We recently took our family to Hawaii for an early Christmas. We swam with sharks, kissed dolphins, played at the beach, and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with our children and grandchildren. A few days into our vacation, we started getting requests for photos from friends and family members. These soon turned to complaints, as time went on and no pictures were being posted. When asked why I wasn’t posting photos on social media, my response was, “I’m too busy being in the moment to take or post pictures.”
They were not amused.
How often are we asked to do things that add no value to our lives or work? We are bombarded by emails and chats and meaningless requests that cause distractions and interruptions from things that are really important.
One of the Human Performance Traps that we teach is Distractions/Interruptions. Are you aware that every time you are interrupted it takes your brain 23 minutes to get back into the groove? Did you know that on an average day, you will be interrupted 56 times and spend 2 full hours recovering from those interruptions? That’s 25% of a typical workday!
It’s time to start protecting yourself from distractions and interruptions. How? This may sound crazy, but think about getting a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign for your office door. Change your email settings so that new emails are only delivered when it is convenient for you. Determine what’s more important before you answer that phone call.
And, before you allow yourself to get distracted, ask yourself the following questions:
How important will this be in a week, a month, a year or five years?
- What will the impact be if I answer this e-mail or take this call?
- How long will it take?
- How long will it take me to get back to what I was doing before?
Set your boundaries. Take care of important tasks first. And most importantly, take care of yourself!