Do you want to become a great public speaker or hone your existing speaking skills?

Have you been asked to give a presentation and are scared to death and aren’t sure how to pull it off?

Do you want to really wow your audience/client and get spin off speaking gigs?

Look no further!

Monica and LisaSpeak Up is back! This is a coaching and training program for aspiring speakers, as well as speakers with experience that want to “up their game” and knock it out of the park! Drawing upon my background as a performer, lawyer, professional speaker, and speaker coach, I will pull the speaker out of you so that you can ace your speaking engagements with confidence.

I have successfully presented this speaking program live in many locations across the U.S., including New York, Seattle and New Orleans. For the second year, I am offering it as a virtual program so that you can take advantage of it no matter where you live from the comfort of your own home or office. No travel expenses involved! It is ultra-convenient. All you need is a phone and/or computer.

And it gets even better! Once again a wonderful colleague will co-facilitate it along with me. And she’s not just anyone. My partner in crime is Monica Ricci, who is an accomplished speaker extraordinaire. In fact, Monica and I have shared the stage together a few ti mes now with amazing results. We have been called The Dynamic Duo! (Click here to check out my blog post about how Monica and I came together to present this program live a few years ago in New Orleans!)

Please join us for this amazing 8 week teleclass-based group program that will help you:

checkbox Conduct engaging, informative and interactive presentations for audiences large and small.
checkbox Learn how to prepare and deliver presentations of different types, lengths, and targeted to different audiences.
checkbox Improve your oral and nonverbal communication styles.
checkbox Inspire and motivate participants, exude confidence and enthusiasm, and establish credibility.
checkbox Overcome your fear of public speaking and use that fear to your advantage.
checkbox Increase speaking confidence.
checkbox Discover how to connect with the audience, use humor, and let your unique personality and style shine.
checkbox Learn how to effectively handle speaking snafus, such as interruptions, hecklers, and technical difficulties.
checkbox Get coaching and feedback from two professional speakers who make a significant portion of their income through speaking.
checkbox Learn how to use speaking as an income stream and a marketing funnel to build your business.

Whether conducting trainings, workshops, keynotes, or any other type of presentation, this program will help you become a more dynamic speaker!

Back-to-School Time is the Perfect Opportunity to Participate in a Program Like This.

public_speakerWe’ll start Thursday, September 8th and go for 8 weeks and end on October 27th. This program can be done from the comfort of your own home or office. You can be lounging by your pool, swinging in the hammock, or sitting on your deck with a glass of lemonade. That is the beauty of a virtual program. All you need is your telephone, and perhaps a computer/tablet/smart phone if you want to take it a step further.

See all of the Speak Up Program schedule and description of services here: https://www.lisamontanaro.com/speakup

Special Bonus for the First 5 People to Register:

  • bonusAn audio interview of Lisa Montanaro titled “Breakthrough to Big: Speaking as a Breakthrough Moment for an Entrepreneur” from a telesummit she participated in as a guest expert hosted by Cathy Goodwin.
  • An ebook by Monica Ricci titled “Your Life Organized: It’s Not About The Stuff.”

testimonial-Deborah_CabralPsst… I’m even offering an early bird registration rate so you don’t have to dip into your summer fun stash! Check it out.

“Speak” to you soon!

Most of us want to be more productive and focused. We want to get more done in less time, and work smarter, as opposed to harder. But we also live in the real world, where we have responsibilities, to-do’s piling up, people relying on us, and a laundry list of tasks that we want to get to.

overwhelmed_with_workProductivity isn’t one size fits all, and it is not a bull’s eye that we can always reach. Productivity lives alongside us every day and we are constantly tweaking it and changing it and paying attention to it and reassessing it. I know that sounds exhausting but it’s really not. Look at it as a constant companion that’s helping you get more done, but that also recognizes you are human and that you need a break.

So how do you stay productive and focused, while also giving yourself a break now and then? Enter the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo (yes, an Italian, hence the name, which means tomato in Italian) in the late 1980s. The premise behind the Pomodoro Technique is that taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates burn out and distractions, and improves focus.

So how does it work?

pomodoro_techniqueEach Pomodoro lasts for 25 minutes, and is a highly focused work session, followed by a 5 minute break. After 4 Pomodoro intervals, you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.

You may be thinking… “25 minutes? That’s it. How easy!” Not so fast. The Pomodoro is a highly focused work session, which means no interruptions or distractions are allowed. By other people for sure. But also, not even by ourselves. We tend to task-switch every 3 minutes according to David Meyer, a researcher at the University of Michigan who studies multi-tasking and task switching. That means that we interrupt ourselves constantly throughout the day. We may be in the middle of a task, and think of something else and move to another task (“Oh wait, I forgot to send that email earlier today. Let me just do that now.”) With Pomodoro, you focus on the task at hand only. When you complete your 25 minute Pomodoro interval, then you allow interruptions, self imposed or otherwise.

The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is its simplicity. You use a timer to break down work into manageable intervals, separated by short breaks. You know there is a light at the end of the tunnel in 25 minutes, so you dive in with full mental acuity and give your work intervals your all. You tend to be more focused and productive, and during your breaks, you give yourself a real break.

What do you do during your breaks? Grab snacks, drink some water, stretch your legs and body, pet your dog, say hello to someone, use the restroom, check social media or email, etc.

The Pomodoro Technique can work well for anyone… students, professionals in an office environment, self employed folks who work from home in an unstructured environment, etc. Indeed, the structure of the Pomodoro Technique is often what makes it work so well.

If you have ADD, the Pomodoro Technique can be very powerful. It helps you focus on the task at hand, knowing that you get a built in break after 25 minutes. You may need to shorten your Pomodoros at first to work up to 25 minutes. Likewise, if you can last longer than 25 minutes and still be highly focused, then stretch your Pomodoros a bit. But not too long, as studies show that too long, and you start to lose focus.

For more information about the Pomodoro Technique, visit http://pomodorotechnique.com, where you will find videos, books, a timer, etc. You can also download the app to help guide you through your work intervals and breaks. Ready to take a bite out of that tomato? Try the Pomodoro Technique and see if it helps you be more productive.

Imagine you are on a roll, engrossed in a project, in the “flow.” All of a sudden, the phone rings, an e-mail alarm goes off, a colleague is standing in your doorway, a text message is coming through on your smart phone, etc. Ah, interruptions. If you didn’t define all of those as an interruption, think again.

Experts estimate that the average American is interrupted every 3-4 minutes. Some people find this number to be too frequent, others find it extremely low. It depends on what your definition of an interruption is. My definition is anything that you didn’t want to, or expect to, happen at that time. I equate an interruption to a weed in my garden –- if it doesn’t belong there, or if I don’t want it there, it is a weed. Same with an interruption.

So how do you avoid getting sidetracked? It is not always easy, and it depends on what your job is, and who is interrupting you, but try some of the following tactics.

Think of an interruption as an offer. Start to think of an interruption as an offer, and your decision as to whether you will take the interruption as a counter-offer. It is okay to say “Thanks for your call/visit. I do want to speak with you, but now is not a good time. Can we talk/meet at 2:00 p.m. instead?” There. You just counter-offered. See if it works. It is certainly worth a try.

do_not_disturbCreate do-not-disturb time. Screen calls, or set up times of the day when you answer and return calls and let that be known to friends, family, and work colleagues. Utilize a “do not disturb” sign at the office when working on a tight deadline, close your office door, set “office hours” for visitors and colleagues, or go work in a conference room, library or coffee shop where you can hide. When I was practicing law, I often escaped to another location when writing an important court brief, or closed my door and left a sign-up sheet for people that stopped by that explained that I was on deadline and when I would surface for air.

All interruptions are not equal. Let’s face it –- some interruptions are more important than others. You probably need to take interruptions from certain people, like your boss, a sick child, etc. But not everyone. So be selective and if an interruption comes in that does not make the grade, don’t take it!

X marks the spot. Before you take an interruption, write down the very next action you were planning to take, how long you thought it would take, and whether you can delegate it to someone else. Often, the interruption itself is not as bad as playing catch-up after it. Taking the time to write down where you are and what you need to get back to can help you save precious time.

interruptionsPlan for interruptions in advance. If you work in an interruption-rich culture, you can only plan out 50% of your time to allow for 50% interruptions. For example, if your job is to put out “fires” all day, you can’t avoid interruptions as they are exactly what you should be handling. An example of this would be a sales manager in a car dealership whose job is to support the sales team on the floor, and to control and manage issues as they arise. This individual will be less able to avoid interruptions and should plan for them in his or her schedule, by blocking out time before or after “floor” time to get his or her project-related work done.

Preempt the interrupter. It is worth noting that supposedly 80% of our interruptions come from 20% of the people we come into contact with. Try to identify the frequent interrupters and start coming up with ways to cut them off before they occur. If you know someone always calls you to confirm a meeting, send a quick text/e-mail to let him or her know you are still on as scheduled. Or better yet, explain that it is your policy not to miss meetings and you do not need a reminder (you have your smart phone for that!), and that you will call in the rare event you need to cancel. Start taking control of the interruptions before they occur and stopping them at their source. Then, you won’t need to deal with as many interruptions in the first place.

Now, go forth and effectively deal with those interruptions so you can get some work done and stay in the “flow”!

Do you want to become a great public speaker or hone your existing speaking skills?

Have you been asked to give a presentation and are scared to death and aren’t sure how to pull it off?

Do you want to really wow your audience/client and get spin off speaking gigs?

SpeakUpSummerCamp-fireLook no further!

The Speak Up Summer Camp is back! After a successful launch last summer, we’re making this “camp” a tradition!

Speak Up is a coaching and training program for aspiring speakers, as well as speakers with experience that want to “up their game” and knock it out of the park! Drawing upon my background as a performer, lawyer, professional speaker, and speaker coach, I will pull the speaker out of you so that you can ace your speaking engagements with confidence.

I have successfully presented this speaking program live in many locations across the U.S., including New York, Seattle and New Orleans. For the second year, I am offering it as a virtual program so that you can take advantage of it no matter where you live from the comfort of your own home or office. No travel expenses involved! It is ultra-convenient. All you need is a phone and/or computer.

Lisa_and_Monica-NAPOAnd it gets even better! I’ve invited a colleague to be a guest faculty member for this LMG University program, and co-facilitate it along with me. And she’s not just anyone. My partner in crime is Monica Ricci, who is an accomplished speaker extraordinaire. In fact, Monica and I have shared the stage together a few ti mes now with amazing results. We have been called The Dynamic Duo! (Click here to check out my blog post about how Monica and I came together to present this program live a while back in New Orleans!)

Please join us for this amazing 8 week teleclass-based group program that will help you:

checkbox Conduct engaging, informative and interactive presentations for audiences large and small.
checkbox Learn how to prepare and deliver presentations of different types, lengths, and targeted to different audiences.
checkbox Improve your oral and nonverbal communication styles.
checkbox Inspire and motivate participants, exude confidence and enthusiasm, and establish credibility.
checkbox Overcome your fear of public speaking and use that fear to your advantage.
checkbox Increase speaking confidence.
checkbox Discover how to connect with the audience, use humor, and let your unique personality and style shine.
checkbox Learn how to effectively handle speaking snafus, such as interruptions, hecklers, and technical difficulties.
checkbox Get coaching and feedback from two professional speakers who make a significant portion of their income through speaking.
checkbox Learn how to use speaking as an income stream and a marketing funnel to build your business.

Whether conducting trainings, workshops, keynotes, or any other type of presentation, this program will help you become a more dynamic speaker!

Summer is the Perfect Time to Participate in a Program Like This.

summer_campWe’ll start Thursday, May 7th and go for 8 weeks (jumping over May 21st) and end on July 2nd. This program can be done from the comfort of your own home or office. You can be lounging by your pool, swinging in the hammock, or sitting on your deck with a glass of lemonade. That is the beauty of a virtual program. All you need is your telephone, and perhaps a computer/tablet/smart phone if you want to take it a step further.

We named this the Speak Up Summer Camp Program for a reason. Summer is a perfect time to take a virtual program. You want to enjoy your summer, and any travel you do will most likely be a family vacation. We get that!

See all of the Speak Up Summer Camp Program schedule and description of services here: https://www.lisamontanaro.com/speakup

Special Bonus for the First 5 People to Register:

bonusIf you are one of the first 5 to register, you get a bonus pre-program call with Lisa & Monica. In this hour long call, Lisa & Monica will share bonus content about how speaking catapulted their businesses, how it fits into their current business model, and some other juicy nuggets about speaking to whet your appetite. You will also have the opportunity to share your background with regard to speaking, share your reasons for registering, and set goals and intentions for the program. This is ONLY available t o the first 5 people that register, so hurry up and join us to get in on this bonus call!

testimonial-Deborah_CabralPsst… I’m even offering an early bird registration rate so you don’t have to dip into your summer fun stash! Check it out.

“Speak” to you soon!

So psyched to be the featured speaker at the July 23rd event hosted by the American Marketing Association chapter in Sacramento, CA. I’ll be presenting “Boost Your Productivity to Be More Successful!” If you are local, come join us. Should be a great event — here are more details:

productivity-July23rdWould you like to achieve new heights through greater organization and productivity?

Come learn tips and tools of the trade as productivity expert, Lisa Montanaro, provides solutions to real-life productivity problems. This fast-paced and entertaining presentation provides practical techniques for managing time, paper, information, projects, and yourself. Enhance your organizational and time management skills to become more productive, achieve your priorities, and make your business more successful.

Grab & Go Strategies:

  • Take control of your day by effective planning & scheduling.
  • Focus on your priorities and work more productively.
  • Handle interruptions and time wasters that drain productivity.
  • Overcome procrastination and minimize reactively running your business and life.
  • Delegate and use others more effectively.
  • Manage information overload.
  • Develop a personal action plan to enhance organizing & time management skills.

Schedule:

5:30-6:30 Registration and Networking/Cocktails/Appetizers

6:30-7:45 Presentation + 15 minutes for questions

Location:

Seasons 52
1689 Arden Way Suite 1065, Sacramento, California 95815

See the details here, and register here

Time is one of our most precious resources. Yet we battle daily to make the best use of it. This presentation addresses how to get more done in less time with less stress by maximizing your productivity and setting priorities. Learn to pinpoint where you need to take control. Improve your comprehension and focus and more effectively perform when juggling people, paper, and priorities. Topics Include: self-assessment, tools of time management, how to say no, project lists and to-do lists, conquering procrastination, the myth of multi-tasking, and dealing with interruptions.

There’s still “Time” to sign up for my upcoming course, Make Time for This! Effective Time Management through Pace University’s Professional Development Program. This event is open to the public, so come join me. Click here for details and to register.

Time is one of our most precious resources. Yet we battle daily to make the best use of it. This workshop addresses how to get more done in less time with less stress by maximizing your productivity and setting priorities. Learn to pinpoint where you need to take control. Improve your comprehension and focus and more effectively perform when juggling people, paper, and priorities.

Topics Include:

  • Self-assessment
  • Tools of time management (calendars/PDAs/daily planners)
  • How to say no
  • Project lists and to-do lists
  • Conquering procrastination
  • The myth of multi-tasking
  • Dealing with interruptions.

The Details:

Date: Friday, May 11, 2012
Time:
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Pace University Midtown Center
551 Fifth Avenue at 45th
New York, NY
Tuition: $195 (includes all materials)

Click here for details and to register.

When I am conducting an organizing, time management or business related workshop, I often ask if anyone has heard of the Pareto Principle. I usually get a room full of blank stares. However, if I ask if anyone has heard of the 80/20 Rule, many people nod their heads yes, and have a better idea what I am talking about. The Pareto Principle takes its name from a 19th century Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto. In the late 1940s, business management guru Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Pareto studied the unequal distribution of wealth in his country in order to offer suggestions as how to improve its disparity.

Pareto’s Principle (or the 80/20 Rule as it is often called) has expanded over the years to include many examples of unequal distribution. Essentially, the 80-20 Rule now stands for the proposition that in any grouping of items or events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Or stated in the reverse, 20% of the items or events is always responsible for 80% of the results.

The 80/20 Rule has become a common business principle, resulting in the oft-repeated phrase, “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.” Conversely, 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your clients, and 80% of the profits made in your industry come from 20% of the businesses.

The Pareto Principle also applies to a variety of other items and events: we only wear 20% of our clothing, we spend 80% of the time with 20% of our acquaintances, 80% of our interruptions come from the same 20% of people, 20% of the work we do consumes 80% of our time and resources, etc. You can apply the 80/20 Rule to almost anything, from business and time management principles, to clutter and physical possessions. The exact percentages may vary, but the overall gist of the principle remains the same.

The Pareto principle was also featured in the book, The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss recommends focusing one’s business activities on the 20% that contributes to 80% of the income. Boldly, he also recommends firing the 20% of clients that take up the majority of your time and energy, and cause the most trouble, often referred to as ‘toxic clients.’

I personally love the way Joseph Juran described the phenomenon in the 1940s – the “vital few and trivial many.” The 80/20 Rule means that in any grouping of items or events, a few (20%) are vital and many (80%) are trivial. 80% of our results come from 20% of our activity. That means that of all of the daily activities you do, and choices that you make, only 20% really matter (or at least produce meaningful results).

What is the takeaway that we can learn from the Pareto Principle?

Identify and focus on the 20% that matters! When life sets in and you start to become reactive instead of proactive, remind yourself of the 20% you need to focus on. If something in your schedule needs to be deleted or not completed with your fullest attention, try your best to make sure it’s not part of that 20%.

Use the Pareto Principle as a litmus test to constantly check in and ask yourself: “Is this truly part of the 20% that matters?” Let the Pareto Principle serve as a powerful daily reminder to focus 80% of your time and energy on the 20% of your work and life that is really important and delivers positive results.

Copyright © 2009 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

For most people these days, keeping up with the daily onslaught of email is a major challenge. In fact, experts estimate that e-mail has added an extra 1.23 hours to the average person’s workday (E-Writing: 21st Century Tools for Effective Communication by Diana Booher; Managing Your E-Mailby Christina Cavanagh). If you multiply 1.23 hours by 5 days for 52 weeks, the average person is spending 320 hours per year of extra time handling e-mail. Wow! That is a lot of time spent on email. And experts estimate that the time lost to email has caused workers to shave time elsewhere, causing a productivity crunch.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the average U.S. worker spends up to four hours a day sending and receiving e-mail. Of that four hours, it is estimated that one hour each day is spent on the 36 percent of e-mail messages that are either irrelevant, or relevant but do not require a response.

So how do your survive the daily email attack? The following tips will help you manage the flow of email:

  • Turn off e-mail alarms and prompts through your e-mail preferences tool. Many people have alarms and prompts set to go off every few minutes upon the arrival of e-mail in their inbox. These continual interruptions make people respond like Pavlov’s dogs every time they hear the “you’ve got mail” chime. Turning off the chime will keep you from interrupting what you were doing to read e-mail in the midst of other projects.
  • Plan for the reading and response of e-mail in your daily schedule. Create a proactive method of managing e-mail by setting up time in your day dedicated to e-mail. Do not check e-mail the first thing in the morning, or you risk becoming reactive. Instead, spend the first hour working on the most important project or planning your day out.
  • Estimate the amount of time you are spending on e-mail now, and cut that time in half. Deadlines usually make most people more efficient. You may want to spend half of your allocated email time in the morning, and the other half after lunch or before you finish working for the day. The time constraint forces you to prioritize. The e-mails that do not get answered are probably not that important and, thus, deleted, or archived in file folders for future use.
  • Create e-mail folders, and direct the flow of e-mail. Create folders in your e-mail system that mirror your paper filing system to reinforce storage and retrieval of important information. In addition, create the folders to reflects your active projects and change your e-mail settings to direct e-mail that contains project-related language to those folders within your inbox. Added bonus: many e-mail systems impose limits on inbox size, but not in a folder.
  • Use computer storage folders. For e-mails that need to be kept for a longer period of time, create an electronic filing cabinet, with electronic folders for category names that match the physical files. Use Word or any system your company utilizes and backs up often.
  • Save the most recent only. Delete the earlier string of emails and just keep the most current one to avoid saving redundant emails.
  • Just save the attachment. If e-mail has an attachment and that is all you need, only save the attachment.
  • Control the flow of the e-mail exchange. People often feel they must respond to email instantly. Take time to consider your response and slow the flow of email when an immediate response if unnecessary.
  • Refrain from sending irrelevant e-mail. Be careful not to send e-mail just because it’s quick and convenient. The same rules apply to e-mail as regular correspondence – if it doesn’t have to be said, don’t say it.
  • Create templates. If you frequently send the same types of emails, create templates that you can use over and over (changing only the specifics each time).
  • Create an e-mail ritual. Every Friday before you leave the office, be ruthless about deleting e-mails no longer needed, saving those you need for a week or longer to personal folders, saving those you need longer to Word, and reviewing those in the personal folders to delete any no longer necessary. Make this a weekly habit and your e-mail will be a lot more manageable. You can also do the same thing at the end of every day if you so choose.

Many people are familiar with the above tips, but few actually implement them, leaving them to be reactive instead of proactive. Organizing your e-mail, like any other organizing behavior, allows you to be more productive and better utilize your time and energy. So stop the madness, and do what it takes to take control of your email. Remember, e-mail is supposed to be an electronic communications tool to assist you, not drive you crazy.

Copyright © 2009 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

Imagine you are on a roll, engrossed in a project, in the “flow.” All of a sudden, the phone rings, an e-mail alarm goes off, a colleague is standing in your doorway, a fax is coming over the machine, etc. Ah, interruptions. If you didn’t define all of those as an interruption, think again.

Experts estimate that the average American is interrupted 73 times per day. Some people find this number to be high, others find it extremely low. It depends on what your definition of an interruption is. My definition is anything that you didn’t want to, or expect to, happen at that time. I equate an interruption to a weed in my garden – if it doesn’t belong there, or if I don’t want it there,  it is a weed. Same with an interruption.

So how do you avoid getting sidetracked? Own your interruptions if you can. It is not always easy, and it depends on what your job is, and who is interrupting you, but try it!

Own your interruptions. Start to think of an interruption as an offer, and your decision as to whether you will take the interruption as a counter-offer. It is okay to say “Thanks for your call/visit. I do want to speak with you, but now is not a good time. Can we talk/meet at 2:00 p.m. instead?” There. You just counter-offered. See if it works. It is certainly worth a try.

Grade your interruptions. Let’s face it – some interruptions are more important than others. You probably need to take interruptions from certain people, like your boss, a sick child, etc. But not everyone. So be selective and if an interruption comes in that does not make the grade, don’t take it!

Create do-not-disturb time. Screen calls, or set up times of the day when you answer and return calls and let that be known to friends, family and work colleagues. Utilize a “do not disturb” sign at the office when working on a tight deadline, close your office door, set “office hours” for visitors and colleagues, or go work in a conference room, library or coffee shop where you can hide. When I was practicing law, I often escaped to another location when writing an important court brief, or closed my door and left a sign-up sheet for people that stopped by that explained that I was on deadline and when I would surface for air.

Use a post-it note wisely. Before you take an interruption, write down the very next action you were planning to take, how long you thought it would take, and whether you can delegate it to someone else. Often, the interruption itself is not as bad as playing catch-up after it. Taking the time to write down where you are and what you need to get back to can help you save precious time.

Plan for interruptions. If you work in an interruption-rich culture, you can only plan out 50% of your time to allow for 50% interruptions. For example, if your job is to put out “fires” all day, you can’t avoid interruptions as they are exactly what you should be handling. An example of this would be a sales manager in a car dealership whose job is to support the sales team on the floor, and to control and manage issues as they arise. This individual will be less able to avoid interruptions and should plan for them in his or her schedule, by blocking out time before or after “floor” time to get his or her project-related work done.

Stop the interrupter. It is worth noting that supposedly 80% of our interruptions come from 20% of the people we come into contact with. Try to identify the frequent interrupters and start coming up with ways to cut them off before they occur. If you know someone always calls you to confirm a meeting, send a quick text/e-mail to let him or her know you are still on as scheduled. Or better yet, explain that it is your policy not to miss meetings and you do not need a reminder (you have your Blackberry for that!), and that you will call in the rare event you need to cancel. Start taking control of the interruptions before they occur and stopping them at their source. Then, you won’t need to “own” as many interruptions in the first place.

Now, go forth and “own” those interruptions so you can get some work done!

Copyright © 2009 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .