Demands on Your Time Without Your Consent

A notification on your smartphone that you have just received a text message is a demand on your time. It requires that you pick up your phone, open your messaging app, and read the text. There was no request beforehand to ask whether you are available to respond to a text, there was just a text.

An email is a significant demand on your time as well. It requires that you open the email and read the content. That may not sound like a heavy burden as it pertains to time or a cognitive load on your brain and your energy, except that you must decide what to do with that email having read it. If you were to look at your inbox right now, you’re likely to see a great number of emails you have not yet made any determination on what you are or are not going to do about the content therein.

An interruption, be it a phone call or someone walking in your door to ask you a question, is a demand on your time. It’s very difficult for people to not answer a phone that is ringing, even their cell phone, and even when they’re in a meeting with other human beings. A human being who darkens your doorway needing a question answered, help with a project, or your time and attention for some other need, is impossibly difficult to ignore. It feels rude, and it is especially difficult if that person is in your charge because you are responsible for them.

You signed up for demands on your time when you won your dream client’s account. When you took that client from your competitor, you signed on to be accountable for the strategic outcomes you promised you would deliver. When there is a challenge delivering those results, your dream client is going to call you, or text you, or email you, expecting that you are going to be there to help them – just like you said you would during the sales process. Even though you agreed to this, you had no idea when these challenges were going to occur, and you had no way to make sure they only occurred when you had the time and bandwidth to handle them.

In the Outcomes Planner we produce, we provide tear sheets that allow you to plan for 90 minutes of focus time. The reason we recommend you do three of these blocks a day is because, if you can find a way to work for about half of your workday, you will radically improve your results. It won’t be 10X, it will be more like 100X improvement over the course of a year, specifically because you are blocking out distractions and eliminating the demands on your time. This doesn’t mean you ignore the demands, it simply means that you bundle them together, so you can control your focus and attention, which is now the currency of success in an age of infinite distractions and an equally large number of demands on your time and attention.

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