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Interruption Management

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Notes from "The Power of Focus" - Interruption Management

Notes from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt

        People who are busy all the time will never get anywhere in life if they lack focus. For such a short word focus packs power.

     * Steam rising from a boiling pot is unfocused. Steam surging through a turbine engine will propel vehicles. Light from a flame is unfocused. Light from a laser beam is so highly focused that it will cut steel. 

     * The unfocused in business or career might do well but frequently wonder if they are living up to their potential. They promise themselves that someday, it will be different. They stay busy doing things that seem urgent, but as time passes they don’t seem to get far. They might have good products or services but haven’t found ways to turn them into integrated systems that can bring large contracts or bigger deals.

     * Focus on personal identity – in 25 words or less, who are you as a person without using your name, address, age, gender, education credentials, social status, position, religious affiliation or nationality. 

    What do you value most? 
    What one thing do you worry about most? 
    What one thing do you talk about most? 
    Which of your talents have you developed most fully and rely on most often?
    What challenges do you find most appealing? 
    What are you most proud of? 
    What would you like to have done differently? 
    What are the three keys to your personal identity?

     * Focus on professional purpose – in 12 words or less exactly what do you do? 

    What is your guiding or controlling area in life? 
    What is your strategy for implementing that idea? 
    How would your staff describe your professional purpose? 
    What are your three greatest strengths, and how are you capitalizing on them?

     * Focus on your career vision – are you a calculated risk taker? 

    How does what you do all day square with how you see yourself? 
    What is your most vital role? 
    What is your secondary role? 
    What role do you want to play? 
    What is your career mission? 
    How do you know when you are accomplishing it?

     * Focus on your market – what is your unique niche in the market place? 
    What do you do better than anybody else? 
    Who are your customers, and what do they need given that you do better than anyone else? 
    What is their perception of value? 
    And of you?

     * Focus on your products – as an insider to your market, how can you capitalize on what you do to leverage to your differential advantage the unique customer needs?
     * Once you achieve focus in the five key areas, amazing things happen. You can constantly redirect your time, energy, talent, expertise and money from areas of low yield to high yield. You can systematically develop your most productive strengths and compensate for your most costly weaknesses. 

    You can qualify the results that you expect, and measure your performance hourly, daily, weekly, and annually. You can identify obstacles or problems and effectively attack them. You can identify the most productive ideas and go after the greatest opportunities. You can communicate clearly and persuasively with people who can help you achieve your goals. You can approach nearly every opportunity with complete confidence. You have a whole lot more fun at everything that you do.

    When you are in focus, your life takes on new clarity. Your mind focuses your thoughts, feelings, and actions to form a clear picture of who you are and where you are going. When you are focused you go far.

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Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Hazards of Noise - Interruption Management

The noise of modern life may affect "speech and language development" in the very young, according to a study that found the auditory parts of the brains of young mice are slower to organize properly in the presence of continuous sounds. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, reared a group of rats in an environment of continuous background noise and found that their brain circuits that receive and interpret sound did not develop at the same rate as animals that were raised in a quieter environment.

Edward F. Chang and Michael Merzenich, co-authors of the study appearing in the journal Science, said that the continuous noise delayed the organization of auditory neurons during a critical two- to three-week period after the rat pups were born. Although the rat is not a perfect model for what happens in humans, the authors note, the study does suggest that high levels of noise might  affect some language learning in infants.

"These findings suggest that environmental noise, which is commonly present in contemporary child-rearing environments, can potentially contribute to auditory and language-related development delays," the authors write in Science. The authors noted that, although the brain development was delayed in rats exposed to the noise, “their brains did eventually mature normally.”

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Disruption by Scores - Interruption Management

The NFL Red Zone Channel offers what it calls "showcasing" which means presenting all scoring or potential scoring moments of every active NFL game. This is exactly what stands don’t need!

Years ago, it was enough to see one game, and read about the rest in the sports page the next day. Then it was enough to have the "sports machine" with Washington DC's George Michael recap everything on Sunday night. Then it was enough to go to a sports bar and see a couple games on at the same time.

Now, expectations have gone through the roof. The ability to see every potential scoring opportunity as it’s occurring? -- I can only imagine what will happen to the health and well-being of the typical fan. After all, while they're watching others, it's not convenient to exercise, not to mention the level of disruption.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Awareness Fatigue, National Distraction - Interruption Management

Kim Strassel, writing in the the Wall Street Journal a few years back, pointed out the fallacy of too many days and dates to keep in mind:

Chase Annual Events contains more than 12,000 entries and is more than 700 pages long. The book allows any sponsor of an event to send in an item and will publish, it free of charge, though it limits entries to those that are of national or broadly regional interest or that seem to have some special entertainment value. In one month, we find Listen to Your Inner Critic Month, Freedom From Bullies at Work Week, Create a Great Funeral Day, National Be Bald and Be Free Day, National Sarcastics Month and National She Loves God Week.

Awareness campaigns have become so commonplace these days that even presidents throw them about willy-nilly. Dozens of presidential proclamations abound ranging from National Safe Boating Week to Spirit of the ADA Month (celebrating the American With Disabilities Act) to National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun Violence.

The result of awareness-day fatigue is that some of the more serious groups -- those that had previously accomplished some charitable good with awareness days -- have thought about getting out.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Unlimited Information, Unlimited Distraction - Interruption Management

Too much information violates our senses and even becomes harmful. As you receive more information, you experience stress, anxiety, and even helplessness. Your perception of breathing space is adversely and directly influenced by the more news, information and details that you ingest, or believe you have to ingest.

* In 1302, the Sorbonne Library in Paris housed 1,338 books, most handwritten, representing nearly all of humankind's accumulated knowledge spanning a few thousand years.

* In 2017, at least 730,000 books are published each year -- more than 2,000 a day.

In today's business environment we are being pulled in many directions at once! Recognize, with the clarity of death, that life is finite; you cannot wistfully ingest the daily deluge of information and communication and expect to achieve balance.

Don't passively yield to the din and settle for living your life in what's left over after each day's onslaught. Hereafter make sensible choices about what is best ignored and what merits your time and attention. Take charge of your immediate environment to reduce the number of interruptions that are under your control.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Distracted Walking - Interruption Management

The new ultimate interruption: Distracted Walking.  In how many of the death's reported below might a pedestrian on a cell phone been involved?

from the Wall Street Journal: Nationwide, pedestrian-vehicle fatalities have been rising in recent years after decades of decline. Though some experts caution that it may be too early to call it a trend, the increases are giving urgency to efforts by transportation experts and urban planners to make American cities safer for walking.

In 1975, more than 7,500 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across the US. By 2009, the figure dropped to a low of 4,109. But in 2011, U.S. Department of Transportation figures indicated a rise to 4,432, amounting to 14% of all traffic deaths that year, which totaled 32,367.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Wasted Time and Resources - Interruption Management

Here are various proclamations about wasted time, resources, and days; sad if even half true!

* Americans waste 9 million hours per day searching for misplaced items.

* The average adult spends 16 hours a year searching for lost keys.

* 80% of the items we file, we never look at again

* The average person spends 8 months of his/her life reading junk mail.

* 90 million trees are consumed each year to provide paper for junk mail.

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Jeff Davidson - Expert at Managing Interruption Overload

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Jeff Davidson: Bio

Managing Interruption Overload

Is the constant crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down, pulling you off course, and impeding your effectiveness? By the end of your workday, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

If you're continually facing too many interruptions and too many demands, you need Breathing Space.

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