📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Distractions Killing Your Flow? Try This Method. Here is a way to prevent an interruption from stopping you dead in your tracks.

By Jason Womack

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Shutterstock

Are distractions getting in your way? Have you noticed that many times when you are focusing on your work and are approaching that momentum where things start to flow easily, you get interrupted?

Most entrepreneurs have created productivity habits that work for them, yet upon closer inspection, they realize that when they are trying to get something done, tasks often take more time than had been originally budgeted. This is caused by distractions: A co-worker who needs something from them, a phone call from a potential client, a team member with questions about a project.

Related: What the NFL Taught Me About Being a Motivated Entrepreneur

Every time you are interrupted or distracted, the energy you were building from moving your project forward is halted, and you need to start over. Too many times, you need to gather new strength to pick up where you left off, and you may waste valuable minutes trying to figure out exactly where that was.

Science continues to prove what our intuition knows: Interruptions do impact productivity. However, there may be a positive or negative impact to your productivity. According to University of California, Irvine researcher Dr. Gloria Mark, there may be a difference between the different kinds of distractions or interruptions. Interruptions that add to the task at hand make us more productive. Alternatively, interruptions on topics different from what we're working on force us to change our work rhythms, strategies and even mental states.

So what can we do about it? Identify one piece of work that deserves about 45 minutes of focused attention. Then go to a place where you can be alone. It can be a different office or conference room or even the nearby coffee shop. By getting away from your desk, you will not be available for phone calls or to check your emails.

Related: 3 Steps to Stop Being Busy and Start Being Productive

If you take your laptop with you, remember that this is time to focus on work, so avoid doing anything unrelated to this specific task.

Can't leave your desk? You can still have a "meeting with yourself" by simply use a digital timer to hold you accountable to a 45-minute work session. (My current favorite countdown timer is www.e.ggtimer.com.)

Before starting a work session, think of the people that might interrupt you -- it may be a team member, a client or even a manager -- and interrupt them first. You can use the time before your focus period to get in contact with them and anticipate anything they may need from you. You should also mention that you will be unavailable during the next 45 minutes because you will focus on a specific piece of work that needs to get done.

They will understand and over time, they will respect this focus time and avoid interrupting you.

This will not only save you time every day, but it can also make your team more efficient and independent. Go ahead and try it for five days.

Related: How to Train Your Brain to Stay Focused

Jason Womack

Cofounder, www.GetMomentum.com

Jason W. Womack is the CEO of The Womack Company, an international training firm that helps busy professionals be more productive through coaching and consulting. He is co-founder of the Get Momentum Leadership Academy, author of Your Best Just Got Better (Wiley, 2012) and co-author with his wife, Jodi Womack, of Get Momentum: How To Start When You’re Stuck (Wiley, 2016). Since 2000 he has coached leaders across industries and trained them in the art of increasing their workplace productivity and achieving personal happiness.

 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Starting a Business

Most People Have No Business Starting a Business. Here's What to Consider Before You Become an Entrepreneur

You need to find the right business opportunity at the right time and take the right steps to beat the odds.

Leadership

AI vs. Humanity — Why Humans Will Always Win in Content Creation

With the proliferation and integration of AI across organizations and business units, PR and marketing professionals may be tempted to lean into this new technology more than recommended.

Growing a Business

Who You Hire Matters — Here's How to Form a Team That's Built to Last

Among the many challenges related to managing a small business, hiring a quality team of employees is one of the most important. Check out this list of tips and best practices to find the best people for your business.

Leadership

This Leadership Technique is the Secret to Optimal Team Performance

Through my experience in business, I've found one particular leadership technique that works better than others.

Management

7 Ways You Can Use AI to 10x Your Leadership Skills

While technology can boost individual efficiency and effectiveness, it's essential to balance their use with human intuition and creativity to avoid losing personal connection and to optimize workplace satisfaction.

Business News

Passengers Are Now Entitled to a Full Cash Refund for Canceled Flights, 'Significant' Delays

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced new rules for commercial passengers on Wednesday.