We live in the interruption age of the interruption society. We are continually and relentlessly interrupted. These interruptions break our concentration. We lose our focus, and it takes us much longer to perform a poorer quality outcome.
While you are reading this, it’s more than likely that you have your email open. You might also be logged into a number of social media sites and, undoubtedly you have your smart phone on next to you. If you are at work, your phone will ring or someone will walk into your office and put a to-do on your list. It is nearly impossible for you to make it through this post without an interruption.
This is no way to work. It’s no way to live. Some things are worth doing without interruption. You need sacred time.
My sacred time
Sacred time is time that you set aside to give something your full attention and your full focus. You set this time aside, and you eliminate all distractions. No background noise, no interruptions. You close the door, you close the browser windows, and you close out anything outside of what you have chosen to give yourself over to.
For me, my sacred time is 5:30 AM every morning (lately, it’s been 5:00 AM). No one wants your attention at 5:30 in the morning. Writing is important to me, and so I block off an hour an half each day to write.
I also have some meetings that require my full attention. I always close my email and, when I don’t have to take notes, I shut the laptop lid. This allows me to give the people I am speaking with my undivided attention, and it allows me to listen (really listen).
It is amazing how much work you can do when you aren’t interrupted. It’s even more amazing how much the quality of your work improves when you aren’t interrupted. A single uninterrupted hour weighs a lot more than an hour of interruptions and scattered attention.
How to have sacred time
First you have to train yourself to have sacred time. You have to train yourself to give up your addiction to interruptions. Know that when you plug back into the world, your email will be waiting for you. So will your Twitter stream, and so will your status updates.
So will the long line of people that clamor for your attention, along with the people who have been desperate to make some commitment on your behalf. You also have to train others that there are times when you have committed to doing something important enough to you to give it the full power of your focus. You have to ask them to leave you alone until your uninterrupted time is complete. At first, you will be interrupted. But the more you ask (and hang signs on your door, and turn on your Do Not Disturb, and turn off your email), the more you will find that people comply.
Plan your sacred time, and give yourself over to something during the time, be it work (like prospecting), personal development (like reading), a relationship (pick a few important relationships), or whatever you might like to accomplish. You will find that you get more done towards your goals, the quality is better, and your productivity will skyrocket. You’ll also be much happier.
Do you have sacred time, time that you set aside without interruptions?
How many times were you interrupted while reading this post?
What should you be setting time aside to do that would be better if it had your full attention?
Who would you need to work with to allow you to have sacred time?
What distractions would you have to eliminate?