Guarding one's time is one of the hardest yet most important skills every entrepreneur needs to learn. Here are some Ptex Practical Pointers to get you started.
Your employee peeks their head in innocently. “Do you have two minutes?”
OK. It’s just two minutes, you think. “Sure! How can I help you?”
Tell me the truth: How many of you fall for this on a daily basis?
Though the person didn’t intend it to be, this is a trap—and we all know it. Because a second is never a just second. A minute is never just a minute. Even if it were, all those seconds and minutes add up to much more than you might think, in both time and mental headspace.
When you think about it, time is the greatest equalizer. You may not have much in common with Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. But there is one thing that you have in common with every extraordinarily successful person that ever lived: you only have 24 hours in your day.
There’s a reason that the cliche “time is money” has become a business cliché: it’s the truth. What happens to your brain when you’re interrupted or distracted is similar to what happens when you want to do a new math problem on your calculator. You press “clear.” Not just once, but usually a few times, just to be sure. Similarly, when you begin a discussion with someone, your mind is jolted out of whatever thought it was immersed in or whatever problem it was trying to solve and forced back to ground zero.
When this happens multiple times per day, it’s no wonder you end up distracted, scattered, unproductive, and drained of energy.
I often say that guarding one’s time is one of the hardest yet most important skills every entrepreneur needs to learn. Here are some Ptex Practical Pointers to get you started.
1. Batch meetings.
This is a great method to boost productivity in general and ward off interruptions and distractions. Schedule several meetings back-to-back (with a few minutes of buffer in between), so that you can avoid having pockets of “dead” time that are too short to actually do anything productive.
2. Schedule time for interruptions.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but set aside some time for welcome interruptions. During this time, leave your door open so people know they can feel free to come in and they’re not catching you in the middle of anything.
3. Just say “no.”
Next time someone asks you if you have a second, say no if you truly cannot devote some time to them. Explain that you don’t want to waste either your time or theirs with a rushed response, and ask when’s a mutually good time you can schedule to talk.
Remember: ROI isn’t just about a return on your resources. It’s about a return on your time. Make sure your ROT (Return on Time) is high, and you’ll see the difference it makes in your physical and mental bank account.
What do you do to minimize distractions and take control of your productivity? I’d love to hear. Reply in the comments and let me know!