1. @RockstarPodcast feedback: Managing Distractions

    Episode #8 of the Rockstar Podcast touched on some of my favorite topics: time management, organization and distractions. As I listened, I figured I’d make a post that highlights my philosophy on managing these distractions.

    Let’s face it. If you operate in the web world, are connected through social networks, and work in a “team” based business, there are going to be a lot of distractions. As a leader, you want to stay informed, know what’s going on, and see what other’s are talking about. It’s how you keep your A-game. At any given moment, in my office, I have the following notifications:

    • Twitter notifications (for 2 accounts)
    • Google alerts (for important keywords)
    • Facebook notifier
    • Mail Notifier
    • Calendar Alerts
    • iChat
    • Google Talk
    • Phone calls

    For 80% of my day, these notification are on. However, the perception that notifications require immediate action is a toxic mindset. Notifications are a helpful tool to help you track actions & information on items that are important to you.

    Have some self control

    The first step to managing notifications is to have some self control. Granted, it’s easy to say that and much harder to practice.

    However, just because a notification comes up, doesn’t mean you have to process it immediately. Make a mental note, or create a to-do in your GTD software to review the notification when you’re done with the task at hand, and then get back to work.

    Approach notifications with purpose

    Notifications aren’t distractions when you approach them with purpose. When you are done completing the task you are currently on, review the notifications, make more to-dos, or process the notification items immediately.

    Know when to turn them off

    I do have about 20% of my day that I allow zero distractions. When in a meeting, or during a phone call, or preparing sales documents, I not only disable notifications, but also block entire applications & websites.

    I use a tool called Concentrate which is a great Mac app that allows you to create “profiles” that can be easily switched on to control distractions. I highly recommend that you use the app.

    If you place value on your time, you can easily identify the tasks that require 100% of your attention and you must respect those self imposed rules. Apps like Concentrate help you enforce those rules in an easy way.

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