From the 'Drop the Monkey Business' column in The Galway Advertiser 27/06/2013 P.115
Driving home from beautiful Connemara in the west of Ireland last week when the sun was giving us one of our rare summer moments I came across a wonderful business. This commercial creation had a very interesting, successful and, I would imagine seldomly used trade model. When I asked the lovely lady who was working there for a business card as I wished to look them up online and email them thinking I may wish to make an order at a later date I was told, ‘No that’s not possible”. She continued to tell me how they have no phone, no email, no website, no business cards and they have been running a successful business for over 20 years. What a story. I was intrigued and continued to dig a little deeper. “These are all distractions that keep us from doing what we do well. Working.” said the lady with a big smile full of pride and rightly so, as she is spending 100 percent of her day doing what she loves doing with little or no disruptions.
Mastering the art of avoiding distractions can prove very difficult in today’s world of information overload. So many people have direct access to you via your smart phone and Internet. How do you filter out the noise and separate the unneeded distractions from the useful distractions so you can dedicate more focused time to tasks that will help you reach your goals quicker? I believe you need to reprogram your mind. Of course the above mentioned model is not for all, however it is good food for thought and a great starting point to ask: If we could start over with a blank canvas and use only what’s needed, how would we go about doing it? What would we do different? What is really needed?
The biggest distraction in the work place use to be: conducting personal business, daydreaming, running errands, and making personal phone calls. These are all distractions that you must go out of the way to do or engage with others. Now the Technology is getting really good at getting into peoples lives to distract and zap precious time, for example; the use of smart phones sending push notifications from the one of 100’s of apps that sit on your phone. You don’t have to go out of your way to find a distraction anymore; now the distraction will come and find you. How many times have you started your day fully committed to putting in a full 8 to 10 hours of work and then wondered why so little work actually got done? If you’re like me, the answer is "too many times!" You can talk all you want about using great selling techniques, having a brilliant business idea, how you are good at networking, good at planning, how you aim to boost your business, but all the technique in the world will add up to zero if you don’t disciple yourself to be selective with the incoming noise of the new generation technology. You need to apply some self-control and decide for yourself who you choose to communicate with and what you aim to get done on a daily bases. You must decide and be choosy about who is going to interrupt your space. If you find yourself giving too much time to Mark Zuckerberg, just remember, Facebook is a business who’s main ambition is to keep you on their site for as long as possible and they don’t pay you a wage. Okay, Facebook isn’t everybody’s distraction but is a solid example of what I am talking about. Identify what stops your focus and look for ways to overcome it. Take responsibility for what steals your time, be it apps or people. No one else can tell you what you need to do. How will you handle the distractions that keep you from accomplishing what you want to achieve in business and life?