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Workplace Excellence Expert Hugh Culver On Creating Boundaries

With a vision to “change the way work serves people,” Hugh Culver offers extraordinary training programs on leadership, team development, conflict management, time management, and motivation. Combining business savvy with humour and real-world, practical advice, he equips audiences with the tools they need to overcome any challenge they may face—in the workplace or in their personal lives. In the video above, Hugh talks about the importance of limiting interruptions in your workday to focus and succeed:

Have you had a day like this: you had the best of intentions, but it seemed that every five minutes someone needed your attention. Arrrrgggg. Interruptions are chewing up your day and adding to your frustration. There has to be a better way.

There is.

First, you need to remember that whatever you do today is likely to be what you do tomorrow, until you change your habits. Lesson #1: habits are at the core of all your success. Lesson #2: you need to create habits of success (they don’t come in your chocolate milk).

Next, you need to practice (habits again) these three strategies. They are deceptively simple, but deadly in practice.

  1. Create boundaries. You need to protect, everyday, big chunks of your time. And you need to announce to people you work with, or family at home, that during this time you are unavailable. I like to have 90 minutes at the start of my office-day to do the hardest 50% of my work (this is a killer strategy for marrying best energy with nastiest tasks). Staff know that this is my routine so it gets respected.
  2. Block time. Think about it: if you have and appointment with a client you think about it, prepare, set aside the time and get there on time. So what about you? A simple trick is to (do this during your Friday 15 routine) “book” appointments with yourself for the following week. These could be for proposal writing, sales calls, working with contractors, or even clean up work.
  3. Tell people how long. When I am asked “Do you have a few minutes” I know it is code. “a few” is code for: as long as I damn well feel like. I don’t fall for it. My response is “Sure, I have five minutes. Will that work, or should we create an appointment.” I love the blank look in their eyes. I love even more the result. I have made my needs clear and they can now make a choice: be precise and not waste time, or go away. Either way, I win.

Three simple strategies, all intended to lead to habits you can practice and reap the rewards from.

Now do it.