Recently, while attending a Board of Directors meeting, I noticed a client, who is a CPA, incessantly checking his phone messages and texting while we were in the board meeting.
After the meeting, I had a conversation with him about this rude, distracting and addictive behavior that not only distracted him, but distracted the rest of the board members who were trying to pay attention.
The guy is a cell phone addict. He can’t turn it off. He can’t seem to live without it. It’s become an obsession to have that thing with him and to constantly be looking at it and monitoring it. If he is not sending a message, he is receiving a message and so forth.
In a previous coaching session, he confided in me that his biggest issue was that he was constantly in a state of disorganization and was not all of things done that needed to get done when they needed to get done. As a result, he was always behind schedule and projects were always delayed.
When I pointed out to him that his addictive cell phone behavior was a big part of the reason for his stress and disorganization, he wasn’t buying it. Sadly, his addiction is more important than increasing his personal productivity – a fact that he is unwilling to accept.
He is not alone.
The average person either sends or receives about 100 text messages a day. I don’t know what those folks are doing but they can’t be very productive if they are sending that many text messages a day.
Sales advice about how to eliminate cell phone addition and escape the Hamster wheel
The simple cure to this counterproductive addiction is to turn the damn thing off and put it in a draw or someplace out of sight while you are doing productive work. Then periodically, at scheduled times during the day, check it and respond as necessary.
If you must have it on, at least turn it to silent, if you don’t turn it off.
Sales advice on how to avoid email purgatory
Email has become one of the worse time wasters ever invented. It was supposed to help people become more productive. Instead, it has made us electronic slaves.
To escape this slavery, you will need to make a very conscious decision to not allow this time vampire to steal your most precious and productive minutes.
The way I broke myself from the destructive habit of checking and responding to emails first thing every morning was to not check email first until at least 10 o’clock in the morning. And use the time from 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock to work on my most important projects of the day. Those first two hours of the day are the most important and productive two hours of my day.
If you want to increase your personal productivity, I encourage you to start your day working on the single most important thing that you need accomplish during the day not respond to outside distractions or what other people want you to do or respond to. To do this will require some significant changes in your habits.
The question I ask myself every day – I write this in my journal every morning before I go into the office – is “what are the three most important things I need to accomplish today.”
I encourage you to ask yourself every day before you work, “what is the most important highest pay off activity that I need to do today?’
Write it down and then commit the first two hours of the day working on that highest productivity activity. For a salesperson, this may be making outbound sales calls. It may be writing a sales letter. It may be putting together a list of people you are going to call. It could be any number of things that is really considered a highly productive use of time. During this first two hours don’t respond to emails, don’t even turn it on, and the same thing with a cell phone.
At 10 o’clock, take a break, check on email and cell phone messages. Respond to whatever you need to respond to, get a drink of water, a cup of coffee, go to the bathroom or whatever. Check all that and then turn the cell phone and email off again and don’t check them again until noon. If you adopt this behavior you will not constantly be distracted and will be able to at least double your output without working one minute longer
If you don’t get a handle on this issue, you will always be reacting other people agendas and demands. Constantly being in reactive mode will zap all kinds of time and energy from you. It will steal your joy of life and make you old before your time.
Another thing that a lot of folks make a mistake of doing is giving clients their cell phone number. You should be very judicious about who you give your cellphone number because doing so gives them permission to contact you at will and they think it entirely appropriate that they call can call or text you 24/7 anytime they have a brain fart. And when they do, they expect you to respond instantly to their random and mostly unimportant question or concern.
If you are going to become a highly productive person, you must get comfortable limiting people’s access to you. If you make yourself constantly available, people will find you and harass you all day long. If you truly want to double or triple your productivity, you must get comfortable telling people no. No I can’t come at that time. No I can’t talk now. Now I can’t attend that meeting. You must learn to tell a lot of people no, including those who are closest to you.
Technology was supposed to give us freedom and save us tons of time and energy, but what it has done is enslave us and create huge time wasters that are nothing more than creative ways to avoid doing the real work that we must do.