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Overwhelm & Focus

Overwhelm & Focus

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 333).

There are just too many communication channels. How many are you dealing with?

It is difficult to get focused, creative, high level work done when multiple communications are coming in at random. When you have a Pavlovian response to a communication that interrupts what you are doing you are no longer in control of your work day or output. You work for whomever is pinging you.

Lets list the communication channels that really are our “masters voice”:

  • email
  • Slack
  • MS Teams
  • Zoom
  • Google Video
  • Google Chat
  • Facetime
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • Text App’s
  • Signal
  • Mobile phones
  • Desk phones
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn Messenger

In my experience, everyone reading this deals with 80% of the above list every day.

All the above are a “tax” on your time, effectiveness and ability to generate results. There are multiple studies on the real cost of task interruptions and work efficiency, spoiler alert, generally the cost is a 20% reduction in work output and 15 minutes to get back on task following any interruption.

If you respond to every ping your phone or device chirp’s you are an addict, no better than Pavlov’s dogs. Every time you hear a ping from your phone, say to yourself “yes master” as you rush to acknowledge and read the message.

What to do? This is how I set myself up to be as productive as possible.

  1. Have separate work and personal communication channels.
  2. Turn off ALL notifications on all devices including the mobile phone ringer.
  3. Remove your desk phone. Who needs that in 2022?
  4. Reduce work communication channels to a minimum:
    One video app
    One Messaging app – if you can, eliminate this from your work life, email is enough.
    One email address
  5. Refuse to participate in voice mail on any device.
  6. Require people to video call you and not use email, messaging or phone calls for discussions.
  7. Only use email to send information and only check it twice a day for a max of 20 mins.
  8. Only respond to emails that are directly addressed to you, do not respond to CC’s.
  9. Know when you are most productive and do deep work then i.e. morning or afternoon. I try and do deep work in the morning and have meetings and return messages in the afternoon.
  10. Use the Pomodoro Technique to batch manage tasks and workflow.

You are NOT paid for how many e-mails you answer or meetings you attend. You are actually paid for the results you produce and your added value. This requires FOCUS.

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer

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