I recently received this email reply:
“Thank You for writing! I look forward to reading your email! Monday thru Friday, I’m doing my client work. This requires my total concentration. Therefore I’m limiting my access to emails … I will read and reply to your email *M-F at 10pm to Midnight Eastern Time* Thank You for Your Patience & Understanding. Have A Wonderful Day!”
This response did not frustrate or upset me. Rather, I was impressed to see a busy professional wholeheartedly focusing his time and energy on what matters most in his particular business: his clients.
Not only does sending out this automatic reply show that he is capable of being disciplined and ensuring that his highest priority has his utmost attention, but it also sends an excellent message to his clients in a very public manner.
No Need to Hide Productivity Solutions
On the contrary, people often try to hide their productivity solutions from others because they don’t want to appear selfish, silly or incompetent in their job roles. I have had business clients that have paid me from their own pockets, and we have met after hours because they didn’t want their bosses to find out.
While I respect the decision to improve their productivity and performance on their own time, I do believe a good leader in any organization would see the benefits of productivity consulting. If I were the boss I would be very impressed by the initiative. Although the organization may not have the budget to support it, keeping it a secret is likely unnecessary.
Focus = Success
This email reply reminded me of how important focus is to success. It comes up a lot, and I don’t want to sound repetitive, but eliminating distractions and focusing on one important task at a time is the key to becoming more productive at work.
Don’t be afraid to hang up a sign on your cubical or door saying the first hour of your day is reserved. Indicate a specific time when you will be available for questions or concerns. Most issues can truly wait an hour.
Being distracted is one of the worst productivity drains. Once you lose your train of thought or momentum on a project, it’s difficult to pick up where you left off. Too many interruptions can have a huge negative impact on important projects, costing the company valuable resources (time and money). Surely that is worth a few hours of productivity consulting.
As Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes-Find Your Focus said, “Distraction is equivalent to losing 10 IQ points. Or in other words, the same as pulling an all-nighter.”