Managing your interruptions

I recently received a complaint from somebody for posting in a WhatsApp group in the middle of the night. Had I realised that they had audible notifications switched on I would have been more considerate, of course.

But it made me wonder how many of us allow our phones etc. to dictate our lives.

Whether in meetings, writing, recording videos or checking a set of accounts, most of my work requires concentration so I try to minimise interruptions. I also like a good work/life balance. And woe betide anything that disturbs my beauty sleep.

Here are some of the things that I do which may be useful to you.

  • Define your ‘office’ hours. I prefer 9-5 when working with UK clients but it’s not always possible when coaching business owners overseas.
  • Use Calendly or similar to schedule telephone and zoom calls when it suits you.
  • Turn off audible and pop up notifications on all devices.
  • Keep your phone on silent or vibrate unless expecting a call.
  • Use the Do Not Disturb function on your phone for a good night’s sleep or when in meetings. I-phone allows certain important numbers to overcome this as I still want to be contactable if anything happens to my kids.
  • Use an answering service to get rid of cold callers and forward messages. I’m happy to recommend the one we use.
  • Have a voicemail message which encourages users to leave their own message rather than keep trying to ring you.
  • Be selective about which apps you want to use ‘badges’ for or other passive notifications. I use these for my business emails on all devices and for Twitter and LinkedIn on the iPad that I use for social media.

Decide how accessible you want/need to be and set everything up accordingly. And remember that you control your communication devices, not vice versa.

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