In This Episode…
The telephone is a very important method of communication.
Our ancestors would be both envious of the facility we now have to talk to anyone, anywhere at anytime, and shocked at the “magical” powers of the little rectangular slab we hold to our ears.
But there is a downside to the convenience of this technology. It can take over our lives and interrupt us at will if we don’t take charge of it.
In this episode I share the lessons learnt when I allowed an unexpected telephone call to distract me from my morning’s work.
Hi, and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast. It’s your host, Michael Tipper. Who else would it be?
Now today has been another good day of working the plan that I set up for myself last week.
But one of the things that happened this morning was I received a phone call and it took away an unplanned hour and 15 minutes of my time.
The call was from a new contact – someone I’d only just connected with this week. They rang me up to compliment me on something that I had done online in terms of a marketing video and a content video that I’d put up on LinkedIn.
They wanted to say how much they enjoyed it and gave me some valuable feedback as well as some pointers to improve.
Now it was an hour and 15 minutes that I wasn’t expecting to spend during what was a busy time for me.
Why Did I Take A Call That Was Going To Interrupt Me?
So a couple of things come to light from that.
The first thing is why did I take the call in the first place?
One of the strategies I advocate is that when you are working, you should shut off all distractions.
For that reason, I don’t have any alerts set on my smartphone or on my computer. So I don’t know when emails have come in.
I shut those distractions out to focus on what I’m focusing on.
But today my smart phone was next to me. It went off.
Now my phone is always on silent. I knew a call was coming in because I saw it appear on the screen whilst using one of its Apps as part of the task I was doing.
It was from a number with an international dialling code I didn’t recognise.
I thought I’d better take it. So I made that choice.
Now I could have let it go to voicemail. And in fact, I should’ve let it go to voicemail because what happened is I lost an hour and 15 minutes of my time.
So that’s the first point to note – I took the call in the first place.
Why Didn’t I End The Call Earlier That I Shouldn’t Have Taken In The First Place?
But having decided to take the call, it went on much longer than was really comfortable.
I thought “I need to get on now”.
But I didn’t really want to upset the caller and just cut the call dead.
And that then leads me to the next thing which is why do I feel that way?
My time is precious and I can’t afford to let distractions from other people squander that precious commodity. I’ve got to find a way of being able to say:
“Look, I’d love to talk to you now, can we schedule a time to talk about this later?”
That would have been a better alternative, but as it was, I let the conversation drift on and on and on.
Now there is a plus side to this because I’ve started to develop a relationship with this contact that potentially may lead to a mutually beneficial collaboration.
So there are pros and cons to what happened, but fundamentally I allowed a distraction to take me away from the work I was doing today.
And I didn’t cut that distraction short when it got to a stage where I knew I should have cut it short.
There Are A Few Things Going On Here
So there’s a value thing going on there, maybe a discipline thing going on there, maybe something about trying to please everyone going on there as well.
The whole experience was an interesting lesson to reflect on, but other than that, as I look at the rest of the day, it went pretty much to schedule.
I was pleased with the progress I made on a couple of major projects.
And despite the call, here I am at the end of the day, having moved forward.
As I look to the future, a key thing for me is to recruit a virtual assistant to assist me in my activities. I spent much of today preparing for the selection of that virtual assistant.
When they are onboard, I’ll be able to expand my output even further because I’ll have someone to support me in doing that.
Good lessons for me regarding interruptions and one that I will reflect on and hopefully adjust my behaviours in future when something similar happens.
So that’s today’s episode.