Did you know that distractions consume an average of 2.1 hours each day? What a waste of time!

And, to make matters worse, getting your mind back on track after you’ve been interrupted is a real challenge. It can take from 5 to 25 minutes to get back to the task at hand after even a minor interruption like a phone call, a quick email check or a game of solitaire on your cell phone — which is my downfall.

In my new book, Agile Selling, I share numerous ideas to help you deal with distractions without sounding like a total jerk.

Here are a few ways to increase your sales productivity:

 

1. Start by focusing on prevention.

Personally, when I’m really working on something, my office door is closed. To keep people from popping in, I even have a “do not disturb” sign where I add in timeframes. It’s easier to focus on preventing interruptions than being interrupted and then trying to get back on track.

2. If you’re in a busy office, wear headphones.

And, if people still feel like it’s okay to interrupt, tape a “do not disturb” sign on your back.

3. Change your location.

Don’t be afraid to move to a different area, like a conference room or a coffee shop. Just get yourself away from those who interrupt you.

But sometimes even those strategies don’t work. Here’s what you do then.

Think about all the times you’ve been interrupted by a colleague who says, “Got a few minutes?” or “I have a quick question.” If that happens a lot, you need to have a response ready. Here’s what you say: “Is it critical to talk now or can it wait for 60 minutes?”

At first you may feel rude doing this, but the truth is most things aren’t urgent; they can wait. You have to remember that your time is valuable. Even a short interruption can cost you a significant amount of time — that you’ll never, ever get back.

Proactively dealing with distractions is one of the best ways to add more hours to your overloaded day.

When you proactively deal with distractions, you’ll be able to get a whole lot more done while you’re at work. And, best of all, you’ll have some free time again.

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