Working from a home office has the distractions for which you feel personally responsible: Picking-up your kids after school and getting them to their various activities, friends asking for favors because you are at home (you’re not really working), or doing that last load of laundry. Add to that the “normal” distractions of the home office: Reading blogs and online magazines related to your field and following threads into infinity or answering emails immediately instead of at set times throughout the day.
- Do distractions get in the way of getting your work done? (“Responsible” or work-related distractions are more insidious than getting lost in Facebook during work hours.)
- Do distractions become a convenient method of procrastinating on the hard tasks and projects of your business? Read more about 3 causes and 3 solutions to procrastination
Reading a guest blog by Bill Ringle, CEO Coach and business growth strategist, in Alan Weiss’ newsletter, I realized that a lack of daily priorities was a set-up for procrastination and allowing distractions to consume my time and energy. It is a self-sustaining round-robin of frustration:
Lack of priorities>>> waste time on minor tasks or distractions >>> failure to grow business
Ringle recommends setting business-building goals for each day. This will minimize the temptation of distractions, or at least you will do them after your priority tasks are done. (Wouldn’t you rather drive your friend to the airport than write that proposal or make those sales calls?)
Ringle’s three tips are:
- “Get crystal clear on what your most important priority is for today.” Take a few minutes to look at your to-do list for today. If you haven’t done it already, identify the most important task that will grow your business. Highlight, underline or star that item. Then do it. Don’t think about it – just do it. When you are finished with that task, cross it off your list with a big satisfying check mark. Read why doing your hardest task first takes advantage of your brain potential.
- “Allocate more than enough time to make progress.” I love this one. How often do you put unnecessary pressure on yourself by not allowing enough time to do the project? Not only do you feel stressed, but if you don’t get done within that unrealistic timeframe, you feel frustrated, defeated, incompetent. Ringler suggests doubling the allotted time you think you need for the job. Not every project can get done in one sitting, but you can make significant progress.
- “Plan to succeed by making sure you have all the resources you need to stay focused.” Set-up your desk and your office with everything you will need, from a water bottle to reference materials. I would add that you clear your desk of papers and other distractions not related to the project at hand. This will give you room to work and a workspace that supports focus and productivity.
Bill Ringle says the choice is yours: Set business-building priorities for yourself every workday. And then do them. This is the way businesses succeed. To read the full Bill Ringle article click here.
Bill Ringle’s guest blog was posted on Alan’s Blog by Alan Weiss of Summit Consultants. All material on Alan’s Blog is copyrighted. The link and quotes are used here with the kind permission of Alan Weiss.
Learn more about how to set up your home office (and corporate office) for improved focus and productivity with The Smarter Home Office: 8 Simple Steps to Increase Income, Inspiration and Comfort