I am pleased to bring you another of Scott Hallman's Tuesday Profit Tips™ and this time Scott talks about improving your personal productivity by controlling what Scott calls the Entrepreneurial Virus but which I think of as the interruption virus. It shows that modern technology designed to improve our personal productivity may be destroying our powers of creativity.
Over to Scott and listen to him introduce this topic (open in a new tab and press play)
The "Productivity Enhancers"
That May Be Killing Your Business
Hi, this is Scott Hallman and welcome to this week's Tuesday Profit Tip™ that is focused on the "Manage" your business section of what we teach.
Technology has provided us with some incredible ways to increase productivity. But is it possible to get too much of a good thing? Well, when it comes to our personal availability - anywhere, anytime, in an instant, the answer is absolutely yes.
Now don't get me wrong, 24/7 access can be a great thing, but it needs to be controlled and balanced to avoid contracting a 'Entrepreneurial Productivity Killer Virus' that will weaken your ability to maximize your business potential.
If you are like many of our clients, you may have tremendous difficulty staying focused and therefore struggle with getting important tasks completed - even ones that can have a measurable improvement on your profits, lifestyle and competitiveness of your business. You may also have a habit of putting off planning "until you have time".
If that describes you, even a little, then I think you will get a ton of value out of what I am going the share with you here.
It took a week in the extreme wilderness to get me to realize the problem
Let me continue with the story.
As we re-entered the US, via car, I instantly began getting calls, texts, emails - over 200 of them, and was back in the fast, constant interruption state of mind….you know, that state where it is almost impossible to stay focused on anything and where you feel this ludicrous need to answer every email, call and text immediately.
What occurred to me is that one of the major problems with Personal Productivity is these interruptions that are part of our 24/7 communication world …regardless of whether we are at dinner with your family, at a ball game, driving, sleeping, or working on an important project. We simply have little uninterrupted time these days and this can destroy our ability to stay focused and get things done.
Think about a time that you wrote a plan or thought through a complex problem or developed sales copy or a script, or designed a compensation plan, or any other activity that requires concentration. Now, how long did it take you to get in the "creative zone" - fifteen minutes, thirty minutes or even an hour? And if you were interrupted, how long did it take you to get back in the "creative zone"? Well, if you are like me, a one hour task can take four to five times longer with just a few interruptions.
Amazingly, as I am writing these very words my wife just came in and massively interrupted me with a non-urgent issue (my view anyway). And it totally interrupted my "creative zone".
Where was I, oh yes…
It took the past to understand what we need in the future
When I built my first national company, I developed 90% of it while driving in the car, BEFORE there were affordable cell phones. I was in the car several hours a day and it was during that "quiet" time that I did my creative thinking and planning. I would leave a prospect's or client's office and instantly start creating solutions to the problems or improvement to our service.
My friend, Jay Abraham, once told me that when he writes copy he often puts it aside and does something relaxing until the inspiration hits and his creative juices go nuts…sometimes this takes him a week or more.
Give Yourself the Gift of Being Disconnected
So let me ask you a question. Do you give yourself permission to turn off the phones, email and interruptions to focus on important projects?
If not, my challenge to you is to carve out dedicated times each week where you allow yourself the chance to get into the"Creative Zone" by getting totally disconnected and working on important tasks and projects.
A couple important keys to doing this effectively:
- Go somewhere where any signs of work and electronic communication gadgets are no where around. I have several areas I work in depending on what I am doing. My creative place is by my pool and pond.
- Work on only ONE project or key task at a time.
- Enjoy the feeling of creativity. It is an energy like no other and the rewards of getting things done are awesome.
Go for it and ProfitNOW™.
To your Success,
Small Business Growth Club (affiliate link)
(Everything you need to Build-Grow-Manage-Profit from your business)
Effective use of your time lies at the very centre of any great achievement and while it is easy for me and other business coaches to talk about time blocking, I do realise just how difficult it can be to achieve. Not answering your telephone or ignoring your emails flouts the desire to be very responsive to customers and clients.
But checking your email for potential customer contacts opens you up to all those people who are competing for your time, attention and money.
Even the obvious spam takes up valuable seconds and I even feel obliged to check my spam filters from time to time to make sure that an important message hasn't been routed in there by accident.
Can you find a compromise?
Must you always be at the beck and call of anyone who wants you?
I don't think so.
You can train yourself to be disciplined and even share your system with your clients. Suppose you scheduled in three times per day to check your emails and respond to questions and you stuck to it.
By being ultra responsive, you can be training people to abuse your time. If you respond quickly, they don't need to think ahead and plan what they need so they won't.
It is a difficult issue but you owe it to yourself to decide your priorities and then have the self discipline to live by your rules.
I know I urge you to focused on your customers and what they need and want but remember, responding to queries from a customer or prospect is likely to be interfering with the quality or timeliness of work you are doing for another customer. The Small Business Growth Club (affiliate link) is a terrific resource packed with great content.