It’s Time to Eliminate Total Access to You!
There was a time, when I believed that everyone and everything should have access to me, as I genuinely believed that this was the only way to keep on top of things. Fortunately, if you’re lucky, wisdom comes with age and you start to revisit the things that you absolutely believed in like gospel. Now many years later, I have discovered, that if you truly want to stay behind things, you have no choice but to limit the amount of access that you allow people and things to have to you as a person. Let me give you some examples of what I mean.
Open-Door Policy. When I was managing teams, in my attempt to promote an egalitarian work environment, the door to my office was always open to anyone that wanted to come to speak with me. I didn’t want any of my team members thinking that I felt removed from them and therefore I gave them constant access to my ear. I quickly discovered that this did not go as I had planned – very often, those that came into my office only wanted to vent, complain, and gossip! The times when someone actually came to propose a solution could have been counted on one hand – to say that this was demoralizing for me would be an understatement, as my intentions really had been noble. That said, I realized that the buck stopped with me and the problem was that I did not set boundaries for this open-door policy that I had put in place. Instead of helping me and the team to work better, I only ended up with a stream of unproductive interruptions that totally robbed me of my concentration and creativity. My new approach to my present open-door policy is very different – it has clear boundaries, rules, and limits. Colleagues now know that I am available at certain times of the day, let’s say, 9.00am – 10.00am, and unless it’s a matter of life or death, after that time they will find a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door. Problems brought to me must be accompanied with a potential solution and complaining and lamenting are completely off limits. This new approach has created a very positive mindset change in everyone that I work with and my concentration and creativity have increased immensely! My thought process is no longer unnecessarily interrupted, which means that I can now dedicate myself more to high-worth activates instead of unproductive narrative.
Constant Notifications. Recently, I was in a restaurant with some HR clients, and all I witnessed during the lunch was the sound of phone notifications and people constantly checking their phones to see what they had just been notified about. It is impossible to give your best to the person with whom you are having lunch if you are constantly checking your phone. Let’s leave aside for the moment that it’s very rude, it is very mentally draining to be constantly interrupting your train of thought by continuously checking your phone. Multi-tasking was once what everyone wanted to achieve, but studies now show, that we achieve much higher productivity and quality input when we do one thing well at a time. If you need to work on something important, or if you are having lunch with a client or prospect, turn off all the notifications so that you can give what you are doing or the person you are with one hundred percent of your attention.
Appointments with No Clear Agenda. I get many requests from people wishing to meet with me, but now after having wasted my time on too many occasions to mention, I now refuse to accept an appointment unless there is a clear reason or agenda as to why the person wants to meet with me. Very often, when I push for the reason for which they want to meet up, I discover that a simple email with a presentation document can be enough to suffice at this stage, therefore saving me a pointless meeting that could take up several hours of my day. If people are serious and value their own time as well as yours, they will understand perfectly why you need to know up front the reason for the meeting. Never forget – there are a lot of people that have nothing better to do than to waste your time!
Pointless Activities –When I coach self-employed individuals for example, one of the first things that I do is to set an hourly value on their time – for example; €250,00 per hour. I then explain to them that for every hour they waste on pointless and fruitless activities, they are essentially not banking that hourly sum! We all get twenty-four hours in a day, but one of the things that really makes the difference between being successful and unsuccessful, is how we use our time. Hours spent watching reality television, reading books that don’t help you to grow, hanging out with people who only want to complain and stay stuck, are hours that you can never get back and could be used to take your life to the next level. Make sure that you give your mind access to quality television and reading, people that want to grow, and that you cut off access from negative thinking, people, and watching too much news.
One of the things that I teach people is that it is perfectly fine to be selfish – in fact, the more “selfish” you are, the more you can help others. Allowing people, technology, and any other outside source to have too much access to you never really feeds or nourishes us. The constant interruptions are devastating to our creative process flow and drain us mentally much more than we realize. In order to prosper and grow, we have no choice but to limit the amount of access that we allow to ourselves as people – try putting into practice what I have just talked about, and when you have a moment, please take the time to let me know how you are doing!