Recently I spoke at an event and had the pleasure of being preceded by Susan Lieber of Leave it to Lieber. Susan is a guru organization specialist and all around interesting entrepreneur. During her presentation Susan discussed organization for your business and that multi-tasking does not work in regards to productivity. She also touched on how many minutes you spend refocusing after a distraction.
Did you know that for every interruption you lose 8 minutes of focus time? The brain is designed to focus on just one problem at a time and needs time to process each event. So each time you get interrupted by that instant message, email or phone call you are losing precious task time.
I was the queen of multi-tasking but noticed that often times I was not on point and even frazzled by the end of the day. I started scheduling my day, so much time for each client, a little for My Office Assistant and yes, lunch and stretch breaks. Low and behold, I was getting more done, making less mistakes and even less stressed at the end of the day. Here are some other things that I do:
Turn off email notifications. Yes that little pop-up at the bottom of your screen will wreak havoc on you throughout the day. Instant messages and social media are lumped in here too.
Close your email program during the time you are working on other tasks. How many of you check your email every 5 minutes? If you check every hour and apply the do it, delete it or delegate it rule then you will not be so overwhelmed by those messages.
Designate time for phone calls. Block out time that you are available for calls and consultations. Let your clients know that you would love to talk to them but have designated times for project work and designated time for phone calls.
Make some me time. Everyone needs to stop and decompress during the day. Get up for 15 minutes to clear your mind. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. Surf the net or visit your social media sites. Whatever works for you, then make sure you include it in your day. By designating the time you feel less guilty actually taking it and it will help you refocus your energies.
If you do get interrupted, refocus before resuming. There are times that urgent matters arise. However, take a minute to refocus before jumping right back in. Actually you have 8 minutes to refocus yourself, so review where you left off, get a drink of water and do a breathing exercise. Allow a few minutes, 8 to be exact, to get you back on track.