If you feel that not much got done after a long day of work, you are not alone.
Read time: just over a min.
We all have come to accept the constant distractions that fill our day. We all are expected to be ‘collaborative,’ ‘partner’ and a ‘team.’ Here, we are the victim and the perpetrator. We distract and interrupt others as they do to us. And, the strange part is that it is not considered rude anymore.
Have you caught yourself responding to a message – “On a call…but can chat”? The underlying reasons could be noble – to help, move things forward, appear collaborative, diffuse issues quickly before they pile up, etc., but multi-tasking is a norm. To some degree, it is expected.
If your day is stolen from you, then don’t stress. Like you, others are also struggling to fit in everything in the 8-hour window. And, like you, others are equally responsible for stealing from each other. When those are not enough, we keep adding more hours either at the beginning or toward the end of the day.
It takes 8 hours to fly from Toronto to Frankfurt. Imagine taking an 8-hour flight each day. That’s how long we have each day at work.
If you don’t have the perks of a closed-door office (physical or virtual) or a gatekeeper (I mean assistant), then you are out of luck. If your input is required minute-by-minute, then the old practice of dealing with distractions in a few chunks of time-block is not going to work.
So, what’s the better way?
There is no escape from it. Brace yourself for distractions throughout your day because there is no opt-out feature in your role.
Instead of blocking a couple of hours for distractions and interruptions, create a couple of time-blocks in a day for some actual work.
Out of the 8-hours, block one or two hours for focusing on the most important work. Some days you may be able to squeeze in more for concentrated work, but with unavoidable meetings, urgent emails, crisis-management, escalations, you can’t expect more than that.
The reality is that 40 hours a week is plenty. Plenty of time to get your work done, help others, remain competitive and become high achievers. There are exceptions to this, but that’s what they are and should be.
Every day your workday is like flying from Toronto to Frankfurt. Those hours may be filled with some turbulence, but a couple of uninterrupted and focused hours of work that matters most is all you need.
Thank you for sharing some of your precious time with me each week. Leave a comment if you liked it.
Until next week.