“The average American worker has fifty
interruptions a day, of which
seventy percent have nothing to do with work.”
— W. Edwards Deming
I’ve been paying attention to my work day the last few weeks, trying to look at it from a global perspective to see why I am not getting all the things done that I’ve scheduled and thought I had time to achieve. It has become so clear to me that it is interruptions that sneak into my schedule and though they weren’t invited (technically, anyway), they have a way of seeming to be either more attractive to pay attention to or they seem like an emergency. Of course, they are very rarely emergencies, they just seem that way.
It’s very much like feeling the need to answer the phone just because it is ringing, or because we’re afraid we might miss something. I think that the fact that the phone rings audibly commands attention and some ringtones even expand on that to the point of irritation.
Sometimes it even seems like life can be one non-stop series of interruptions. You want to do this and other people want you to do something else. I’ve been working out of my home for fifteen years now, and when my wife is home and I’m in the home office, I can guarantee all kinds of interruptions. I’ve learned to be flexible with that, and realize I won’t get as much done on those days, but I get plenty of interruptions when she is not there. The problem is that, like the phone, I allow them to get my attention when I could just as easily ignore them or postpone them.
Here’s another aspect of this from Andre Maurois, who says, “the effectiveness of work increases according to geometric progression if there are no interruptions.” This is one reason why I get so much more done early in the morning or late in the evening. No one is calling and I don’t receive hardly any email.
I have found that when I can concentrate and focus, I can get an amazing amount of work done and get it done efficiently. Since I’m building a business, I need to find more time to concentrate and focus and control how interruptions eat up my day. Jack Canfield said it so well: “To be successful in achieving your goals and creating your desired lifestyle, you will have to get good at saying no to all of the people and distractions that would otherwise devour you. Successful people know how to say no without feeling guilty.”
I know that it is easier for me in my environment than it is when you’re working for others in an office, shop or building. Still, if there is work to be done, the best way to get it done well is to be able to concentrate on tasks until completed or until sufficient progress has been made toward that goal.
Time Flies When I’m Focused!
Spread Some Joy Today–Joy is in doing what you love to do!