Can you believe the first quarter of 2020 is in the books already? I ended up the quarter with a flurry of activity, trying to tie-up some projects before my April billing.

Only to have everything come to a screeching halt do to some germ somewhere. Have you heard about it?

Are you one of those people who work better under pressure? I am. I have to be because time is as precious a commodity as money is. I think the key to being productive, especially on deadline, is to be able to work through distractions.

Better yet, eliminate them whenever possible.

Here are my tactics to focusing on getting a high volume of quality work done. These are good habits not just when you’re under pressure, but anytime. I think these can apply to anyone in any job, but they are most valuable to small business owners and entrepreneurs who have a lot at stake. After all, distractions are costly. Here are a few tips to help you work through them.

Quit responding to email.

My email doesn’t have an alarm to let me know another one has arrived. Good and bad. Good, because it would drive me crazy. Bad, because I have a tendency to check it all the time, which is a huge time leak. Now I check it first thing in the morning, right before lunch, and once in the afternoon. That’s it. No one is entitled to an instantaneous response. Let’s face it, most email communication is low grade stuff that can wait or be ignored.

Stop answering the phone.

When I’m under the gun, I let it go to voice mail. I’ll check messages late in the morning and mid-afternoon. I can still make call backs within a few hours of getting a message, and my clients are fine with that. I return late afternoon messages the following morning.

Work in time chunks.

I’d rather work on three things for a half hour than one project for an hour and a half. So chunking my time into 30 minute segments lets me jump into a project without it seeming to be a huge time commitment. Guess what – when I’m on a roll, I keep going on that one project. After all, these rules aren’t supposed to be handcuffs.

Make all your phone calls at once, if possible.

I can bang out a lot of calls in 30 minutes, and I’m better on the phone when I get cooking. I like calling early and late in the day. Everyone has a meeting at 10 and 2, it seems. Friday afternoons are a great time for appointment setting. At the end of the week, your prospect is relaxed and often easier to reach.

Don’t get the mail till the end of the day.

I pick up my mail either very early or very late in the day. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is my money time. I don’t buy gas, go to the dry cleaners, or sift through mail during this time period. I tend to do a lot of business lunches and I belong to a lunch time Rotary Club. Otherwise, I’m eating at my desk. I’m not going to spend my most valuable time of the day going through mail. I do it when I’m chilling out at home.

This is what works for me. Got anything I left out that works for you? Call me at 330-342-1255 and let me know. I’d love to hear about it!