One of the most common pieces of advice that is given to everyone in the business world every day is to prioritize. You do your best to give the most critical tasks more attention throughout the day and allow other projects to sit on the back burner until you’re ready to handle them. The only issue is that once we create our priorities, we tend to ignore them. Items stay on the back burner and don’t get done!
Here’s a thought: instead of ignoring certain tasks that might require our attention, what if you ignored certain people who typically want our attention when it may not be needed?
Is It Possible To Ignore People Sometimes?
Absolutely! Although no one ever really likes to be ignored, the harsh reality of modern life is that there are way too many people who can demand attention throughout the day. If you responded to every email or phone call, then half of your day would already be gone before you got anything else done! Our attention and our time is a finite resource. When too many people need something, then people must be ignored.
It’s all about creating a certain line in the sand when it comes to needs that must be met. If certain needs cross this line, then take care of them. If they do not, even if that person has a personal relationship with you, then they should be ignored until you can move where that line should be drawn. This is what the most successful people do every day. They prioritize their people management, not their work management.
Do You Have a Coffee Stalker Near You?
Why is managing people more important than managing work? Because people are an intense distraction that stops any work from being done. Take that guy who has a cup of coffee in his hand every morning and wants to talk to you about the shows he watched on TV the night before. Not only is he not getting anything done, but he’s preventing you from working while he’s talking to you.
That distraction goes beyond the conversation, however, and this is also time that must be accounted for in some way. Maybe you feel frustrated by the interruption and you spend time centering yourself. Maybe you laughed at his joke and the memory of the joke is distracting you as you try to get to work. The effects of the coffee stalker last longer than you might realize!
What Is Your Threshold?
That’s why finding ways to ignore the right people who don’t meet your threshold of need must be ignored. Slap on some headphones, play some classical music so your mind doesn’t want to sing along with the lyrics to your favorite song, and don’t give the coffee stalker any attention. Eventually they will go away… as will everyone else that doesn’t meet your threshold of priority.
Does this seem like it will make you feel guilty? The result when you tell people “No” is actually quite empowering. You are taking control. You are being the one who creates results. This one decision of planned ignoring excites your active consciousness and actually helps you to work harder! So consider your options: you could put a task on the back burner… or you could just ignore those people who are robbing you of your full potential.