What’s on my mind today is disruption. Disruption as I am using the term, is the unexpected stuff that happens in your life - and it can really get in your way. It gets in the way of your processes, and your plans, and frustrates you, and can seriously lower your chances of hitting your goals.
The disruption in my life right at this moment is technology. Or rather to be precise, I am disrupted by the lack of technology. The thing is, I live in the “sticks” of northern Michigan, and out here technology can be tenuous.
My phones and internet are, or more accurately, were, delivered through a cellular provider (name withheld to protect the guilty). There were few options to get both phones and internet where we live, so we signed up.
The technology was adequate for my business and my family while it lasted, but two weeks ago service just stopped. After hours of calls from my cell phone (which gets no service in my house – I have to drive to the top of a hill at sit in my car to get a good signal - and probably spook the neighbors while I am at it), I found out that the tower that I used to get my service from was now defunct and there were no plans to replace it.
My wife and I do almost all of our business over the phone and the internet. To say this has been a disruption in our plans is a very big understatement. Right now I am in a temporary office space at the local municipal airport 20 miles from our home. We have a great view of the runway and the planes flying in and out, but the working conditions are not great – we can’t both be on the phone at the same time in the single office, and we have to pack up our equipment each day when we leave because the office door has no lock.
To top it off, our old business phone numbers don’t work anymore so we had to email our clients to let them know how to reach us. This has been going on for two weeks and will continue for at least one more because as I said before, there are few options for connectivity up here.
What’s the lesson in all of this? And no, it’s not to move back to the city. The lesson for me in the midst of this frustration and distraction we still have to run our businesses and hit our objectives. As my business Partner Brian Moran says “The market doesn’t care about your problems.” We have to execute, we can’t get thrown off course, we have to stay on track with our 12 Week plan.
When faced with the inevitable disruptions in our lives there are two clear choices I think.
The first choice is to get sidetracked. To stop or slow executing the fundamental tactics that drive your results. This is easy to do, you just have to stop taking action on your plan, and there are plenty of activities that fill your time (in our case finding a new temporary office, getting new technology in our home offices, dealing with our current provider to get out of the contract, communicating with our clients, dealing with the myriad of other complications that can arise when things like this happen).
There is a dark side to these behavior choices as well. Distractions can be more attractive to deal with than the tedious or uncomfortable tactics in your plan. It’s often more enjoyable to solve problems and to be reactive to what life throws at you.
The second, and more productive way to deal with distractions is to block out specific times each day to manage the distraction, and then stop working on them when the time block is over. Additionally, schedule time blocks each day to get the mission critical tactics that drive your results done. That can be easier said than done, but if you even get close to making the time blocks work, you are much more likely to execute your plan and stay on track with your goals, regardless of life’s distractions.
Now, stop being distracted by this blog and get back to work!