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August 4, 2012

18 minutes

When do you find yourself being most productive?  Is it when you are working on something on and off – a little bit here or there?  When you are in the middle of something and you have to answer the phone?

This doesn’t work well for me at all.  And whether you realize it or not, it probably doesn’t work well for you either.  Statistics show that it doesn’t work well for most people.

Research shows that when you are working on a project, and get interrupted (even if it is just a phone call, an email, someone walking into your office, a text alert, etc.), it takes 18 MINUTES for you to fully get back into the zone you were in for you to be the most productive again.  18 minutes!

Boy have I noticed this in my own work life/home life to be oh so true.  When I am fully concentrating on getting a report done at work, even the slightest interruption puts me off track.  Even the vision of someone walking past my office can cause me to lose my train of thought!

I have found myself MOST productive when I block everything else out, turn off all notifications, turn off my phone, close the door to my office (whoops, I don’t have one!), and “hunker down” and focus.  I sometimes will even go into a different spot at the office or reserve a conference room just so I can focus on what I am working on.

The Real Christian BusinessMan needs to not be discouraged by interruptions but be encouraged by your work and all that you are doing!  Think about setting up some boundaries and processes that will help you do your best work.  Put a specific deadline on when you will stop and check email.  Close the door to your office.  Turn off the email notification sound/pop up so you won’t even “see” what the email is that someone has sent you.  Give yourself a set time to look at your smart phone.  1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, etc. whatever it is.  Be very intentional about this. Put things into place that will help.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23 (NIV84)

Gods wants us to do things well and He delights in us and the work that we do.

What are some things that you could change right now that would help your work time to be less “interrupted”?

3 Comments on “18 minutes

Jack Malloy
August 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

Sometimes those interruptions are divine appointments – people whom God put in our path because He wants us to show His love to them through us, or vice-versa. So how do we discern the difference between those interruptions that are simply distractions versus those that are divine interventions?

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RealChristianBusinessMan
August 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

Wow. Great point Jack. The Holy Spirit comes to mind for me in that situation. I would hope the Spirit would help my discernment.

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Dan Kopp
August 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Great post! I have found that waking up earlier than I want to and getting to the office (which is in our basement!) before everybody wakes up is the best and most productive time of the day for me. And like Jack wrote I need to be willing to serve my wife when the ‘interruptions’ I encounter are often my kids!

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