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Learn How to Get Time Back
By Ken Wisnefski, President, VendorSeek.com

Do you find it is easy to get distracted at the office? Learn of common distractions and how to avoid them to make the most of time.

I had the chicken pox a few weeks ago. I did not want to infect anyone in the office, so my boss let me work from home. Do you know what? I found it very easy to get more work done at home than in the office.

I did not understand why until I thought about all the distractions present on a normal basis at the office. I knew I could not work from home after I was cured, but I did enjoy the pace and the riddance of distraction.

I decided to catalogue the things that most deterred me from my work so I could properly address them during the business day.

Emails

Emails are constant and dense. I get in the habit of checking my email each time I get a prompt for a new message. I also get lost in the myriad of messages that accumulate each day.

I found I work better by ignoring the new messages and designating certain times per day to check my mail. I also use folders to categorize what needs immediate attention and what can wait until later in the week.

The phone

I do not have a secretary, so I usually answer the phone every time it rings. It is not always important, but it does always break my concentration from the task I was formerly performing.

I now screen all of my calls. If I see it is someone important on the caller id, I pick it up. Other than that, I let it go to voicemail and check it on a regular basis.

Random papers

I am always amazed at how many random papers accumulate on my desk throughout the day. I usually lose track of them and then have to scramble to find something when the appropriate time comes.

Now, I assess each paper as it comes into my hand. I use folders like I do for emails, and if the paper does not need my future attention, then I discard it.

Visitors

Clients and colleagues will sometimes pop-in my office unannounced. I usually get distracted like I do with the phone and find it difficult to refocus my attention after they leave.

Now, I kindly tell them I am busy and would love to talk with them on a scheduled basis. It may sound rude to read, but I do not come across as rude. Most people understand that I am just trying to do the best job possible with the time I have.

Ambience

I used to bring an extra sweater to the office or find myself taking my jacket off depending on the immediate climate. I really didn't understand what a distraction your immediate environment can become until I thought about it.

Now, I have no hesitation in adjusting the thermostat to my comfort level.

Noise

I got in the habit of leaving the radio on after listening to my morning talk show. I would find it difficult to write while singing and talking were being inserted into my head while I was trying to form my own thoughts.

I now focus my attention on my talk show and when it is over, I shut off the radio for the duration of the day. If coworkers are noisy outside, I shut the door to my office.

Thinking ahead

Before, each day would be like an adventure. I might have two meetings one day, a doctor's appointment the other, and have to pick my child up from school another. Yet, I would try to get the same amount of work done each day.

Now, I look at the big picture for the week. I try to schedule tasks for when I have ample time for them. It has helped me gain a lot more time back.


Kenneth C. Wisnefski is the president of VendorSeek.com, an online business to business marketplace that connects business consumers with pre-approved vendors in over 150 different categories. VendorSeek.com has over 5,000 vendors in their Approved Vendor Network and processes close to 10,000 requests per month from businesses of all sizes.

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