Have you ever suffered an attack of the “lemme-justs”? Are the “lemme-justs” out on the hunt, just one step away from tanking your day?

Or perhaps you have no idea what I’m talking about!

So let me explain.

The “lemme-justs” is a term (coined by one of my fantastic clients!) for when you continually let small things eat up your time, so that you’re running late, blowing past your timeblocks without a second glance, and then falling into bed exhausted wondering where the time went.

It’s productivity-death by 1,000 paper cuts.

The “lemme-justs” are contributing to making you feel busy without actually crossing much off the list. They’re sneaky little jerks. Because a “lemme-just “almost always takes more time than you think.

Here are a few examples:

  • I need to get out the door to head to that in-person meeting. “Lemme-just” take a quick shower. (Now you’re running 15 minutes late.)
  • I know I’ve got to work on this blog post, but “lemme-just” check my email real quick. (That hour you set aside to write that blog post is now in the distant past.)
  • I need to process payroll. But I just got a Slack notification. “Lemme-just” check it real quick. It might be important. (Now you’ve missed the payroll deadline.)
  • “Lemme-just” grab 5 minutes of your time. (Uh oh, there goes the next 30 minutes.)

Sound familiar?

Don’t worry; you’re not alone. We have so much information coming at us. So many requests. So many messages. So many mentions. It’s no wonder we feel like we have to do these things in the moment.

In fact, it often feels like if we don’t do these things RIGHT NOW, as we are thinking about them, they’ll never be done.

It’s a vicious cycle.

And if we realize that, then why do we let this happen so darn often?

And why is it so detrimental?

Well, the “lemme-justs” are a very reactive way of being. When we’re at the mercy of the “lemme-justs”, we’re either following the whims of our brains, or the whims of someone else’s. The “lemme-justs” aren’t planned for. They’re just what’s come up right now. And they may be, but are usually not, more important than what you’d planned to do right now.

The “lemme-justs” are often just another form of distraction.

And studies show us that when we’re distracted or interrupted, it takes, on average, 23 minutes to refocus.

Imagine how much time you’d save if you stopped bouncing around between “lemme-justs”?

And lest you think I’ll leave you in the lurch with out a strategy, here is it:

How to combat the “lemme-justs”

  • Use a task system – The best way to know if a “lemme-just” is worth doing is to compare it to your plan for the day. If it’s not more important or urgent than what you’re supposed to be doing now, then it can wait.
  • Write it down – If it really does have to be done now-ish, write it down and then do it after what you’re in the middle of right now. The chance you’ll get both done increases when you do this.
  • Batch process
    • Messaging – Instead of processing email/Slack every single time you get one, turn off those notifications and commit to processing messages a few (or several, depending on your job) times a day. When you’re not actively processing email and Slack, close those tabs or desktop apps to reduce temptation.
    • Small tasks – If you get lots of “lemme-justs” that pop up throughout the day, build the time into your day to process these all at once.

Have you got a strategy for combatting the “lemme-justs”?

Let me know in the comments!