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Top Tips for Dealing with Distractions in Business

How many of you go through your day-to-day, whether it be in the workplace, or as part of your business, dealing with a whole heap of distractions and just not having enough time to get everything done.

It’s a fairly common problem and I regularly hear people say “I just don’t have enough time. I’m too busy.” While you’re busy though, you’re missing out on opportunities. So let’s look at some of the symptoms that come from being continually distracted , as well as a number of steps that you can take to deal with that distraction and make some massive inroads into your time management.

Small Business owners are often under resourced, yet are continually being distracted by things that just don’t matter. Rarely do you have the systems and processes in place to deal with the workflow coming through your business. You feel like you’ve got massive pressure on our shoulders , lying awake at night worrying about what needs to be done the next day,

What you really need to consider when you’re starting to feel that way, is to look at your role and how you can change it. What are the things that you’re actually finding yourself doing that are taking you off task, as we’re always more efficient when we’re focussed.

The easiest way to approach defining your role is to firstly define what are the essential things that you need to be doing in your business to really make a difference. I would imagine the first time around you’ll start to rattle off things that you didn’t even know you were doing.  Then compare that role to what’s actually happening day-to-day. Compare the two lists and you start to see some of the things that you are doing, you shouldn’t be, and they can immediately go to a third column of the things that you need to get rid of.  You can now critically analyse what you believe your role should be in your business now. Take time to do this exercise and get a sheet of paper divided up into 3 columns, What’s should you be doing, What are you doing,  and then a third column where you’re going to move everything that you can get rid of. I can guarantee probably 50% of what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be. So it’s important to learn the art of delegation. Delegation is not getting rid of all of the crap, giving it to somebody else and hoping that they deal with it and you don’t have to ever again.  The whole idea of delegation is making sure that you recognise those things that should be done at a different level than you. You then resource your business in such a way that you have somebody there who can do that job. You might say, nobody can do this as well as me! It doesn’t matter! Fact is, if somebody can do 80% of it as well as what you do, then you can deal with the other 20%. Another really important thing with delegation is the need for really strong systems and procedures.

Once we move past delegation, we need to look at where these distractions come from. Distractions come in two forms internal and external. How many times during your day have you sat there and been distracted by something that just pops into your head, maybe what you’re going to have for dinner that night,  what you’re doing on the weekend or it could be something more intense like the problems that you’re having in your life. What you need to do with internal distractions when they pop into your head is simply note them down, get back on task and deal with them later at the appropriate time. This takes discipline but can improve your time management dramatically.

With external distractions, it’s a little more complicated. Everyone wants a piece of you. That’s where the Inform, Negotiate and Action model can work really well.

Inform: Tell the “distractor” that you are not available

Negotiate: Arrange a better time to deal with the distractor’s issue

Action: Do what you said you were going to do and turn up

One last tip for dealing with distraction is that once you are focused, stay the course.

You may have heard of the Pomodoro technique, which splits tasks down into 30 minute blocks, short sprints called Pomodoro’s which allow you to have hyper focus on a particular task. It’s quite easy to do once you get into the habit and you don’t need to do it the whole week long, however if you can tweak extra time in your week, by just applying some really simple principles, then it’s going to pay huge dividends for you into the future. Once you’re focused and you’ve dealt with the distraction, you need to ensure you spend the extra time saved wisely. Achieving efficiency normally brings some level of financial commitment, you either outsource or bring an internal resource into your business. There’s no point you saying, “I’m going to remove 20% of the stuff that I shouldn’t be doing and delegate to a new team member then go and play golf. When you have the ability to focus, get focused and stay focused.  Stay the course and continue to grow the business with the time that you have created.

To control the time we have available, we need to remove distractions, start doing the right things, create an environment for others to assist and then spend your new available time wisely.

I’d love to hear your best tips for dealing with distraction.

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