As we fall headlong into the fourth quarter, I am in awe at how quickly the time passes, how easy it is to squander, how impossible it is to get back and how important it is to utilize to its fullest.
I was reminded of this in a discussion I had with Lisa Leitch, an industry sales coach and speaker, the other day. I was talking about an impending deadline, and she made one simple suggestion, “Turn off your e-mail notifications.” I did it. It was something that was irking me for ages, pulling my focus to what normally amounted to junk mail and ruined my writing mojo (all you writers out there know what that is).
I was absolutely amazed at how quickly and effectively I worked that afternoon. The story was written and my stress level over getting it done completely diminished. At the end of the day, I had forgotten I had turned off my friend, the notifier, and thought, “Oh my, I didn’t get any e-mails, there must be something wrong.” I hit my e-mail icon and there they were—a slew of e-mails (80 percent was junk and the other 20 percent was nothing urgent). I dedicated some time to responding to the e-mails that needed attention and left work that day feeling relaxed in the knowledge that I had accomplished my goals for that day.
In my next conversation with Lisa, we quickly figured out I was being interrupted by my e-mail notifier every 4 minutes. It was a real revelation. Not only did I realize how much time I lost at work to that little bugger, but it came to me how easy it is to simply let time slip right through your fingers because of nuisance things across the board. Maintaining focus, whether it be on tasks in the office or at dinner with your spouse and kids, is not easy to accomplish with the laundry list of “to do’s.” Add in all the flashing lights and bells from our electronic devices and it is near impossible.
So heading into this last big sales push for the year, stay focused and don’t let all that background noise interfere with your goals. Sometimes you’ve got to disengage to engage. We only get so much time—once it’s gone, it’s gone. So work hard, play hard and make this fourth quarter one for the record books.