Threading The Needle + Seeing Things Through

iStock_000011409031SmallHow many times have you started something only to be interrupted and not even remember that you started it?  You are not alone in this!  During the month of January, many of us start those wonderful things called “Resolutions” which we completely abandon by the 31st, or by Valentine’s Day because, we need to really pay attention to our “love life” and if our relationship is in trouble then our world is upside down!

Dr. John Norcross, PhD, a professor of psychology at University of Scranton writes that   by July 60% of us have abandoned those resolutions!

What keeps those other 40% engaged? Well they are in Norcoss tells us they are in their twenties.  Those over 50  are less likely to keep resolutions.

Dr. Norcross gave many other interesting findings from his online poll:  Did you know;

  • 45% of Americans make resolutions,
  • 17% make resolutions infrequently,
  • 38% NEVER make resolutions and
  • Out of that 40% who are still engaged in July…….only 8% are successful!

WOW!  That gives me pause!

Let’s step away from resolutions and look at what detracts us from completing things in our daily lives.  Those of us who are parents have watched a small child in a room full of toys or when he/she is let out of the house into a big yard,  the distraction of running from one thing to another is huge.  A hovering parent will be dizzy in a matter of moments trying to contain and protect, the little one going from toy to toy, much like a bee from flower to flower.

We too act in much this same way in our professional and personal lives.  We start off with good intentions, but it only takes on little  alert, one little distraction, one request, one phone call, on unexpected something and we are off track.

As a coach, I see clients daily who are confronted with these issues:  “balance”, “time management”, “the calendar”, “getting it all done”, feelings of abandonment, dissatisfaction in the workplace, at home and in relationships, unrealistic expectations, and a long list of other things.

All of these stem form the same source; allowing someone or something else to drive our agenda, our calendar and our time and our focus. 

Once you allow the very first disruption; your are toast!  I don’t need you to prove it to me, I know it to be true. You cannot explain or reason your way out of it.  You and only you allow the disruption.  No one else can say yes, but you.    As the saying goes:  “The buck stops right at your fingertip!” (well maybe that’s my variation)

Almost all of these disruptions come from your “i-device, smart phone, or tablet” which is attached to your sleepy eyes, before you roll out of bed in the morning.

In the late 1980s and early 1990’s there wJust Say No imagesas a anti-drug, violence, premarital sex campaign called “Just Say No” which Nancy Reagan championed. Perhaps, it is time to bring back this campaign and use it to champion the cause of:  “Just Say No” to touching anything that connects us to the outside world,  until we either get to our offices, or we get onto the commuter train, rail, bus, plane, or carpool.  I realize that will never happen, but think of all the derailment of a person’s day that will not happen, if that first, disruption never happens.

This isn’t the only place we have problems following through and finishing what we start either.  When we start opening email, we have NO time limit on how long we spend on our email, or how we prioritize what we are looking at.  The lines are blurred between our personal and business accounts  Then there are all the social feeds we have coming into our technology feeds and their alerts which are going off.  Even if the thing is on “mute”, it is jumping around our desk, in our pocket and still causing a distraction, drawing our focus away from what we need to be working on.  What about all the text messages and unnecessary phone calls that come into daily?  If you had a call and text log you could retrieve and the time received and amount of time you spent on each; how many of those were directly related to bringing revenue to you or your business?

What would happen if our actual productive time was tracked, Office. Director. Hard working day. like a lawyer tracks his “billable’ time?  Every minute of you day was tracked while you are online actually working on “work” you are paid to work on.  The instant, you go offline from your project, to check email, tweet, check Facebook, or your personal email, or to surf the web, you are clocked out and you didn’t get paid; how would your behavior change?  Every time you call someone or someone calls you or texts you, on your smart phone, on SKYPE, or on the internet and it is not a number directly associated with an account you are working on that is already logged into the project you are working on as a contact number which is related to that project, you are immediately logged off and not paid for that time until you log back onto that project.  Do you think your focus and behavior would change?  Might your boundaries become stronger?

You see there are many habits we have, and things we do that take advantage of our “salaried” and “hourly” jobs which we take for granted.  If you are a self-employed person, you too fall into similar traps.  These come in the form of alluring offers, information and updates to things we are involved in, groups we belong to, or other distractions which have nothing to do with our running our business and attracting customers and making sales.

iStock_000009149226SmallTake a moment here and think about your Productivity Level today.  Rate yourself.  I am not here to beat you up, but to draw attention to how we are really our own worse enemy here.  We allow ourselves to be unproductive and to not finish what we start.  Let’s get productive!  Tomorrow start fresh.  I’ll have some ideas for you!

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