Say no to time thieves

Make sure you're focusing and not allowing time thieves to take advantage of you!

Did you know interruptions consume 28 percent of an average workday? It's true. And interruptions can be even more time-stealing if you're working from home and not setting limits. Case in point: the other day I was working from home. That's typically a great place to work, especially during school hours. But, one of my kids was home sick. She slept most of the time, but still needed checking, food and comfort. Then, I answered the home phone, instead of letting the answering machine grab it. A mom looking for help with the Lacrosse car wash this weekend. And finally, my oldest signed himself out of school and arrived home with a big project.

And what time does that leave for the things on my list? None, if I allow that to happen. But I can't. I've made a commitment to my business, to me and my team. If you're looking for a job or starting a business, this is vitally important. No matter what comes up, you need to remember that if you don't manage through the interruptions and still accomplish your tasks for today, you'll feel more stressed and less available tomorrow. And that ruins your weekend.

For me, my kids and for everyone else, I need to find a way to get it all done. Here's how:

1. Don't lose steam. Even if you need to take an hour out to comfort, to help, to run an errand, to go to an unexpected meeting, to whatever, get back on track as soon as you can.

2. If you're frustrated, let it out. Go for a walk. Express your frustration. Simply tell your kids, your spouse, your friend, your coworker that you're on a deadline so you need to make this meeting, appointment, errand, call, whatever, quick. To the point. It's ok to tell others you're rushed.

3. Practice saying this little word: NO. I'm not good at it yet, and you probably aren't either. Let's work on it, shall we?

4. Remember each day is a journey, just as your career and life are a journey. There is no straight path. Look at it as a continuum. Perhaps during this interruption, something you are learning, listening to or helping with holds a kernel of truth you can apply when you're back tackling your job at hand.

5. Just do it. Really. Now that you've paused to read this tip, you are fired up to get back at the task at hand. No more excuses.

I feel better. Hope you do, too. According to many surveys across numerous fields, we all want to feel joy and a sense of purpose about the work we do, the career we pursue. Have you found that? You deserve it. In this time of uncertainty, make a plan for yourself. Remember, it's about defining yourself in one word, and then defining your passions—your hobbies, interests, loves. Within those things, you'll find the answers, and you can begin to pursue them. The answers to fulfillment are within you. And—if the task you're putting off is one that is crucial to your new passion path, you really have no excuse! See #5.

Have a great weekend! Follow me on Twitter, and I'd love to be a friend on Facebook!