As the owner of your company, and leader of your team, the overall success or failure of the business is on you. It's no surprise that every day you are pulled in a thousand different directions, and to make it even worse, most of them have little to do with what your business actually produces. So how do you get on top of this mountain of distraction and make sure your business is forging ahead?
LONG DAYS, LITTLE PROGRESS
You start working before any of your team is even awake. At around 8:00 a.m., the world gets moving along with you and that's when the distractions begin. Before you know it, you've wrapped up a 15 hour day and don't feel like you really accomplished much.
START WITH A PLAN
Every day needs a plan. My day starts the night before. I'll spend about 30 minutes setting up my tasks for the next day, looking at my calendar to think through meetings, and doing anything else I need to prep for the next day. Once this plan is in place I can rest better because I don't have to worry about it.
CONTROL YOUR CALENDAR
On top of the never ending task list, I've had to learn to take control of my calendar. If I don't segment my day, thousands of little things will creep in and I don't accomplish the big things I really need to. I've learned that I'm more productive in the mornings, so I've set aside mornings for planning with my team and design work. The afternoons are reserved for meetings and communication with clients. I also regularly set up days when I'm not available at all. These focus days allow me to really dig in and get caught up.
FLUSH THE PHONE
Well, not the entire phone. Just the notifications. Two months ago I turned off all notifications on my phone. The only sound it makes now is ringing when a call comes in. No more e-mail chimes, Twitter pings, or text noises. At the end of the day, it's all noise, and it will steal entire hours of your precious time.
Before, I would segment off time to work on billing, but I'd look up an hour later and realize I had only sent one invoice because every time I turned around something was popping up on my phone begging for my attention. No more.
Now I try to respond to e-mail and messages four times a day. Other than that, I leave my e-mail completely off to allow me to focus.
THE WORLD TURNS WITHOUT YOU
I've learned to be much more productive without notifications, and with proper planning. And I've learned the world doesn't need my attention RIGHT NOW! Ninety-nine percent of the e-mails, messages, or attention killers you get can wait. The focus you regain by doing this might just be the difference you need to grow yourself and your team.
THERE IS NO PERFECT DAY
Part of putting a plan in place, though, is flexibility. If you make a plan and it begins to change, or you don't follow it perfectly, you haven't failed. For all you overachievers out there, I get it, but there are no medals awarded for sticking perfectly to the plan which means you haven't lost one when it needs to change.
If you can kill the distractions, you're well on your way to a bright future.
Thank you for reading. If you find this helpful, please pass it on.