You don’t have to be Captain Obvious to know that business owners are pulled in a million directions. If you are a business owner, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Distractions are EVERYWHERE and you need systems in place to get and stay focused.
Here are six tips that will help block distractions and keep you focused:
Invest in a VOIP Phone System, such as Vonage Business. It is inexpensive and sounds legit! Voice Over IP provides you with a “virtual receptionist” which is basically an automated answering memo that gives an extension directory. You can hire someone to professional voice your recording (we hired Justin Paul) or simply make the recording yourself. Either way, this will provide your customers with a friendly and professional option to be connected to the correct person. I suggest giving your name in the list of options, but program the phone to connect to your receptionist so that he/she can screen the call before you take it (double screening will prevent even more distractions). Keep in mind that VOIP systems allow for a virtual setup. Your employees do not need to be in the office to have an extension. Nifty, huh?!! Another added benefit that I LOVE: this setup allows for customized hold commercials that tell your customers about your business while they are waiting to be connected.
Keep your office door shut during peak traffic hours of the day. I would consider the 7-9am, lunch, 3-4pm hours as our busiest/high-traffic hours. Keeping your office door closed while you’re working will prevent people from striking up an unplanned discussion. If they have something important to discuss, then they will knock. Trust me.
Post common/frequently asked questions on your website and advertise the link to your FAQs on all emails, voicemails, phone recordings, and flyers. This may sound stupid, but branding that the common questions can be found on your website will direct people to your website when they eventually have a question. Not only is that a great organic way to optimize your website on search engines, but it will also prevent your customers from distracting you with minor/generic questions.
Tell your customers that it is OKAY to text or email. My boss’ voicemail says, “Thanks for calling. Please leave a detailed message or send me a text.” Believe it or not, customers love to text! The response is quick and to the point. Technology is a faster way to respond AND it knocks out the time-consuming chit-chat so that you can get straight to the point. I know that sounds harsh, but would you rather spend 30-minutes talking to Mrs. Jones about her sick cat or finishing up that estimate for a potential big sale? Yes, you did need to build a relationship with your customers, but you can choose to do that at their scheduled time.
Turn off your social media notifications.TURN OFF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA NOTIFICATIONS. Turn off your social media notifications. Should I say it one more time? Turn OFF your social media notifications. Bottom line: Check your social media before work, during lunch, after work, and before bed. Yes, Boss, this applies to you.
Schedule meetings with yourself. If you have a project that you need to complete, then block off the necessary time on your calendar as a meeting. Shut your door, turn your chat to “away”, minimize your email, set your phone to voicemail only, and tell your receptionist that you are in a distraction-free meeting. Maybe this is a good idea for when you work on your Business Budget. Get the project done and the reward yourself with a coffee break.