Listen, we all run into distractions every day.
What’s that over there?
Sorry, back. What was I saying? Oh yeah, distractions.
I believe it was Socrates who first said “Focus is not the absence of distraction. Focus is the presence of distraction and working anyway.”
Is that not a saying? Whatever. The Young Entrepreneur Council polled eight well-renowned entrepreneurs to find out one thing…
What’s the biggest distraction you run into on a daily basis and how do you overcome it?
On average I receive 170 emails a day. It used to put me in a reactive mode and most of my day would be spent in my inbox. I’d wrap up 12 hours in the office and feel as though I hadn’t accomplished a thing. Now, I only check my messages at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and batch my responses. As a result, I am more focused, get considerably more done and when I do go into my inbox, I’m highly effective.
– Mark Krassner, Knee Walker Central
I get numerous calls a day and would not be able to efficiently complete projects for clients if I was constantly being pulled away and then had to refocus. Instead, I often put my phone on mute and return calls either in between projects or at set points of time during the day when it is not disruptive to completing work.
– Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC
The biggest daily distractions are the “quick questions” that people swear will take two seconds to answer. In reality, these questions can pull you off task and interrupt your focus. On average, at least an hour of my day is spent answering “quick questions.” I now work from home one day a week to focus on larger, bigger-picture tasks without interruption.
– Brittany Hodak, ZinePak
As an entrepreneur, you have 1,000 tasks which you could do — hiring, social media marketing, sales calls, etc. I’ve never been great about organizing my days, and I find myself distracted by thinking, “Oh! I should do X.” To save myself, I’ve recently started listing out my five “must-do” things at the start of the day. Seeing those in front of me keeps me on task.
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
At one time, every five minutes my phone would buzz with a new update or notification. These spanned email, calendar, text, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, messenger. The majority are not urgent, but it’s easy to follow them down the rabbit hole. To manage this I turn off 95 percent of notifications and keep my phone on silent unless I’m expecting a call.
– Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems
Sometimes being online doesn’t allow me to focus on tasks that require more social interaction, or even on tasks that don’t require Internet. Whether it’s skype, email or imessages, sometimes disconnecting from the world for a few hours a day can do wonders for productivity. The Internet has been a double-edged sword for most people, and those that can control their usage will be miles ahead.
– Derek Capo, Next Step China
Meetings can take up a great deal of valuable time, so unnecessary meetings are truly a waste of your time. To overcome this issue, validate meeting requests by requiring a detailed agenda from the person requesting the meeting or call. Ask for questions and objectives ahead of time, as you can often just answer them in an email and avoid the meeting altogether.
– Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Technologies, Inc.
As someone who works in social media, I can publicly admit that I love Facebook but it’s a massive distraction. It’s especially difficult when you actually use Facebook for paid or organic engagement — there’s no way to check your ads without also seeing all of your personal notifications. I try to only check Facebook as a reward or on a specific break between tasks.
– Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media