If you’re working in a home office, is it the distractions of being at home? Kids? The dog? Or the tug of household chores? Who or what can we blame?
You might think that most productivity experts don’t “get it,” right? I don’t know if other experts get it or not, but I can tell you this: I get it. I know. I’ve worked in all kinds of office environments – for years – and I know exactly what you’re talking about. I get it. But my same old, familiar advice still stands.
Check your Task list first before getting stuck in e-mail in the morning. Unsubscribe to as much as you can. Be realistic and protective with your time. Simplify and let go of everything you don’t need, use, want or love. Get organized. Blah, blah, blah …
But here’s the thing … and there’s really no getting around this. All of the “how to” advice I’ve given over the years – and all the advice you’ve heard over the years – to help you be more productive does work, but it won’t work for you unless you stand up, take charge and put the advice to good use . No matter how “out of control” you might think things are around you, you’re more in control than you think.
You see, all of the stuff that’s happening now – the meetings, the interruptions, the distractions – and all of the things, e-mails , calls and information that are “out there” or coming at you non-stop, aren’t going to stop. You better get used to it. And learn how to handle it.
So what does that mean? What’s the bottom line? What’s the answer to getting a handle on all this?
The answer is you. The solution to all of this chaos is you. You’re the key to what happens next. It takes changing your mindset, your behavior, your habits, and your reactions to everything that’s happening in your work day. Once you commit to making a change, the rest is easy.
Here are 3 steps you can take to help you take charge and move on:
1. Stop Tolerating
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You get what you tolerate . So stop tolerating what you don’t want, what you don’t need, what you don’t like and what you don’t use. When you let go of the things and activities that don’t serve you anymore, you’ve just made room for better things, people or opportunities to come into your life.
This means letting go of stuff – get organized.
This means letting go of activities or tasks that don’t build your business, don’t bring you incremental value or don’t add revenue.
This also means letting go of people who could be toxic or sap your energy. Make sure you’re hanging around happy people who lift you up, encourage you, support you, “get you,” and enjoy you for who you are. Anything less should be questioned.
2. Create boundaries
Boundaries protect you, your space and your time. Everyone needs boundaries, personally and professionally. I suggest you set more of them if you feel like you’re feeling controlled, misunderstood, over-committed, frustrated or taken for granted, just to name a few of the negative results of lacking boundaries. Saying “no” is a good place to start.
If you need more guidance on how to set personal boundaries, I suggest a great book by Jan Black and Greg Enns called Better Boundaries: Owning and Treasuring Your Life. Here’s a great excerpt from Chapter 1: “You protect what you care about. If you care about your Self, you will protect yourself with personal boundaries unless you don’t know how, or don’t know it’s your right. It’s impossible for you to thrive without strong boundaries, and the most stable boundaries seem to be rooted in the ability to treasure yourself.”
3. Slow Down
If you’re often operating at a frenzied pace, stop and question why you’re always in a rush or always out of time . What’s going on? Why are you feeling this out of control? And do you want to continue to feel this way?
Is it the people around you? Your boss? Your family? If you don’t want to keep up this frenzied pace, it’s time for a meeting to discuss the situation and find solutions. You can’t expect the little scraps of time that are left over after you’re finished running around to be enough. If you’re that busy, you need to schedule time for the things and people most important to you. No excuses.