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Hey, it’s Bob Negen, and welcome to another episode of Real Retail TV. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about time vampires and how they are sucking away your time and your focus.
So what is a time vampire, anyway? A time vampire is something that pulls you all way from the task at hand, something that pulls you away from the important project at hand. It takes away your focus. And one of your secrets to success is to be able to focus, to have a task or a project, and to get it done. If you sit down to write a schedule, write the schedule. If you’re working on a big project, say, a marketing plan or a training program– to break it down into manageable chunks and to stay focused on that chunk. But there’s a trap, and the vampire is the trap.
When you become bored, when you become stuck, when you lose focus, there is a tendency to revert to behaviors that you’re used to. And those behaviors are your time vampires. Let me give you some examples. And pay attention so that you can identify the time vampires that are sucking away your focus.
And the first and the worst is social media. You become bored, you become stuck, you become tired– what do you do? You go back to Facebook. Or you made a post that you think is going to be hot and you can’t resist going to check how many likes it has. Social media is designed to take you away from what you are doing, to pull you in and keep you there. Social media– terrible time vampire.
Number two is email. My colleague, Brendon Burchard, calls email “someone else putting their deadlines and their agenda on you.” And it’s true. Have you ever had that, where you were working on something important– you had task or a project or something that was in front of you that needed to be done and needed to be done well– and you got stuck.
What do you do? You check your email. And then once you check your email, there’s an important email or there’s an email from someone that you like. And the next thing you know, you have a conversation. And the next thing you know, the day is done and that important thing you needed to get done wasn’t done.
You had several email conversations, but they’re not the things that are driving your business forward in a meaningful way. So email is a time vampire. Take your emails, check them twice a day, if it’s appropriate for you. Or make sure that you manage your relationship with your email correctly, appropriately.
The third time vampire is the web. They call it “clickbait” for a reason. And this is– if I had to say what my biggest time vampire is, it’s clickbait. I’m researching, I’m looking at something, and there’s an ad– seven secrets from the Partridge Family. Well, who wouldn’t want to know seven secrets from the Partridge Family? So the next thing you know, I’m down that rabbit hole.
And you all know what I’m talking about. You’re looking for one thing and you end up going 1,000 different places. Again, your focus is important. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the trap of surfing the web when you have important work to be done.
Fourth time vampire– and this isn’t for everyone but it certainly is for some of you– is apps– apps. We have a client who is a member of the Platinum Mastermind group, and she had– had– an app that allowed her to monitor her three store sales in real time. In real time, she could see when a big sale was made. It was exciting. It was fun. It was addicting.
And so here we are at important meetings talking about important things, and she couldn’t help and look under the table and see where things were. One night, we’re all out to dinner. And there’s a big cheer from the crowd a short ways away. And it was because our client had deleted the app from her phone.
She realized that that app and her ability to look at her sales in real time at any time was pulling her focus away from important work. And not only important work, important time with her family at home. So if you have an app like that that’s always pulling you in, delete it from your phone.
The fifth time vampire is your team. If you work in your store, if you have an office in your store and you close the door and your team still interrupts you, your team has officially gotten time vampire status. You should have a hard-and-fast rule that when your door is closed, you are not to be interrupted. When your door is open, your door is open. But when it is closed, it means that you are focusing. So your team can distract you and keep you from getting the important work done.
And finally, friends and family– have you ever had friends stop by your store and want to take you out to lunch? I have. I had a problem with it for a long time. We had a store in Mackinaw City, Michigan, a really popular tourist town. And everybody goes through Mackinaw City sooner or later. And all of my friends from college and all of my friends from my whole life– if they came to Mackinaw City, they stopped at the Mackinaw Kite Company. And they wanted to see me.
And I was happy to see them. So I would go have lunch. I would go have a cup of coffee. I would leave the work I was supposed to do. I would leave the floor. I would leave my team to go be with friends and family. One day, I realized I was spending way too much time away from my store. The solution was simple.
Hey, I get off at 6 o’clock tonight. I’d love to see you. I’d love to go have a beer. I’d love to have dinner. I’d love to have coffee tomorrow morning before we open, but I can’t do it now. I’m working.
So do you see? All of these things, all of these time vampires are sucking away your focus, your ability to do the important work, your ability to do what Cal Newport calls “deep work.” And your ability to do important work will have a direct impact on your success as a retailer.
So you’re action item, should you choose to accept it, is to look at this list– or maybe add to this list– and write down all of the time vampires that are keeping you from doing the things you know you need to do. And any time you catch yourself being sucked by a time vampire, put a check mark by it– put a little chit.
So if you go on to Facebook at a time you’re not supposed to– (make a mark); email– (make a mark); clickbait– (make a mark). Just pay attention to how often and how regularly you are being sucked away from focusing on important work. Getting rid of the time vampire will reclaim hours and hours and hours a week, which translates into hundreds of hours a year, which is the amount of work, amount of time, that you need to do important work.
But if you haven’t signed up for our email, Tip of the Week, I would encourage you to go to a whizbangtraining.com and to sign up for our free email, Tip of the Week. Only do it when you’re checking your email. But I guarantee you that it won’t suck up your time, that it’ll give you something good when you open it up and take a look at it. Anyway, I’m Bob Negen. I’m honored that you watched this episode of Real Retail TV. And we’ll see you next time.