Do you find that you never have enough time to get the important stuff done? The problem may be that you’re always being distracted whenever you’re ready to tackle your big picture goals. In fact your professional life may have a lot in common with firefighters and babysitters.
Both professions perform important functions. But they are all about responding to interruptions.
A firefighter courageously waits until the alarm goes off to respond to a challenge. He or she can’t get too involved in a project because it might need to be dropped at a moment’s notice.
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A babysitter must focus on a child. From minute to minute, the child’s needs can change. The babysitter can take a moment to raid the refrigerator or talk to a friend on the phone but at any time, he or she may have to attend to the little one or ones.
If your job involves a lot of interruptions, is it any wonder that you can’t get enough of the important stuff done? The results that can help boost your career or get you a raise. What would you give to be 15-25% more productive? Here are a few suggestions to help you Clear the Path:
- Work when others aren’t around. This may involve coming in early or late, when there’s no one to bother you. The downside is that you’re now working more hours if you can’t further flex your schedule. An alternative would be to take an early or late lunch as a way to stagger your schedule. I’m not a big fan of taking work home.
- Don’t be afraid to say that you’re unavailable. By closing your door to the rest of the world, you’re honoring your goals. That’s not a bad thing. Perhaps you set open and closed office hours.
- Change the culture in your organization. Are people coming to you with problems because they don’t know what to do? That’s a sign of a lack of training. Or have you created an environment where people are afraid to make a decision without your blessing?
- Tell your team if they bring a problem to you, then they should also bring some potential solutions. This puts them in an active, problem solving role and you won’t have to spend so much time on every issue that comes up.
Trying to get important work done while being constantly distracted is like trying to blow up a balloon with a hole in it. Success is not about working harder but smarter.