Minimizing and Eliminating Text Interruptions
Understand this: Communications technology has evolved far faster than we can adapt to in a civil manner. Barbaric behavior and expectation of instant gratification are the result. Few people stop to consider a code of conduct for texting/interrupting. So, out of respect for your own work and sanity, you must respond appropriately in a way that does not get you lost, disrupted and addicted to the distraction cycle. You must unapologetically let people know that instant expectations are unrealistic and reverse the energy and stress. These methods will reveal that texting is no longer a short cut or form of direct access and response whenever they want it with no regard for your work or schedule.
Establish the Cone of Silence. Estimate how much uninterrupted time you need and put your phone on silent in a drawer.
Put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode w/auto responder message.
Allow yourself to finish the task you’re working on. Don’t drop everything to respond right away. Establish a habit of noting where you left off, finishing what you’re doing and then following up. If you note where you were at, you won’t waste as much time returning to that task or project.
Be honest and don’t over commit. Let people know you’re busy, when you can really focus on the task they sent you. Then deliver on your promise. Stop making promise estimates that you rarely meet. You’ll build a negative reputation.
Establish uninterruptable moments. These are rules for yourself that trigger your texting judo mode. Keep an index card to list people and tasks to follow up with.
Batch/block time for your follow ups. Designate your follow up time. This will minimize interruptions and help you keep your word and respond on time.
Don’t be a slave to your phone and text interruptions. Just because you can see your phone doesn’t mean you should be expected to stare at it all day.
If you are indeed in a meeting or in an uninterruptable moment:
Immediately respond with: “ in a meeting” / “driving” / “with a client”
Do not use full sentences and make the response seem like an auto response (see do not disturb mode). This buys you respectable time to finish your work and follow up appropriately and attentively.
Along with the do not disturb mode for the iphone, iOS users can also download an app called Canned and respond quickly with canned messages. Android users can use Tasker, OnX, or settings within their phone (flip it over screen face down for do not disturb), etc.
You can add: “Let me get back to you” / “via email” / “before/after/lunch/my next meeting at 2/when I get to my desk.”
Block response time. Give yourself appropriate time by hovering around certain time blocks like your designated response hours.
Divert the texter to email. I find that there is a unconscious understanding that email is associated with more effort and work and therefore deserves more time. This reduces the expectation and stress level.
Get a text assistant/gatekeeper. When you have processes/mechanisms in place people are more understanding of delays. For example, if you’re a regular 9-5er with a “real” job, people will understand that your busy and things are out of your control. If you’re the boss or a freelancer, they will somehow expect you to find/make the time to their preference (now). By introducing a mechanism/gatekeeper/assistant, you can restore a bit of order and peace to the land.
Frantic, expectant texters can meet your texting assistant.
You can introduce them via an email, repeated in your email signature or a simple text message to the offending texters. “To increase my response time and productivity, my assistant will address all incoming text messages.”
If it’s a new texting contact: “This is Assistant/Fake Assistant Name, I handle his/her texts. Let me see if I can take care of that for you.”
You can have your real assistant do this for you by using a Google voice account rather than your direct phone number.
You can fake this by editing your text signature to “responded via remote assistant.” Or divert blame on an application by saying “responded to via TimeRescue app “ and you may add “available in the app store”
Even if your methods are exposed, they’ll understand you’re trying to save time and be more productive. Stop asking for permission to do this. You’ll never get it. The worst case scenario, you’ll have to ask for forgiveness.
In order to get somewhere, you have to be somewhere first. Instead of obsessing over getting somewhere fast, focus on being somewhere completely. Being who you are right where you are will allow you to practice more authentically, generate more opportunities, and increase your performance and enjoyment, personally and professionally. In essence, in order to reap all the benefits that life in the moment has to offer, you must be present to win.
If you’re more mentally aware of your circumstances, you can be more honest about your actual experience and avoid the self-deceptions and false guarantees. If you’re intelligently available to clients, customers and demands of your job, you will perform better than those that don’t. If you develop a trust for your natural talents, you’ll be able to work candidly and play to your strengths. The adaptive mindset, authentic present, both require an acute attention and awareness to the here and the now.
The Challenge: No time for the Now. Only Time for the Future.
The challenges to being present revolve around the common and frantic obsession with the future. Will I get that promotion? Will it launch successfully? What will happen next? Will my deal go through? These are but a few questions and worrying habits of the future that create anxiety and stress and hinder performance in the now. With our attention on the future neglect the opportunities of our work now.
Stress Anxiety from Unrealistic Expectations
While stuck on the future, we set unrealistic expectations by ignoring or not defining the present. We set goals for ourselves while completely ignoring our present circumstances. By ignoring or not defining the starting point, it becomes quite easy to set unrealistic demands on our workloads and personal lives. If your goal is to run a marathon but you’ve never ran a 5k, your making failure far more likely than success. If your goal is to make a million when you’re having trouble making a hundred, you’re likely creating trouble. These examples may sound obvious but the addiction to speed and consumption confuse the senses.
Stop Counting and Start Measuring- Quality Control
We often confuse the quantifiable measurements of speed and consumption with the qualitative net gain,and holistic virtue of our efforts. For example, the number of books you’ve read may be impressive, but the number of books you remember, or better still the number of books that changed your life and business may appear less impressive but are far more meaningful to your bottom line. This is a problem of linear thinking; when focused on measuring only one outcome (volume or quantity) and not the many varying results (qaulities and virtues) or net effect. Though they may be harder to define, the qualitative effects may be more important to measure.
Linear Check-List Mentality of Strict Accounting
Our self-sabotaging doesn’t stop there. Consider the check-list mentality. Do you have a business plan? Uh-huh. a website? Yes. A business card? A website? Duh. The most neglected aspects of our practice are often areas where we apply a checklist (yes/no) mentality. This attitude of binary strict accounting when it comes to measuring progress and achievement hinders the quality of our work and creates more anxiety. Without acknowledging the qualitative values that we wish to demonstrate in our work, frustration builds when we can’t check off our progress. This ends up causing us to ignore our actual forward momentum, and tricks us into believing that despite our efforts we got nothing done.
So how do you escape all the entanglements and anxiety of future obsession? How do you become present to win?
The solution: Be Somewhere First.
Be who you are right where you are. Know yourself. Choose to cultivate an authentic practice. Know who and what you’re not (e.g. you are not a 5th degree black belt productivity guru, or Google or Steve Jobs). Let go of the urge to compare yourself to the myths and legend of your time and industry. Be comfortable with what you’ve got and build something with it.
Increase your opportunities right now by deciding to be attentively aware right now. In order to act upon these new opportunities, you’ll need an adaptive mindset. Making use of an adaptive mindset requires an understanding of your situation, so consider your environment, network and capabilities.
Be who you are right where you are. Relax.
Recognize that you will never be able to completely control every aspect of your work. Let go of the expectation. Commit to what you can do on a time frame you can actually deliver on. Integrity goes hand in hand with authenticity. Be consistent in your word and deed, for your own personal practice and to build respect in your work.
Let go of the focus on the future so you can be fully available to work in the present. Try and have one mind for that one task or project, right now, today.
Pencil in at least 10 minutes per day to practice being aware. Schedule the time on your calendar. Write it down. Focus on everything and nothing. If your attention wanders, bring it back to the moment and just sit and be open. If you treat this as seriously as the rest of your business efforts, it will outperform many of them. The fruits of being mentally available in the now will come to those who choose to do it. You must be present to win.
We’ve all been there. Stuck at a blank screen or notebook of doom, lost in agony, without direction or purpose. Writer’s block happens from time to time. Here’s our go to list of things to try when your stuck.
Is it possible to carve 2 hours or more out of your work day everyday?
I believe so. It happens the instant you stop treating every activity as necessary and develop a discerning discipline of priorities. Where can you apply just a little bit more discipline and get a lot more time in return? Email is an easy target.
How much time do you spend checking email?
If you’re like the average person, the answer is at least 2.5 hours according to recent PEW Internet Research study. And, that does not count the time spent distracted after clicking a link originating from an email either. Attacking spam (illegitimate and unsolicited email) is actually a small part of the battle. Legitimate email is the real time suck and the new battlefront for your time,effort, energy and attention. Think about notifications from LinkedIn,Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, Meetup, etc.
What if you could get that time back with some simple automation and a few tools to support focused habits? You can. (more…)
Bored with the everyday approach to tasks and productivity? In need of more #winning moments? Consider adding EpicWin to your repertoire. EpicWin is a mobile task manager/role playing game for iOS that allows you to collect experience, loot and levels for doing chores and tasks. It’s game that requires you to get stuff done in real life and in return you see your character battle, progress and level up on the screen. (more…)
So, we’re all about simplicity, mobility, and productivity at Heroik, and so I must recommend this cool tool, with a great name and a go with you anywhere attitude. It’s called Do. If you want to save yourself some reading: Bottom Line: your team and/or biz should definitely Do the Do.
What is Do?
Do is a FREE (as in Braveheart FREEEDOOOMM! Free) online collaboration tool that can integrate with Google Apps. It also features mobile versions for the iPhone and Android. Do is based on the ManyMoon project (Google Apps users know what this is) but Do has a better work flow and functionality. (more…)
Awesome-Grams, or, notes, displays and deeds of thanks, praise and appreciation are easy to write, lovely to read, and can boost productivity, rapport and improve a relationship personal and professional. Sending these is a great replacement behavior for the bad habit of nasty-grams. And for all you Ebineisers out there, sending awesome-grams as a habit can save you real dollars, bring more material perks as well as present new opportunities and prospects. Thank you’s are affirmations of appreciation. They help us acknowledge and celebrate the good things in our lives and counteract our tendency to simply note the negative disruptions and experiences. The smile the awareness brings puts a spring in our steps and we can sail through our days with light and happy hearts. How do we get started? Who do we thank? What are the perks? Have any examples: Read on kind sirs and madams. (more…)
Logmein, one of our favorite and essential services has an even more epic mobile app called Ignition. Logmein Ignition is a mobile application for iOS/Android/Windows that allows you to remotely access your computers and then some. (more…)
You might be amazed how many people deal with this contact conundrum- the years and in some cases, decades build up of contacts. Layer upon layer of stale and duplicate contact data rotting your Outlook database and virtual Rolodex of various flavors. Avoiding the inevitable time consuming, manual, contact reconciliation. After years spent fighting a losing battle, finally there’s a solution out there that doesn’t put your data at risk and minimizes the time, effort and energy required to sort it out. It’s a service called Scrubly. (more…)
Picture Batman robbed of his utility belt. He’s still more than able whoop your ass, solve the riddle and save the day. You too, should aspire to cultivate your skills to the point that armed with only the most primitive of tools, locked in an 8×10 room with a magic marker, you (your ideas, filters, lenses and processes) can be just as dangerous and powerful. Do you want more mental clarity, focus, less anxiety and stress? This year, this month, this week, try something different and get back to the basics. Brush the dust off a pen and paper, visit ye olde staples, follow along, get involved, and measure your gains. Spend the $10 on a pad of paper and something to write with. I recommend a moleskine notebook and a good pen. Just as a fool trusts his life to a weapon, do not place ultimate faith in your gadgetry. I’m not anti-tech. I’m a thrivalist. Read on if you want to become a bare knuckle biz champion of productivity. (more…)
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Ideas can be empowering and uplifting. Here are some tips to help you work with ideas and build them from thought to profit.
1. See the Parts and The Big Picture
- Understand how the pieces can come together to form an opportunity.
- Observe the basic principles and elements and see how the larger mechanisms can be broken down into several opportunities.
- Have the courage to be imaginative. Then recognize the value of your vision. (more…)