Do you remember simpler times when the internet was nonexistent and contacting friends meant picking up your corded telephone or driving to their house? It was a time when busy signals were the norm and letters and postcards flooded your mailbox.
In the last 10 years, communication has exploded in monumental proportions. Virtually anyone can get a hold of you whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, via text, voice message, blog comments, Google Talk, Skype, Gmail chat…can you see the trend?
It’s noisy out there and the world isn’t shutting up anytime soon. This cataclysmic noise can distract, disorganize and push us away from our business goals if we let them.
How can we get a handle on the excess noise and avoid distractions?
Turn off Notifications
My cell phone beeps every time I get a new email. I can tell myself a million times that the “ding” does not distract me, but every time I hear it, I am compelled to take one quick look. One minute won’t hurt, right?
That one minute multiplied times 100 is over 100 minutes you will never get back. In 100 minutes you can write a fantastic blog post, craft an email message, devise a new marketing strategy, converse with a lead, etc.
What about those Twitter notifications? My phone vibrates when I receive a reply. Have you ever been tempted to check those notifications?
If you don’t gain control of your notifications, you will succumb to their guise. I know the thought of hundreds of emails can overwhelm you, but if you designate a time to go through them, it will get done much faster.
Tip: Take a few hours of “off time” and unsubscribe from the email lists you do not need. Excess information can distract you from your goals. You will not miss out on any valuable information. Subscribe to 3-4 lists, top. You will feel much lighter and prevent the dreaded email inbox onslaught.
You can also try a service like AwayFind. AwayFind will notify you of important emails so you do not have to worry about checking your email all day and stifling your productivity.
Schedule Your Time
I know scheduling may sound elementary but anyone who runs an online business will recognize how difficult it is to avoid distractions. One way to stay focused is to schedule your daily tasks.
The night before, organize the daily tasks you want to complete on an hour by hour basis. Schedule time for breaks and lunch. Also, schedule what I call “miscellaneous time.” For me this time is devoted to checking emails, social media, following up on leads, or any other task I feel is necessary. I like this time slot because it gives me the freedom to do what I want without sticking to a definite task. For me, I need this space; for you, it may not be a necessity.
Just remember to create a schedule that works for you. You may need a time slot for just social media business activities. You may need to organize your breaks into fewer minutes, more times a day. The only way you will stick with your schedule is if you make it work within your personality and environment.
Tip: If you are the type of person who becomes bored after working on a project for more than 30 minutes, schedule your tasks in 30 minute increments so you can accomplish them.
When you can properly schedule your communication and avoid distractions, you will be using communication for its numerous benefits. Learn how to master your time before it masters you. Only then will you find success in reaching your goals.
What else can distract you from your business goals?