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When you Want to be Found

by Kerry Dawson


In today’s busy work a day world to be productive it is almost essential at times to cut out all the extraneous noise. At times you simply have to focus on a task at hand and to accomplish the task it sometimes becomes essential just to almost lock yourself a way in a room and just do it.

In previous articles, I discussed the need for a model’s based workflow that allows you to “Get things Done.” To do this often requires that we simply focus on the task at hand getting rid of any extraneous noise that could detract from our attention.

No Matter the Profession

It matters not what profession anyone is in that has this basic requirement to focus. Too frequently, we are distracted by numerous demands coming at us all at the same time and as a result we accomplish nothing. Some take to what they think is the answer that being multi-tasking. In this mode though, nothing receives the proper attention or focus. In fact, it can be quite detrimental as this can lead to a false sense of control. In fact, the situation could be very out of control and nothing is getting done.

The salesman who has to meet one or more customers or the lawyer who is working on many cases may all find themselves pulled in many directions. With stress as the highlight of this mode and the accomplishment of quality work at risk, often it is necessary to take strong measures. Often it is necessary just to say now is the time to focus. All extraneous noise has to be shut down to concentrate.

In all cases, whether it be the writer, journalist, dentist or what have you people may have to turn every distracting variable off so as to concentrate and Get Things Done. You wouldn’t want your dentist or doctor distracted by extraneous things when they are doing delicate work on your teeth or surgery. It’s at these times it is essential to focus and to do this you must turn everything off temporarily.

When You have to be Found

Shutting everything down to concentrate is great as now you’re able to focus. However, one important thing might be distracting you from your focus. That’s the situation in which an important client, contact or situation must at times be heard from. Fortunately, there is a service that can allow you to shut everything down, be productive but be present should a situation arise when you’re in a focused mode. That service or technology is called “AwayFind” and it is something that you are in very much control of.


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AwayFind is a server based service that monitors messages based on criteria you give it then alerts you that someone is looking for you. You can easily go into a focused mode and use AwayFind to bring you out of that mode to deal with something pressing.

As an example, you would not want a major client who needs your prompt attention not to get in when they need it. If you’ve gone into a focused mode this wouldn’t be possible for them to reach you unless you use a service such as AwayFind that alerts you to an important incoming message.

Being in a focused mode assumes that you’re in say a meeting and cannot be disturbed for anything or that you are writing and have shut everything down including your telephone so that you are not distracted. At first blush, you might feel this is rather extreme. However, in this hectic world that is full of distractions from TV to Twitter and on it goes, it is almost impossible to concentrate on the task at hand. When you go to the movie theatre, one of the first things they ask you is to shut off your phone. This is done for a couple of reasons. One, so you don’t disturb the other patrons and two so that you yourself can enjoy the movie.

Unknown 1To carry the movie metaphor a bit further, I personally hate it when my attention is withdrawn even for a second from a good movie. I quite easily miss an important line or the context of a very relevant event to the storyline of the movie. In essence, if this were to happen too often I would have wasted both my time and my money on the film.

Enter AwayFind


This is where AwayFind comes into play. If it is important to concentrate on the task at hand to get it done, you also need a mechanism to alert you of something important or serious. Without this, your mind would still wander to the what ifs. Again, there is lack of concentration and with that lack of productivity.

With a tool such as AwayFind you ensure that the important is dealt with. People will not use AwayFind frivolously. With AwayFind you can either put their email address in and when an email comes in AwayFind will alert you. You can give your most important contacts your AwayFind URL and they can use this as need be to reach you.

The system is actually very flexible. You can apply filters and if a certain email arrives with a certain piece or kind of content in it AwayFind will once again alert you. This flexibility ensures that you are in control. Where mail systems fail or systems that enhance the value or productivity you have around your mail is if you are not in control. With AwayFind you’re completely in control of who can reach you and even at what times.

In the Driver’s Seat

Images 1In my writings, I reference David Allen’s GTD model frequently. One reason for this is that this model is not just about making you a slave to work. Rather, in your enhanced capability to Get things Done you end up more relaxed, at ease, with more time on your hands yet highly productive. I won’t elaborate on the GTD model as I have written extensively on it and there are many good sources of information to explain how it works. What I will say is that to go into a concentrated, focused mode is very much a part of the model. Yet, at the same time you have to be in the driver’s seat knowing you’re in control and will not miss something important when you focus on your task at hand.

Images 2I use AwayFind here as a tool to explain how you can do that. I personally have found it very effective for the little or a lot that I use it. I never over use it though otherwise it would become the boy who cries wolf too often and you’d just be inclined to ignore it. You want things to work towards your productivity and not against. I think you’ll find AwayFind one of those things.

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