Manage Distractions to Manage your Time!

Manage Distractions to Manage your Time!


Distractions can be termed as issues or actions which sidetrack you from achieving your targeted or planned goals. The number of distractions you might have to deal with is sometimes proportional to the talent you possess, because you will be hounded for suggestions and guidance from your peers, sub-ordinates, and friends. The art of optimizing your skill and talent lies in the way you deal with distractions.

Distractions can be divided into two types a) Important and b) Unimportant. Analyzing where a particular issue fits into the above two categories will help you to manage unimportant distractions effectively.

For Instance, an informal chat with a client can be categorized as an important distraction because it gives you an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship. This in turn increases the chances of the success of your business. An unimportant distraction might be a colleague or a habitual entertainer who just drops in at your workstation with the objective of passing time.

Let’s look at some strategies to deal with these kinds of habitual entertainers:

  • Plan Ahead: According to time management experts, a successful person allocates or plans only 50% of his available time and reserves the other remaining time to deal with unexpected “emergencies”. This way, in spite of you spending time on unexpected and important distractions, you will able to meet your deadlines as expected.
  • Intelligent Neglect: Make intelligent decisions – take up the tasks which have a long-lasting positive impact in your career.

The above strategies enable you to avoid distractions. The strategies given below help you cope while you are being distracted:

  • Be well Mannered: Be courteous, approachable, and diplomatic while communicating or interacting. Thus, on one hand you can still say “no” firmly without wasting time and on the other side you can still win the person without hurting him/ her.
  • Politely Convey your Unavailability: Convey, in no uncertain terms, your inability to spare time at the moment.
  • Discover the Clock: If the entertainer happens to prolong the time spent with you, glance at the watch and express your surprise – mention that you are getting late for the next very important task.
  • Start Moving: This strategy will certainly help you to cut short distractions because it gives a strong message that you are too busy to spare time at the given moment.

Of course, everyone has to deal with the challenge of dealing with distractions. So, get prepared to do this by analyzing the intent of visitors or the criticality of issues you come across. Then the next important step would be to cut short your time on’low-value’ visits or issues and at the same time avail the opportunities that are worth investing your time in for long-term success.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • Dmitrey Nadirov

    Good article. The improtant knowledge here for me is to allocates or plan only 50% of the available time, and take up the tasks which have a long-lasting positive impact in the career

  • Joseph Littleton

    I handle distractions in buckets, which helps determine if it is a distraction to me or not. I’m with Karen on the “digital distractions” of cell phones and text messages, etc., you just have to disconnect from the matrix.

    For me, it takes a brief look at the calendar for the day to help prioritize my time. This also lets me know if a distraction can creep in for the day. The biggest cap on it for me is at the end of the day, taking a look at things accomplished and how it measures up to what my expectations were. So these helps reduce the next day distractions. Do I have to book a conference room for a “phantom meeting ” to get my tasks accomplished? Those things I try to tie down before I leave for the day. Just the start of my decompression!