“How Do I Prevent Distractions And Interruptions?” – Wake Up Productive by Eben Pagan

How do I prevent distractions and interruptions? Hi, I’m Eben Pagan, creator of the Wake Up Productive time management and productivity training program. If you’d like to watch my 47-minute video on how to manage yourself and your time and become dramatically more productive, just go to WakeUpProductive.com, and enter your name and email address. You can watch this video worth $100.00 for free.

So let’s talk about preventing distractions and interruptions. As you probably know, distraction and interruption are the ultimate time stealers. If you get interrupted or distracted, it takes 10 or 20 minutes from when you end the distraction or interruption to just come back and get back to where you were. So if you get distracted or interrupted every 10 or 20 minutes, you don’t get anything done at all. Who’s had that experience in their lives?

I’ve discovered that there are three big distracters and interrupters in the modern work environment, especially if you work from home, especially if you work around computers, especially if you’re using the internet while you’re working. The big three distracters and interrupters are cell phones and text messages, instant messenger and Skype and e-mail. So let’s talk about the three of them.

Cell phones and text messages. When you have your cell phone and your text message just rolling, what does that say to the world? It says, “Distract and interrupt me any time you want.” It’s especially bad if you actually answer your cell phone or respond to text messages very quickly. What I do is I take my cell phone, and I either turn it off or I put it somewhere where I can’t hear it. I never have the ringer on my cell phone turned on because I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to program people that they can call me and reach me, that they can send me a text, and I’ll get back to them immediately. Why? Because then, they’ll start expecting it, and I will have to deal with their distractions and interruptions all day. So turn off the cell phone. Put it on vibrate. Put it outside of your range, so you can’t hear it. It’s not around you. Don’t keep it clipped to your body. Then, you can work and focus chunks of uninterrupted time.

The online version of this is instant messenger and Skype. Anything where you’ve got a status that you can leave on, and people can ping you or contact you and say, “Hey, can I talk to you right now?” The answer here is only turn on your availability a couple of times a day. Set aside blocks of time, maybe from 11:00 to 12:00 and then from 4:00 to 5:00 where you set your status as on, and you’re available.

A nice little trick with voicemail you can do is you can set up your voicemail so that when people call you, it says, “Hi, I can’t take your call right now. I return calls typically between 11:00 and 12:00 and between 4:00 and 5:00. I’m also available by e-mail and instant messenger during those times. If you want to reach me, it’s urgent, try me during one of those times or just leave me a message here, and I’ll get back to you during one of those times,” which is a way to program people not to just interrupt you and expect you’re going to answer the phone. It kind of programs them to expect to wait a few hours because there’s really nothing in the modern environment that can’t wait at least a few hours.

Now, the big one, the big problem is e-mail. E-mail is probably the biggest consumer of our time and our attention that exists in the modern work environment. The trouble with e-mail isn’t just that there’s a lot of it. The trouble is we get addicted to checking it. Even worse than that, we get the little alerts so that e-mails pop up, and we see them as they’re coming in. They go, “Ding,” and then it distracts it. Then, we go click on it, and then it pops up the e-mail, and it makes it so easy.

So to prevent distraction and interruption with e-mail, I recommend that you do a couple of things. First of all, don’t have your e-mail browser on – don’t have your e-mail window open – unless you’re specifically dedicating time to checking and returning e-mail. Especially turn off the pings and the beeps and the pop ups because that stuff is just a constant racket of distraction and interruption. If you’re like me, you get dozens – hundreds of e-mails every day. If you just do the math, if you leave on the pop up or the ding or the beep or the thing that pings you, you’re going to be distracted every few minutes all day, and it will literally destroy your productivity.

Even better, borrow from the technique that I gave you a little earlier, and answer e-mails and return calls during specific times during the day. I call this scheduling your interruptions. Schedule time where you’re going to be doing a lot of this back and forth and where you’ll make yourself available in case people need to kind of reach you in a hurry.

If you start focusing on those big three distracters and interrupters, which is the cell phone, the instant messenger and the e-mail, and the variations of those, you’ll get yourself a long way down the field to eliminating distraction and interruption. Ultimately, what you want to do is you want to turn all that stuff off and as Peter Drucker recommends, work in focus blocks of uninterrupted time of minimum 90 minutes. Any of us can do that. I like to get little kitchen timers or little digital timers for $5.00 or $10.00. You can get them on amazon.com. Type in there an hour or 90 minutes, and just turn everything off, and just focus on getting one thing done. That’s really the ultimate way to prevent distraction and interruption.

Finally, if you’d like to learn how to really master time management and productivity, learn how to keep yourself focused, learn how to eliminate procrastination for good and learn how to create positive habits and eliminate negative ones, just go to WakeUpProductive.com right now to watch my 47 minute video on how to manage yourself and your time and how to make yourself dramatically more productive.

The video is worth $100.00, but you can watch it for free by just visiting WakeUpProductive.com, entering your name and e-mail address and opting in. Of course, I’ll also send you many more valuable free video trainings, and I’ll also send you private invitations to listen to me interviewing some of the top experts in the world on business, marketing, success and productivity all for free. Just go to WakeUpProductive.com, enter your name and e-mail address to get it all right now.


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