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Posted: September 23, 2013

Seven great ways to control distractions

You can be more productive

Stephanie Wachman

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!

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

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).

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

Silence 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.

Shut 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.

Recognize your time saboteurs, what are they and how can you address them.

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

Stephanie Wachman is an Executive Coach and owner of Life In Balance.  For more than 20 years, Stephanie has mentored and coached clients individually as well as in groups, delivering dynamic presentations, seminars and workshops on time management, work/life balance, communication, leadership skills and the benefits of team building.  Stephanie is focused on helping her clients become their very best within their organization and within themselves.  Stephanie can be reached at Stephanie@coachinglib.com, www.stephaniewachman.com or by phone 720-232-3693

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

We need to use the technology to help us, and not hinder us. There is a setting in Outlook that only gets new emails at specific times. I have mine set for every 90 minutes. Also, I use a timer set to 25 minutes to focus on 1 task. After 25 minutes, I get up, stretch, get a cup of coffee, and then start another focused session. By George Tyler on 2013 09 23
Good reminders! Every time I turn off Outlook I get so much more done. I think we're all wired to answer that little bing every time an email comes in. By Gale Dunlap on 2013 09 23
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