Eliminating Distractions & Boosting Productivity – A Regional Director’s Story
Jul 12 | 2018
Guest blog post from Simon Reyers, BBD Regional Director
This year for the Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. National Sales Meeting, each Regional Director (RD) was tasked with identifying and testing a new idea or process improvement that would drive growth for BBD. I decided to focus on self-improvement, specifically efficiency and productivity.
Too often distractions were interfering with my productivity. There were times when I was focused on things that seemed urgent instead of what was most important for driving BBD’s growth. I think Confucius said it best:
The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.
I was chasing too many rabbits and wasn’t focused on my priorities. I had to start eliminating distractions and changing the way I approached my work.
Eliminating Distraction with Strategic Time Blocking
A recent study shows employees spend a significant amount of their workday distracted, impacting their overall productivity at work. To gain a competitive advantage and become more productive I needed to eliminate distractions: for me, that meant my phone.
RD’s are busy salespeople and we get a lot of phone calls, text messages, and emails. I would be working hard on an important task and get distracted when a new email or message came through. My focus shifted from the important to the urgent whenever a new message came in.
To combat this I implemented a concept called Time Blocking. Every Sunday I would sit down for about 30 minutes and review the week ahead. I would determine my goals for the week and block time to complete things that were important. During these blocked time slots, my phone would be off so it couldn’t distract me. Slowly, I found myself getting more of the important stuff off of my to-do list. Now, I live by this quote:
The things that get scheduled are the things that get done."
Boost Productivity with the 90-90-1 Rule
The next process that I decided to implement was the 90-90-1 Rule. For 90 days, the first 90 minutes of my workday was dedicated to the single most important project I was working on. Studies show that the human brain is most productive early in the morning, so that is the best time for working on your most important tasks. I committed to not let anyone or anything distract me during this time – I even closed my office door!
Each week, I chose something to work on. For the weeks leading up to the Toronto Partner Forum in April, I would work on anything Partner Forum related for the first 90 minutes of each day. I kept my focus and committed to the 90-90-1 rule, and it worked! Over time, I found I was getting more of the important stuff done while never feeling like I was missing out on anything from the emails or texts that seemed so urgent before.
Becoming More Productive: Five Tips to Get You Started
Becoming more productive and efficient was challenging. It took a lot of determined effort and was a good exercise in mental discipline. I learned a lot through my efforts, and I’ve got five tips to share with you that can get you started on the path to productivity.
- Don’t schedule yourself back-to-back. Leave open time slots for unexpected events. Things pop up and move around – don’t schedule yourself into a corner!
- Be flexible. It’s great to have a process in place, but if you find that it’s not working, change it.
- Focus on your most important tasks in the morning when you’re proven to be most productive.
- Eliminate distractions. Close your office door, turn off your phone, and close your email while you work. You’d be surprised how efficient you can be when you eliminate the distractions and focus on the project at hand.
- Plan your week out ahead of time using time blocking and stick to it. Start with your most crucial tasks and work outwards from there.