Can we bother you for a moment to help you get ready for No Interruptions Day?
I meant to post this here at the end of last year — on or around December 30 — but somehow, I got side tracked. (The end of the year is always crazy, right?)
Then I thought it would be funny to post it during National Procrastination Week (March 5–11), but missed that target as well.
However, the topic and the tips are timely and frankly, relevant virtually every day of the year, so with the idea of “better late than never,” here’s my ode to No Interruptions Day:
We interrupt this blog to bring you the annual No Interruptions Day!
The last work day of each year has been designated No Interruptions Day and for some small business owners and professionals, it’s a very fitting special day. It seems like there are two types of businesses and/or business people:
- Those for whom the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is dead, and
- Those for whom the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is crazy busy.
If you fall into that second category, Dec. 30 this year would be an excellent time to take No Interruptions Day to heart and turn off your phone, ignore your emails, lock the door shut and enjoy some undisturbed peace while you take care of the tasks that have to be completed before you can close out the year.
What we’re really talking about here is productivity and maybe we should let this special day remind us of a discipline we should be practicing all year long: Focusing on the tasks before us until they are completed. Here are some more tips to help you maintain the concentration required to stay on task without interruptions:
Toss the notion of multi-tasking into the dust bin. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that we don’t multi-task efficiently. Each time you switch between tasks you open the door to distractions and it always takes several moments to rev your brain up to speed on the new task.
Crank up some instrumental music. Classical music in the style of Mozart gets our brains working at higher levels of efficiency. If you haven’t developed a taste for the classics, be sure to stick with instrumentals; the lyrics in vocal music engage the word processing parts of our brains, and unless you’re mopping the floor, you probably need to have 100 percent of those verbal skills available for the tasks you’re working on.
Snack and hydrate between meals. Eat snacks balanced between protein and carbohydrates between your regular meals. You don’t want your mind to get lost wandering around the food groups when you’re trying to get some work done. With small, balanced snacks, and plenty of liquids (they’re important at work for several reasons, as Kaya Ismail points out here), you’ll keep your tummy under control and your energy level up.
Work off campus. If you’re in a position where you can grab your laptop and work someplace away from the daily grind, go for it. You’ll separate yourself from some of your regular tormentors and a fresh scene can give you some extra energy as long as it doesn’t come with even more distractions!
Clear your calendar. Since we’re giving you a few days notice, review your calendar and see if you really need to keep all of those appointments. If not, clear them off and get to work.
These tips should give you a fighting chance to finish the year strong. And, if you have some strategies you use to maintain your focus, share them in the comments below and send them out into social media cyberspace with the hashtag #NoInteruptionsDay.