April 4, 2013

A Simple Time Management Hack You Can Implement Right Now

We talk a lot about time management in this crazy world of ours. “There is a never enough time to get done what we want to get done”. Our calendars are stacked with appointments from 6am until 6pm, and sometimes they are double stacked. If your day goes as planned, you will be only mildly behind compared to where you started the day – way behind.

One of the things that I’ve learned about my own time management is that I really don’t have a time management problem. I have no problem planning out my days and keep things single stacked (one appointment at a time). I’ve also been getting better at leaving large gaps between appointments. In the past I’ve been guilty of planning and executing six appointments in a single day. This kind of day requires perfect execution. Time is so tight that red stoplights will cause you stress.

After I solved my time management issues, I had to work on my Attention Management issues. (I’ll go into more detail about how to manage this in the book and in future blog posts). But one of the major factors that was killing my attention management was my mobile phone. When it rings it requires attention. It might be a client, prospect, vendor, etc. But when your cell phone is screaming for you to answer it, you do. So that is when I developed a new personal attention management hack:

Ignore your ringing cell phone.

There are very few emergencies in the world. Most of us have jobs that are not life-and-death related. We have voicemail for a reason, and we should be using it every day. For most people it is hard to focus on a single task at a time (writing this blog post, for example). But when we do get rolling on a task, the productivity starts to improve fast (Right now I have no idea where my cell phone is. And the words are flowing). If you are a creative person, the more time you spend in that creative mode the more creative you become. If you are a writer, then you know it is hard to start putting pen to paper. But once you do, you sometimes have a problem writing too much. When you answer a ringing cell phone you are likely going to kill any momentum you had.

So, start ignoring your cell phone (with very few exceptions). Put it on silent and turn off the vibrate mode.

 If you want to skyrocket your productivity start ignoring your cell phone.

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