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Mastering Distraction and More Tips for April

Like applying an immediacy filter to scheduling and rewarding staff name-checked in positive online reviews.

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Mastering Distraction and More Tips for April

PRODUCTIVITYBeep Beep

Some jobs, such as managing a store or medical practice, are prone to interruptions, which can play havoc on achieving your goals for the day. In 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, And Get The Right Things Done, Peter Bregman recommends the following: Set your phone to beep every hour. When it does, do two things: Take a deep breath, then ask yourself, “Am I doing what I need to be doing right now?” If you’re with a customer, ignore it. If you’re doing something constructive, you’ll feel good. If you’d intended to spend five minutes looking for a new umbrella online but have fallen down a 1970s TV trivia hole it will pull you out and get you back on track.

MANAGEMENTForce a Real Decision

The next time you ask an employee or partner for their opinion on a business-related matter — say to rate a job candidate, a new line, or a business proposition — ask them for a score between 1-10 but tell them they can’t choose seven. Seven is a fudge, says speaker and author Kyle Maynard. Force the person to choose between at least an eight — they’re genuinely excited by the prospect — or a six … which usually indicates they’d pass on it.

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MANAGEMENTFilter for Immediacy

Life is an exercise in prioritization, but it can be hard to remember that when it comes to some vague unfilled time slot weeks away. “When you get an invitation to do something in the future, ask yourself: would you accept this if it was scheduled for tomorrow? Not too many promises will pass that immediacy filter,” notes WIRED’s Kevin Kelly on his blog.

COMMUNICATIONSchedule Emails

It can feel good to crush some work on the weekend but as a biz owner, remember that your staff aren’t thinking about work 24/7, especially on the weekends. (They’ll actually be better workers if they can effectively switch off for a time every week.) In line with this, use “Schedule Send” to ensure your email arrives during business hours, no matter when you send it, says Tim Harford, writing in his The Undercover Economist in The Financial Times.

WELLNESSEnjoy the Cookie

If you’re going to reward yourself for your hard work with something less than healthy, say a cookie or a free roam through social media, at least enjoy it, Karden Rabin, a wellness expert, tells Adobe’s online creativity resource 99U. “If you’re thinking, I want to be nice to myself and have a cookie, you’re going to miss the pleasure principle of eating that cookie if you’re on your phone and distracting yourself at the same time.” Savor the moment, she says.

MARKETINGReward Shout-Outs

Online reviews drive sales. If a staffer’s name is popping up in reviews, more people will come in and ask for that person. To encourage such excellent service, the employees at Wag Nation, an independent pet store in Newport, RI, are generously rewarded each time they are positively reviewed with a bonus that could be anything from store credit to cash to help with their car payment.

MANAGEMENTOut with the Old

In his new book Mind Of The Market, Michael Shermer warns against three “old brain” biases: 1. We’re wired to cooperate, but we also act irrationally as though others have our best interest in mind; 2. We’re always comparing ourselves to others. Remember, if the optical over the road had a huge holiday season and you had a good one, you’ve still had a good one, no matter how the profits match up; 3. Beware the endowment effect: People tend to overvalue what they already own. Be objective when evaluating your inventory.

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