So yesterday, I had a doctor appointment, and as I was conversing with my doctor, we landed on the topic of prioritizing work tasks (don’t ask…it was a long conversation spanning several different topics), and she says to me “Ernie, you have to limit your distractions.” Limit my distractions?? Obviously, my doctor has never worked in retail…that’s all there is…all day long. Whether it’s employees, customers, my boss, someone is always interrupting my workflow.
I’ve always thrived on a good challenge, and needless to say my days are full of them (both personally and professionally), but my doctors words kept resonating in my mind for the rest of the day, and I got to thinking about ways to really improve my workflow. Here’s what I’ve come up with, and I know this sounds really basic, but just how many of us truly put these into practice when organizing our tasks or projects?
First, SCHEDULE some uninterrupted time for yourself. Look at your schedule for the work week and see what time is best where you can get some quality uninterrupted time that you can dedicate solely to the purpose of whatever pressing task you have. Once you’ve picked a time – stick to it!
Second, PRIORITIZE your work. Once you’ve scheduled some “I’m not here” time, know what tasks or projects you want or need to tackle first. Create a game plan, and make sure that you allot a sufficient amount of time to put some quality work in.
Lastly, LIMIT ACCESS TO YOURSELF. Whether that means telling your secretary to hold your calls (for those of you who one), for those of us who don’t have a secretary, turn off your cell phone, I know, I know…someone of you are probably saying: BLASPHEMY! But seriously, you have a voicemail box – use it. While you’re at it, go ahead and close your Outlook so you aren’t tempted to respond immediately to any incoming e-mail messages (let’s not forget about any pesky social media sites i.e Facebook, Twitter, etc). For those of you with a door on your office, go ahead and close it. You’d be surprised just how productive you can become when you decrease your connectivity to the rest of the world.
These are just some ideas to get you started. If you have some best practices you’d like to share go ahead and leave them in the comments section!