The telephone rings, the email beeps – you have new mail, an employee knocks at the door, the cell phone vibrates, on and on go the demands of your time. Each of these deserves some level of attention, but what priority should they be given? It is a tough question to answer as each situation would present different facts that would cause each of us to react a certain way.

To help in this juggling act, the first thing you might consider is how important each access point is to you? Can you turn off the cell phone for 30 minutes? Can you invite your employee to grab lunch rather than take time right then when they knock? Can you consider not signing on to your email while you must get a project completed? Ever turn off the sound on your PC so that every few minutes you are not misdirected by the new email notification sound?

As a leader, your time will be spent dealing with many things demanding of your attention. You need to take control of those elements that can influence your attention. For some of us, we can think back to the days prior to cell phones, faxes and other instant communication technologies. I will grant that today the speed of business goes at a much quicker pace. I might challenge that the pace increased as we let technology determine the juggling rate. Some of the speed was necessary and has been good for the marketplace. Some of it has come along just riding on the jet stream and adds no value to the business or deliverables of the marketplace.

It is kind of like that variety TV show where the juggler starts spinning plates on top of poles, adding more plates and trying to keep all of them spinning. The crowd keeps cheering the juggler on to see just how many plates he/she can get spinning before the whole thing comes crashing to the ground. They almost get into a frenzy to push the juggler so far because they are not really interested in how many he/she can keep juggling; they are more interested in at what number the juggler loses control. As a business leader, don’t get caught up in the frenzy of spinning all the plates. Don’t let it draw on your attention until you fall apart. Juggling is ok; spinning out of control is not advisable.

This week I would challenge you to take a look at the priorities of dealing with the juggling act of the demands of your time. Try it – your cell phone actually turns off during the work day. It has voicemail in case you miss the call while it is off. Your email has an inbox and your employees might just like to talk over a break in a more relaxed atmosphere.

My good friend, Larry Klimek, President of JKL Associates in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, wrote this informative article. Every now and then, Larry and I ask to reprint each other’s articles. This is just one of those times! Thanks Larry, for your straight forward common sense advice. We can all benefit from Larry’s insight and remember to take control of our time and our lives.

To Your Success!