Think about the time of day when you’re most productive, meaning the time when you get the most work done in the least amount of time.
You likely have one of two answers: early morning or late night. Manyprefer to wake up early to get a jumpstart on the day, while others choose to stay up late and clean out their inboxes or wrap up a project.
Regardless of when you’re most productive – and it might not be either early morning or late night – everyone’s productive time has one thing in common: unavailability.
That’s right. To be productive, you need to be unavailable to others.
Why do most people choose early morning or late night to get things done? Is it because they like working extra hours? No. It’s because that’s when no one is contacting them with requests or questions. They can focus on their tasks, not others’ work.
Think about all those times when you sat down and tried to get your work done, only to get interrupted by a phone call or receive a handful of emails. You look up at the clock an hour later and realize that you haven’t even touched your work.
This is why you need to be unavailable when you’re serious about getting your work done.
How To Be Unavailable and Get More Done
Doing these things can help yourby making you unavailable during the workday:
- Set expectations with your colleagues so they know that every day from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., for example, you are unavailable unless it is an emergency.
- Put your cell phone on silent and in your desk drawer.
- Set your desk phone on meeting mode. Don’t answer it or listen unless it is related to what you need to get done that day.
- Do not look at emails (unless that’s on your list of things to do). If you need to reference an email, do not let yourself read any others.
- Close all windows in your browser. Facebook and Twitter can wait.
- Close your office door or put on headphones to visually signal that you are unavailable.
Don’t feel guilty about not responding to people if they contact you during your productive hour. Consider that period of time a personal meeting. Just as those colleagues, vendors, or clients would wait to hear back from you if you were in a team meeting, they can wait until you are done with your personal meeting.
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