image-bend-around-timeOur fearless leader, Cathy Coloff, shares some tips learned over the years that have helped her to lessen distractions and become more productive.

One of the most effective time management tips I’ve learned is to manage distractions, particularly email. The flow of email is constant but getting “into the flow” is not so easy. To minimize the email distraction, many suggest reading email no more than three times a day. Personally, I like to respond to email at the end of day when my energy levels are dipping and I don’t need to focus as much on my work. In addition, for myself, I had to turn off all the notifications that Outlook generates when a new email is received because I simply found it too distracting, too tempting to quickly go and check out what had just come in. It’s a small change, but a good one (go kaizen!). Need help figuring out how to do the same, feel free to give us a call.

At IT Radix, we use instant messaging internally to announce phone calls and the like. I’ve learned that if I really need to concentrate on a task, meeting or phone call, the best technique is to turn it off or alternatively to change my status to say “Emergency Interruptions Only” or something similar. Again, a simple change, but people notice and respect the status change.

While I enjoy social media, I haven’t found it too distracting during the day; however, studies show that this is not the case with many people. Studies show that as much as 12% of the working day is spent on social media sites. That’s almost 1 hour per day! We’ve found that limiting these types of sites completely can create bad will but letting your team know that you’re monitoring usage can have the desired effect—they may check something out for a quick break, but that’s it.

Small changes for the better—kaizen strikes again! I encourage you to look for ways to manage the distractions in your workplace and regain productivity and time.

First published in our November 2014 IT Radix Resource newsletter