certain hours designated during the day for answering the phone. When calls come in during times outside these designated periods, we simply informed them, with our answering system or secretary, that we will get back to them at a certain specific time of the day. And we, of course, keep that promise. This allows us to control the times of our communication and allow us to have time relatively interruption-free. This is our time for production.
How you handle it is up to you, but you might want to try putting a bit of control into your communications. This can be a key to increasing your own efficiency and productivity.
Life takes action. Successful actions are cycles of action each with a start, a change and a stop. We need to be masters of each of those aspects of action in order to control our lives.
The idea that things can be perfect, or there is such a thing as perfection, is a lie that many of us adapt in our lives. Who knows where these concepts come from. Perhaps some sort of heavy criticism that we got as younger people or even as adults. Regardless, if perfection becomes our standard, what it tends to do is trap us into actions and we lose access to the all-important stop button. We get stuck in cycles of action that never end. These may be the paintings that are never finished, the reports that are never completed-you get the idea.
If one really looks at it, one should remember that the only realistic standard by which we can operate is to do the best we can at the time that were doing it. Oh yes, we make it better as we become more skilled and more educated, but at any given time we can operate at a certain level and that is standard that we should expect. If we find that we have many actions that are hung up, because they are not good enough, perhaps we need to look at precisely what we are trying to achieve. What is perfect? Perhaps a simple definition, applied, would break us of the habit.
No doubt, we should do the best we can. But leave that idea of perfection to the less productive.
There are so many distractions, especially today with all the technical innovations that surround us. We can keep many screens open on our computers at one time, be listening to all sorts of entertainment outlets from out iPhone and on our computers while we work. We can find ourselves doing so many things that it dilutes our efforts in any one activity.
There are folks who have Facebook open on their computers all the time. Some folks have Twitter running. Many are being notified of every email that comes in as it comes in. And what they find is that they have attention on these items rather than on getting the actual job done.We can easily end our days, when we have these kinds of games going on, where despite an amazing amount of activity, we have really gotten very little of value done.
There really is not anything such as multitasking. We might think that pilots are multitasking when they’re flying an airplane, but the truth is all they’re doing is flying an airplane. That task may comprise of many separate actions but let’s not be fooled into thinking that they are multitasking. Walking consists of an amazing number of actions. But the truth is we are only walking. It is one thing.
Being productive requires the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time. It is best to do one thing, then the next, and the next, etc. If we do that we will find our own efficiency skyrocketing.
Efficiency is not something we seek for its own sake. Efficiency is simply a label that we use to indicate how much we get out of something. Since time, for the most part, is a fixed commodity, we create time by utilizing it more efficiently. Keeping in mind the above 3 points can take us a long way to becoming more efficient and more productive.