How to Stop People From Distracting You

How to Stop People From Distracting You


– Good morning, good life,
welcome back to Amy TV where we come together
to help you go after the life that you want. Are there people around
you who are stopping you from getting your best work done? I have a few ideas. (upbeat music) One of the biggest responses
I hear when I talk about using your time to its greatest potential is about the people who are
around us and just can’t help but be distracting. Whether it’s your kid who
has a whole lot to say when you are working at your home computer or the coworker who’s all to
excited to continue talking to you at the coffeepot because they don’t actually want to go to their
desk to start their day, or it could be somebody
who doesn’t realize that you have a set amount
of time for this phone call and you don’t really have all day. We often find ourselves in situations where we’re trying to be
productive and get things done and the people around
us kinda don’t get it. So what are you gonna do about it? How do you politely let these people know that they need to move
on so that you can focus on what you’re doing? That’s what I wanna talk about today. This episode of Amy TV
is also brought to you by Four Sigmatic, because
it’s not just about helping the people around you get focused, it’s about the elixirs
in your life as well. Stay tuned for the end of the video for more on this and how
you can take advantage of an exclusive discount
just for Amy TV viewers. All right, so how are we gonna get focused when it comes to the people in our lives? The people who are around us all the time? My first tip is to build
subtle signs around you. Maybe you have an office
and you can shut the door, maybe you can have like
a little door hanger too that says I’m working, exclamation point. The other thing you can do
which is totally obvious and a great tip for the airplane as well is just to throw some huge headphones on. A lot of people will just leave you alone ’cause there’s such a barrier to entry. But maybe you don’t even wanna go subtle. Lemme give you probably the best example I ever saw of this. I did a tour of an agency
office once, and it was an open floor plan and I saw
a girl sitting in a chair and she was facing her desk,
she was on her computer and she had a sign on
the back of the chair. Again, she’s at a long
desk, lots of people sitting next to her, open floor plan. The sign on the back of her chair said “I am not here.” And I was like, but she is there, oh! I am not here sign, plus headphones, plus not looking away from
task means take a hint, buddy. I wanted to introduce
myself to that girl so bad, but I was respectful of her time. These are small things that we can do and they’re going to be
helpful if you do some of this other stuff as well, because
you can’t just drop hints all the time, sometimes
you have to be obvious in other ways, and that
leads me to my next tip: communication, specifically
with the people that you run into the
most often, the people that trip you up the most,
you just need to have a conversation with them. Trust me when I say, do
not disturb isn’t enough. I use do not, my, do not
disturb is literally on on my phone all the time. It doesn’t matter,
people will get through. So the subtle hints aren’t enough, you need to have a conversation
with people and say hey, when this is happening,
I really, really need some alone time, I need focus time. If my door is shut, that’s
a big indication like, do not even bother. This isn’t gonna work one
everyone, and when I say everyone, I’m just talking about adults, okay? Some people just don’t take the hint even though they’re
hearing what you’re saying. But at least if you talk about it enough, if you really try to see their side of it and you let them know
consistently, hey, again, this is my time and I really need it, you can refer back to
that and they can’t act like this came out of nowhere. It’s going to be hard to
have that conversation, but the reality is, you’ve gotta have it because most people don’t have utter focus in what they do, it’s very hard for them because we have so many
distractions in this world. And it doesn’t mean you don’t
wanna talk to them either but there’s a time and
a place for everything. I wanna throw a tip in here
that’s a little bit risky and that is to the moms of the world, specifically the stay-at-home moms. Here’s my tip: try something. I got nothing else. I’m not gonna sit here
and pretend like I have all the mom hacks. I don’t. But the keyword here is to try. I feel that that the biggest
issue in this particular arena is that parent guilt gets
the best of you a lot. That guilt’s gonna follow
you around no matter what you decide to do with your
time, because there’s always somebody else who could use more of you. That’s what they think,
but if what you’re doing is actually improving the
quality of life for both of you specifically for them in the long-term, then you’ve gotta be able to make some executive decisions here, that’s why you’re the mom. A lot of people that I talk
to don’t even entertain the idea of calling a
sitter for a couple of hours just for deep focus. It sounds silly, right? Like I’ll just do it when the
kids take a nap or whatever, and things always happen,
and we never get into a better groove, but if you
just got it into your mind that when you hire a sitter
during the day, let’s say if you’re a work at home mom, and you need one to two hours alone,
every time you have a sitter you have to be dedicating
that block of time to something specific
that needs to be done by the end of it. If you treat it like a
habit stacking situation, then maybe it’ll actually
work, but if you never give yourself the chance to figure it out, if you never give yourself
the chance to find out will I actually make the most of the time if I hired a sitter, that’s money spent, how do I reap the benefits of that, you can guilt yourself
until the end of time, regardless you’re just
hurting your mental state and you’re not getting more done. So we can’t tell the
kids to go away, right? You can’t tell the kids,
“guys, leave the office,” although I would argue, I
bet there are quite a few kids out there that
listen better than adults when you say “when mommy’s door is shut, “you can’t come in.” But it’s still gonna be
very hard to do that. You are still to be a responsible adult and take care of your children, no neglect around here, okay? No task is worth that. But my challenge is for
you to just try something and at the risk of you wanting to punch this non-mom in the face, I’m just saying it’s very easy to say that I’m responsible for my kids so I can’t
do this kind of thing if you’ve never actually
tried more than once to see what could be possible, that could be customized to your life. There may be something I’ve advised here that’s not gonna work for you,
but a percentage of it could and that could get you closer. So put in the work to find
what that looks like for you, if you care about it enough, and I know you’re gonna care about your
kids more no matter what, but do we need to
consider a few more areas of our life to be elevated to importance? My next tip is to set
reminders and make sure they go off out loud, like very loud. One thing I like to do when
I know there’s potential for a phone call to go
long or if it’s coming to the end and it doesn’t
seem like it’s ending is I will set a timer to go
off, very loud in the background so that the person on the other
end of the line can hear it. I actually for this,
because if I’m on my phone I can’t use my phone as a timer, I use my time cubes for this. So let’s say I’m like
oh, I’m giving these guys five more minutes. When this thing goes
off, it’s a little loud and I make sure that
the phone’s like right, “oh, that’s my time.” So that’s really useful but
you can always set an alarm on your phone if you’re doing something away from a phone call. Let’s say you’re walking to go get water from the water cooler
and you know somebody’s gonna be like all like oh, thank goodness, somebody’s here, I
wanted to procrastinate. Maybe you should set
a timer on your phone, say, you need to be back in
your desk in five minutes so that not only that
thing is challenging you, it’s challenging somebody
else to shut it down when you’re like oh shoot, gotta go. Timers work wonders. It’s actually, probably
gotta be, there’s gotta be some science to that when a timer goes off or when an alarm goes
off, all these things that we’re just like
programmed to like conform. What is that? Next I want you to learn
the phrase “hard stop” and then I want you to learn
to follow through on that. I enter a lot of scenarios where I say “so happy to be here, let’s get focused, “let’s spend time together
and really not be distracted, “but I have a hard stop at X time.” When you say those words,
you shouldn’t use them maybe too much because
you don’t wanna overuse it where everybody’s like okay,
Amy’s always got a hard stop, you know, that’s not always true, but when you say it, you’ve
gotta follow through on it so it actually means something. At the end of the day, it’s
that small communication you did to be able to
say, “I have a hard stop, “reminder, hard stop’s in 15 minutes.” So that when that time comes,
if somebody’s just still going and going and not
being respectful of time, not because they’re terrible
people but just because they’re not thinking about
it, it’s not their priority, it’s not the way that they
tick, and that’s fine, literal tick, oh my
gosh, that was terrible. You get to just say “look,
this is my hard stop, “see you later, bye guys,
let’s recap this on an email “or something else, let me know.” You’ve got to move on. Otherwise people don’t
learn to get more efficient in a set period of time. And my last tip is not my favorite tip but I think it does
work for a lot of people and that is to leverage auto-responders. I’m definitely gonna be
doing this during the summer because I’m gonna be away from
my email so significantly, but emails are very easily distractions. People don’t have to stand next to you to make you decide to deviate
from what you’re doing. You need to let people
know that you’re not just on call when an email comes
in, and so I see a lot of people do this where they have an email that goes out all day
long, except for the hours that they do check email which I think is a little aggressive. Like just because I sent you an email doesn’t mean I need a response right now so I definitely don’t
need your auto-responder cluttering my space, and
saying I only check email at 5:00 p.m., thank you so
much for sending this to me. No, I don’t need that, I don’t need that. If you’re out of the office on
vacation, sure, makes sense. If you’re out of the office
on any other occasion that you need me to have
the contact information of somebody else so that we can officially get something done,
awesome, but I do think that that strategy works
for people so I wanted to put it out there. My preference is that I’m
still gonna email people back but in the signature of my
emails, every single email, it says you know,
footnote, just so you know, I only check email once or twice a day, I can’t tell you when
that will be, but if this is more urgent than a couple of days, you should probably hit
up Meg, and I will put Meg’s email address at the bottom. That way it’s a personal email from me but it still has the disclosure in it in case anyone’s like furiously looking for my phone number or more information, there’s information there that says here’s how you get ahold of me faster, it’s probably through somebody else. But these technologies are very useful if you can use them to set
boundaries, it’s great, especially if you’re not good
at setting those boundaries in person, start setting them digitally and see what you’re capable of there, and you might just find
that those policies that live on the internet
can be moved into real life. That was a good tip, girl. Didn’t even write that one down. All right, let’s share what we
learned today in a Tweetable. “Don’t compromise yourself,
you are all you’ve got,” Janis Joplin. Now I wanna hear from you,
what’s your way of politely telling somebody to buzz off? I wanna know your tip. It has to go in the comments
below ’cause we gotta add this to the archive of things
that we can all do when we are in a weird
situation where we’re just trying to get something done. This video’s all about
focus and it’s not just about getting people to
let you work but also having the tools and
the elixirs that help us to focus at our greatest ability. And that’s why I’m so excited to shout out Four Sigmatic for sponsoring
this episode of Amy TV. Let me tell you my favorite,
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try this mushroom life to focus and get stuff done. I will list the products
that I talked about in the description below
and if you wanna get 15% off your first order, the link
is down there as well. Thank you so much to Four
Sigmatic for sponsoring this episode of Amy TV. That’s all for today, thank
you so much for tuning in, I appreciate it. As always, make sure you
subscribe for good vibes, kiss the ones you love, and go after the life you want, cheers. (calm electronic music) I’m really distracted
by the fact that I have a ponytail today. Other than wanting to
punch me in my mom-nom, damn, I almost nailed that. (laughs)

86 thoughts on “How to Stop People From Distracting You

  1. This is a highly requested one! It can be tough to find ways to politely get people to ket you focus! Which tip was the most useful for your real life distractions?

  2. Are there people that are stopping you from getting your work done? Yes. ADHD. My immigrant parents were very good at this, "go away." XD Thank you for the video 🙂

  3. Oooh, yes, right on time. My maternity leave is almost ending and I dread doing back to work where everyone will want me to do things. Can’t wait to watch. Thanks!

  4. It is a diverse world that we live in and people are not necessarily able to see past there own expectations!

  5. It is soooooo hard to work from home. I have to work in the middle of the night so I know everyone is asleep! But some of the problem is on me. Oh I need to water the garden, wash clothes, clean the kitchen. For emails I look at it quickly in the morning and again in the evening. I like the idea of “I’m not here”!

  6. 🙌🏾👐🏽✌🏽Alone Time✌🏽👐🏽🙌🏾
    #AmyWordMedicine
    Excellent Mama advice ~ So true and Actually when I started watching your videos Was the change around moment for me. Finally I ask and told my kiddos Me Time Important for Mama And Baby! Edited to add The Beautiful 10-15 min video is one of my Mini Me Times ☺️ Very Healthy💜

  7. My favorite boundary phrase is “absolutely not” 😂. I usually say it with a lighter tone of voice but the “absolutely” means business.

  8. I tried this summer to write on a book, and the thing that helped me was to tall my family that when I write thay must not distract me because it only cause that I would take longer time to write my daily words 🙂 Won Camp NaNoWriMo, and is so proud 😀

  9. I don't usually comment on videos but I needed to on this one. I run 2 businesses and my Seniors ministry for our church from my home. My mother in law, my teen kids and hubby all seem to forget 'the doors closed -I'm working' & I've tried a BIG sign at eye level saying the same thing. Unfortunately everyone seems to go blind at my door. I also don't like to tell my mother in law 'I don't want to be disturbed ' well cause I need her happy so the house us happy.
    I like the idea of a timer. I am going to try the alarm with calendar blocking starting with an hour window. Perhaps I can train my family to wait for the timer and then I can come and squish spiders, make a snack, look at that funny email after the timer…. before I loose it and become the supervilian of the household.
    Great channel, great tips, keep it up!

  10. I live in Australia and I have friends / workmates in the US and Canada. So there is quite the time difference. We have an understanding. We can email, text, message each other anytime we like, but don't expect a reply until the other person is good and ready to. It may be a few days to a week or more. We obviously don't do urgent. But I can hardly expect an instant reply when its 3am there!

  11. Coming from a mom entrepreneur you are right on. Just try & habit build. It's hard but true. Thank you for saying it.

  12. I do timers all the time, & I utilize the crap out of my calendar. I’ve trained everyone in the office that if they’re not on my calendar they’re on borrowed time, & if they’re in someone else’s office when I’ve booked that time; they’re out. When the COO & legal counsel have learned this I know I’ve made it work. 😂😂😂

  13. I literally saw this video immediately after giving up and leaving my workspace because someone would NOT stop talking to me after an hour, despite me trying to politely say over and over again that I needed to work. Crazy. You must be reading my mind haha! Thanks for this!

  14. Omg I do have this problem because if Facebook messenger. I used to want my response time to be good but I’ve gotten to the point where it says usually responds within a day. I’ve even told my clients if they need to cancel a class they need to do so by 9am otherwise I am not seeing it till after class is over and I’m scrolling through notifications for the day at 9pm. They’ve all gotten the hint lol. Another way I tell people goodbye is I tell them my adhd meds are wearing off and I will need to continue the conversation when I’m more focused lol

  15. I'm currently waiting for my cube timer. I have a colleague who appears to think I'm always available.
    Will try this. I also recognize this goes both ways.
    I need to also be more mindful of my colleagues

  16. When someone comes to my desk I always tell them “One moment please” because it never fails you are at a prime spot in your work and need to finish it before you lose momentum. Then when I am done I can be fully present for what they need to ask. And if it is something trivial people always say I will come back.

  17. Oh it's not easy to get shit down when you're surrounded by losers who love to watch tv and gossip about other people and they constantly talk to you, and don't respect your busy time.

  18. Mom of three here. That advice for moms is 100% bang on! Motherhood is not an altar of sacrifice 😂🙄

  19. Parent guilt….it’s a real thing. I feel because of my crazy perfectionist/ocd personality. I get anxiety knowing my son is with someone else.

  20. As a homeschool mom of three, I appreciated the way you worded the advice for moms. 👏👏👏 There are times I assume I can't do something, but if I TRIED, it might work out. If it doesn't work, I can try again later. Thanks for the specific advice to the ladies like me. 🥰

  21. This is right on the mark and so needed. I know I need to be consistent in my request for space and quiet to focus and get my tasks done. I try to be nice but its not helping at all.

  22. Great tips. However what if you don’t have your own office and the people driving you insane set next to you? Even with my headphones in they talk to me about nonsense. The problem is half the time they are telling me useful info. But the other half after several minutes I determine they are just wanting to complain and they drive me crazy. They are nice people and don’t mean any harm, just annoying. Please help. 😭 I’ve tried “hey I really need to focus on this right now” and it still goes on.

  23. Amy looking damn fly! I just came out of a team meeting that went over about 20 minutes as usual. Always always happens!

  24. 8:00 min marks the existential crisis, “When a timer or an alarm goes off snap snap We’re just programmed to conform, what is that?” – I wasn’t expecting an existential crisis in this one, but I got it! Hahaha thanks Amy!

  25. I know the difference between being honest and being mean. Having said that, when I try to be honest with people for the sake of setting boundaries and teaching them how to treat me some says don't do that because it's not good, and I see how they struggle to deal with someone just because they can't be straight with them cause they don't wanna hurt their feelings. My opinion is that some people gotta get hurt to learn, I mean today I hurt someone's feelings just because I was honest with him trying to be polite with it, and tomorrow they understand the type of people. That didn't really happen, it was just an example. Bottom line, being straight in my opinion is also one of the right ways to do it, the more polite it is the better.

  26. wait. amy landino? where is my dream waifu ashmistastic?! where is savy sexy social? where have i been?

    so many questions!

  27. Okay so I really, really want to like four sigmatic, but I’ve tried 3 or 4 kinds and I just can’t get over the taste. Does anyone else feel like this or have advice on how to make it taste better?

  28. Good tips Amy.

    In alphabetical order, here are channels of Moms that are vlogging and doing other businesses.

    Aimee Nolte – teenagers or close to it.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/NolteFam

    Alison Lindstrum – young children
    30 Days of Blogging Tips & Mom Hacks
    https://youtu.be/rN1NbIBtLJg

    Chalene Johnson – adult children
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Chalenejohnson

    Gillian Perkins – young children and a baby
    https://www.youtube.com/user/MissSerendipity43

    Judy Travis – age? I don't follow her channel, Her husband does Video Influencers with Sean Cannell.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/itsJudysLife

    Take care.

  29. I am a huge fan of Four Sigmatic. I love the Hot Cacao with Reishi to help me wind down and sleep at night. My brother was killed in a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago, so it especially helps me right now when I find relaxing at night very difficult. Thanks for the great advice, Amy.

  30. I turned off email notifications on my phone and computer. I check it when I want to check it and I remain in charge.

  31. i need to know why are the books the other way around? is it because you don't want people to know what are you reading?

  32. Im a mom and my advise is….kids love personall quality time…. Kids need good balance…..so I find when I dont give my Son Alex quality time and exercise and balance so if you want that time I find playing a outdoor game or indoor then you have satisfied there needs and you find when you say ok Alex go play in your room now or watch a movie…Mommy needs to work….they tend to give you your time because they are satisfied and calmed…. I find thats the best for moms…..

  33. If someone is in my office, I stand when it’s time for them to leave. This signals them that I either have somewhere to be or something to do.

  34. My engagement assistant and I agree on 10 minute pleasantries on a call and then get into the task at hand. I use a responder on the weekend only because I found that a few clients would work off hours for their catchup and drop tasks on my desk via email. It was becoming a bad habit and the email would easily set off an internal alarm for me. I wanted to set the expectation that I was not available via email nor would I be working on their projects on the weekend. I use hashtags in my auto-responders such as #4SummerWeekends. I had one client acknowledge my commitment to self care and boundaries. My responder offers my text only for issues that are time-sensitive and related to scheduled appointments. I honour the same boundaries for others and schedule outgoing emails to colleagues and clients for first thing Monday. Never on a weekend even with “no need to respond right away” because psychologically it interrupts their time.

  35. I like this, although I also think if I need to talk to someone and they're ALWAYS busy, what do I do? I think it's a good idea to have some dedicated non-busy time too 🙂

  36. This is an odd comment to make but I figured you’d appreciate it Amy. Last year I watched your videos religiously over and over because I was in a rut and needed inspiration. Now I actually don’t have much time to watch them anymore because I’m finally too busy going after the life I want !! Thanks for everything!! ❤️

  37. I’m a mom and love the advice …. 👍 “just try it “ is what I say to my son all the time, yet I tend not to practice it myself 🤔

  38. You nailed the Mom advice!
    For those who can't or don't want to get a sitter, it is possible to teach your children to respect the boundaries you've set while you're working. It WILL take time a patience to get there, but not only will you be able to get your work done you children begin learning how to respect the boundaries of others AND how to play on their own, which are both critical life skills and very important to healthy social development.
    Also, when you set that chunk of time to get uninterrupted work done you will be less distracted later and better able to give your children more uninterrupted attention. It will honestly benefit both you and your family in so many ways.

  39. Love this topic! People can often be some of the biggest distractions, lol. It's good to know how to get back to work and remember that there is a time and place for everything, including chatting with people. Cheers!

  40. You didn't really touch on that person that won't let you get off the phone; for instance saying "Thank you so much for yada yada yada, it's been a pleasure talking to you; We'll talk again in X amount of time to talk about our findings.." and after each statement that is clearly leading up to "bye" they have something to all of a sudden add to the conversation or they recap something you already discussed at length. So how to you get them to let you go. It's hard when what you should be doing is something they see as you can do whenever, but it's frustrating to you because you've blocked this time to get something done. And yes, I have been on the phone looking at my clock thinking I was supposed to arrive at the grocery store an hour ago. Could also go for laundry, cooking, ect. And you've already announced you need to go, you have xyz to do, and they're not getting the hint. You can't be rude, because chances are it's a family member or a client and they don't understand that they are impeding on your time. So I have learned not to give them the oppertunity to be able to judge what you have to get doing is important. Just say you have an appointment (appointment with the grocery store or laundry is still an appointment) and you need to let them go. Now some people will get offended and feel like you lied to them if they find out your 'appointment' wasn't a dr's appointment, so look to using words such as engagement, arrangement, rendezvous, ect to get them to respect your time. The only thing I haven't figured out what to do is when you get phone calls all day or a friend or family member you haven't heard from in a long time calls. Most people don't have someone screen their calls for them. We have our phones all day, and people call us whenever. So, it makes it hard when we WANT to talk, but we also have things to do. So I guess a good video would actually be how to put friends and family on a schedule when they know you work from home. I can't tell you how often I get "what do you do all day?" or some people don't have to say it, it's clearly they think I have all the free time in the world and have no issues imposing.

  41. But Amy, what if it's my boss who is talking my ear off about sort of work related things, but it's not what I need to focus on? What should I say in such a situation? My boss likes discussing the daily lives of the people we rent apartments to so we know what's going on and what we can do to help if need be, but sometimes, paperwork for their lease is more important and needs to be submitted.

  42. If someone is standing by my desk and ignoring all the body language (and English language) "I'm busy" signals then I get up with my coffee cup, walk through to the kitchen with them following me, and make a drink. Then I just say "see you later" and turn my back and go back to my desk. If they're totally ignoring that and start following me back to my desk, then there's obviously a bigger conversation needed!

  43. The thing about that mom stuff is that one thing can work one day and not the day after. So you're right. We have to try something, and retry, and retry because it could work tomorrow.

  44. Lots of great tips here! I definitely need to communicate with my family more about "mid morning calls" hahaha

  45. “Hard Stop” is my favorite time saver. I’m always on conference calls in which people aren’t prepared or easily go off topic. I either say I have a hard stop, and/or request to go through my agenda items first to ensure my maximum efficiency.

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