Be More Productive! 7 Ways to Control Distractions

Time management takes discipline, control and repetition. The odds are overwhelmingly against you and you will likely fail several times in your attempts to master it. But this is a good thing! Why? Because if it were easy, everyone would do it and be as productive as you will be!

1-Work in offline mode in Outlook®, when you are working on specific tasks until they are accomplished, turn off email notifications.

2-Check in every two hours or so for new emails. Schedule the times in your day when you will check and respond to email (e.g., 9am-11am-2pm-4pm).

3-Close your browser. Keep web browsers closed when you are working on completing a project

4Silence your phone. You will have more than enough opportunities for phone time if you schedule it into your calendar. It’s ok to leave it on for emergencies, but if it’s just to chat with someone it’s probably going to be a huge time waster.

5Shut the door. If you work in a busy office environment, you may want to consider shutting your door when you need to get work done.  Don’t let others manage your day.  Practice the fine art of saying NO to interruptions.  As you train yourself to be more disciplined you must also train those around you. There used to be an aphorism that everyone who has an office should have an “open door policy” meaning, ostensibly that they were “approachable.” Everyone should be as approachable as possible in the workplace – provided, however, that this approachability does not subjugate the office holder to having other people control their day. Close your door. You will not be a negative influence; you will be someone who gets things done and telegraphs to others in the workplace the need to do so.

6-Understand your time saboteurs. What are they and how can you address them.

7-Wear noise canceling headphones or put on headphones with low soft music to keep yourself from being distracted from outside noise.

How can properly delegating actually make my company money?

If you are a business owner, chances are, you have done everything by yourself for many years.  However, it gets to the point when you become so preoccupied doing everything yourself, that you lose sight of how to achieve or plan for even greater goals because you’ve simply run out of capacity.

Further, your daily tasks, take you away from your unique talents, areas of work which you naturally excel at and are passionate about.  These areas are typically the ones that you used at the beginning of your career.  If you can get back to what you are most passionate about then you will naturally tap into the area of your vision that will financially grow your business.

When I delegate, nothing get done right.  Why is that?

Prepare to delegate. This should be taken seriously and not as an afterthought.

If you don’t take the time to explain the task and think it’s easier to just do it yourself, then you will always have too much work on your plate.  Take the time upfront to explain what needs to get done and in the end you will free your time up.  Research shows that employees become disengaged and unmotivated when managers don’t delegate effectively.

Understand that they will mistakes.

• If you are a perfectionist. Be aware that you need to manage yourself first.  It is rare that another person will do a task exactly the same way as you, but focus on the outcome and not always the process.

It takes more time to delegate then to do it myself?

If you delegate and the work is not done correctly, ask yourself what kind of communicator you are. A great delegater has to be a great communicator and you need to know what to delegate.

• Delegate the tasks you have to do all the time
if you understand them well and know what the outcome is, and then it will be easy to communicate that to your employee.

• Delegate a less-than-essential task that requires skills you don’t currently have.
Learning new skills takes time, if your employee has the right skills to complete a task, than hand it over for them to do.

• Delegate tasks that don’t have immediate deadlines.
Researching materials for blogs, newsletters, interesting report that pertains to your business are all good examples.

Delegate a task to an employee who has shown a particular interest in it.
If you have an employee that has a degree in a certain area or an expertise from past work experience, then give them an opportunity to show you their stuff so long as it pertains to your business.

Delegate a task to an employee who needs to develop a skill in that area.
If you have an employee who has lots of potential and wants to grow in his/her career but is weak in an area, then delegate tasks that could help them to develop a new skill that will benefit them.  I.e.) running a meeting, calling on customers etc.

What is a delegation agenda and how will it help my business?
A weekly meeting on the same day each week where you go over the prior week’s delegation tasks and you get and give feedback from your employee.  Use a delegation worksheet (below) and create a binder to put it in, so you can track weekly progress.

  • Write an agenda of all the tasks you want accomplished.
  • Set deadlines that you both agree upon for accomplishing tasks.
  • If they need authority, give it to them and let the other employees know that he/she is responsible for the project and needs their cooperation.
  • If they need a budget to do a task, give them spending authority and all the other tools they may need to finish the job.

How do I get honest feedback from my employee(s) that they understand and can do what I am asking of them?
Weekly meetings, these meetings provide the time for your employee to work with you one-on-one to get questions answered and to receive positive feedback as to what is going well and what needs to be improved upon.

Delegation is about improving your work/life balance and developing employees.  Truly a win/win situation if done right.

Need more information on delegation, call Stephanie Wachman, Executive Coach at 720-232-3693 or send an email to

by Stephanie Wachman on 06/09/11

The other day I had a dr. appointment and parked my car in a garage. When I got back, my car would not start. I began to panic. I had a lot of work to do and deadlines that needed to be met. I actually planned my work schedule for that day to the minute. It took an hour but finally they came to jump start my car. When that didn’t work, I had to wait another 90 minutes to get a tow truck. All the while, I kept hearing the ticking of the clock because I knew that none of my work was getting done.

As I sat outside the parking garage, I took a deep breath and thought about how there really is no such thing as a work/life balance. In day to day living there are challenges that can offset the balance no matter how well you plan. In order to achieve an attempt at balance we have to create an action plan that focuses on the controllable but accepts the uncontrollable. Sitting under a big tree I thought of three ways to achieve controlled imbalance.

First, is what I refer to as low hanging fruit; these are the easy to control time management tools. We all carry cell phones, iPads, laptops and smart phones. For most people they are always with them, literally in hand. I now refer to them as “binkies” my son used to have a binky that I could never pry from him and the way that we manage our cell phones today are not unlike a child’s binky. It’s time to take our personal time back by turning off our phones every day for 1-2 hours. Here are some suggestions: during dinner time, turn off your phone and put it in a drawer.  When in the car, turn it off and stick it in your glove box. This will not only make you a safer driver but will free up your mind for creative thinking.

Secondly, establish at least five goals. You want to think long term and ask yourself where I see myself in three years, one year and one month. Plan your goals around what is most important to you in your life, such as: family, health, friends, career and finances.

Thirdly, create a weekly and monthly action plan to use as a tool to achieve your goals. Refer to this plan often to keep you on track.

It’s very easy to get caught up with all the uncontrollable things that can happy at any time, but when we take daily ownership of our time, have a clear long and short term vision for ourselves and identify the actions it takes to achieve our goals, then we have control. The next times you find yourself standing in front on a stalled car with a To-Do list as long as an eighteen-wheeler; smile because at least now you understand that you have controlled imbalance.

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