Don’t let distraction sabotage your business. You can ‘work’ less and still accomplish more…

Oh, you know it’s going to be a difficult day when you drop toothpaste down your clean top, your office printer decides to take 43 minutes to spit out two very important documents that you needed 42 minutes ago, and you can’t find the end of the sellotape for love nor money.

This was me yesterday!

And this slow and frustrating start actually threw me off for the rest of the day – can you believe it!

The problem was that whilst I was waiting round for the printer to do its thing – repeatedly connecting and disconnecting the Wi-Fi, switching it off and on and generally trying to slap it into working – I got distracted by other stuff.

And that was simply because only an hour into the working day, nothing was going as planned!

I got my phone out, scrolled through Facebook, perused Twitter, hopped on over to eBay and admired my ‘Watched Items’, played with the dog, made a coffee, read the online news, stared out of the window for a bit, made a mental note to clean the barbeque in case the bank holiday weekend weather is as warm as is predicted and then eventually, finally, around 90 minutes later, I sat back down at my laptop.

What a waste of a morning!

But it proves just how easy it is to get pulled off track by little things or outside influences when things don’t go to plan, when you should be concentrating on getting over the hiccup and getting back to your planned day.

This happens in your everyday personal life all the time as I’m sure you are aware. We’ve all gone into the sitting room with the intention of dusting the shelves and then inexplicably found ourselves perched on the edge of the sofa because we’ve been drawn in by something showing on TV!

But this is also extremely common in business – especially if you work for yourself. It’s so simple for your motivation and enthusiasm for one thing to get transferred to another area – and it can happen very quickly!

Be disciplined when it comes to your online business

If you know that you need to research a new product for your inventory, set a date to do so and stick to it. Don’t get side-tracked as soon as you log on to the internet.

For example, if you are looking at a supplier’s website and you are researching prices for bath towels and you notice that they also stock kitchen equipment and you happen to need a new kettle, don’t start looking at the kettles

Here’s another example. If you have decided to sit down and write a newsletter or blog post, or create a new product description – do just that. Don’t stop every time you hear the ‘ding’ of an email into your inbox. It’s that simple. Just do what you are supposed to be doing and leave it at that.

You may not be a ‘lists’ type of person, but being disciplined and actually diarising everything you need to do, setting specific days and times to do those things and then working through the daily list is a very efficient and effective way of managing your time and avoiding distractions.

Don’t be confused between discipline and productivity!

If you sit down at your desk for 8 hours a day, with your list of jobs you have tasked yourself with, at the end of the day, you will probably leave with the belief that you have worked extremely hard and have been hugely productive.

Well, congratulations on those 8 hours at your desk – that’s very disciplined – and you may have been busy but what did you actually get done? Were the diarised tasks accomplished?

Potentially not because being productive and being ‘busy’ are very different! Being ‘busy’ is not a sign of hard work or even success and I have experienced this myself!

Some days I’ll think I have achieved great things because I’ve been sat at my laptop for hours, but actually probably half of those hours were spent looking at emails, scrutinising social media, clicking on links that caught my attention, moving things around my desktop and other little distractions that I didn’t even notice at the time meaning my actual productivity was minimal!

Distraction can also happen when you have important tasks to do that just aren’t very appealing at that moment. If you’re not in the mood to research products, or write a blog post or create a product description or if the task isn’t something that you excel at or enjoy particularly then you will be distracted more easily as you subconsciously put off what you should be doing

So, here’s a tip.

Prioritize your daily tasks in order of importance and difficulty putting the most important and difficult at the top of the list – the one that you’re dreading the most then tackle it early on in the day when you are alert, motivated and energised.

Keep your eyes on the prize and I guarantee you will accomplish more with less wasted time due to distraction.

Finally…a quick note about your privacy

I’ll just like to let you know about some legal changes regarding your data and privacy.

On the 25th May 2018, any business that holds your personal data needs to provide you with legal information about what we do with your data in the future.

To do that, my publisher has put together a new privacy notice that clearly sets out how they collect and process your personal data, for what purposes they use your data, the legal grounds of processing your data, how they keep your data secure and your rights in relation to such data.

You can read it here

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Have a great bank holiday weekend!