The Business Bulletin - Issue 251 - 16th June 2014


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Work SMARTER, not harder – tips to overcome interruptions


These days, technology is meant to help us to work smarter, not harder. But this is only true, if we have already built up the productivity habits.
What does it mean for you to work smarter and being productive?

When I think about productivity, my mind goes immediately in the direction of interruptions.

How many interruptions do you have daily and what distracts you from work?

Interruptions and distractions impose heavily on our ability to organize work schedules. Not only is there the actual time lost through the interruption but, more importantly, the effort of getting back to the original task and re-focusing attention.

The extent to which we are distracted from our work has become much more acute in recent years as a result of technological advances. We live and work in  world where we are constantly connected, often simultaneously to multiple communication vehicles – e-mail, the web, mobile phone calls, texts and instant messaging and our face-to-face interactions with people and the old fashioned landline telecommunication.

Because of this connection, as an essential aspect of our lives, multitasking became essential. But multitasking is not something that we are good at. We can mutitask simple activities that demand only minimal attention, but we find it difficult for those activities that require abstract thought and sustained focus.

The american studies from 2007, show that it takes up to 15 minutes to re-focus on a task after we’ve been interrupted, even by a simple e-mail. And interruptions can result in reduced accuracy of memory too.

But not all the interruptions are technological. Some are social, often by people who are engaged in procrastination over tasks they want to escape.
The main idea is that we cannot get rid entirely of interruptions, but we can do a lot to reduce them, to make those remaining as brief and purposeful as possible.

Working all my life in a busy environment, I learned and discovered several ways to manage interruptions that I’d like to share with you.

1. Be clear about what do you want to achieve at the end of the day. A long “to do list” doesn’t mean that you had a productive day. Ask yourself questions such as

a)What did I do today to bring myself closer to my long-term goals
b)My activities/daily behaviours reflect my vision and goals?
c)What can I do differently to manifest my values through my actions?

2. Consolidate tasks: emails, messages, phone calls. You will handle them more effectively

3. Give briefings when passing on tasks, to avoid people to come back to you with follow up questions.

4. Check your peak performance times of the day. We all have our best moments of productivity but check again if they are still making sense. If for example you started to believe that you are an evening person, ask yourself “Why did you come up to this idea”? If once you’ve been really busy and postponed all the important tasks for the end of the day, check if now is still relevant and not just an old belief.

5. Assign the most important tasks for the peak performance times of the day.

6. Be assertive! Find a respectful way to tell people that you’re on an important task now and that they can get back to you when you’re having a break.

7. Take breaks at predetermined times. Don’t work long blocks of time. The brain can stay focused on average 40 minutes, try to break your working time into small blocks and take control of the breaks in between.

8. De-connect yourself from internet (if not working with it). Work on one task at a time.

9. Leave a buffer time between tasks. Drink a glass of water, take fresh air, meditate, etc. These breaks will allow yourself to maintain or increase your motivation and to build-up a sens of achievement.

10. Find ways to make your work fun!

Enjoyment should always be the goal. Work can be play.

We get so caught up in busyness that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing. Even when we focus on working smarter, we’re still often too focused on getting things done.

This should never be the point. Always ask yourself: What can I do to spend more time enjoying what I’m doing?

The goal should be to arrange your commitments in a way that you’re happy living out the details of your daily life, even while you’re working.
This may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s more possible than ever in today’s world. Be curious. Be open to opportunity. Know yourself. Embrace your passions.

Wonderful things will happen. Best of luck implementing these tips, and let me know if I can do anything else to help you.

Interested in finding different ways to increase your productivity? We organize an event in July focused on performance and productivity.Buy tickets here!

For a great day at the office!
Elite Vision Coaching
Phone: 07753231768
Skype: evisioncoaching
Keep exploring ~ Make connections ~ Share your discoveries
Interested in becoming more productive? Check out our next events on
GET PRODUCTIVE , choices to extraordinary performance

Laura – is an International Speaker and trainer based in Belfast.
You can book Laura to speak at your next event
contact her here

Elite Vision Coaching
Phone: 07753231768
Skype: evisioncoaching


Each week Nick O' Shiel, Chief Executive, Omagh Enterprise Company, blogs on issues related to enterprise, technology and the economy. This week Nick discusses the need for businesses to embrace change.

Businesses used to develop five-year plans and review them annually to see what changes, if any, were needed. In more recent years, companies plan in shorter time frames and review in real-time to keep up with the speed of change.

Businesses start and grow and fail at much faster rates than previously, as shown by the size and scale of Facebook, Google, Instagram, WhatsApp and others. New businesses and even new industries are appearing at great speed and growing to enormous levels, as seen by developments in cloud computing, big data and biotechnology.

Traditionally, it took many years for businesses to grow to a significant size and the development of new industries took much longer.

In such an environment large companies had the advantage of size to drive efficiency, provide value for customers and create secure employment for employees.

Senior managers could set long-term goals and expect the world and their industry to change slowly in a relatively orderly and sedate fashion.

The situation has changed and long-term planning is now more difficult and fraught with challenge, as the relationship between company, customer and employee changes.

The new environment is characterised by change and requires flexibility and the ability to perform at a high level in fast-moving situations on a regular basis.

The tradition of senior management and company boards working to control the environment is no longer effective and so business must manage change as it happens.

Many assumptions about how the world works and our role in it are out of date, as the traditional promise of a secure job for life no longer exists.

Technology is changing everything but, ironically, it means there has never been a better time to start and grow and scale a business.

The start of the 21st century marked the end of the traditional hierarchical organisation with top-heavy structures focussed on planning, stability and the certainty of production.

The new century has introduced a new type of organisation and new management based on flexibility, speed, and the ability to learn and learn quickly.

The new organisation reacts and responds and reinvents itself according to the demands of the market and, as a result, embraces rather than tries to control change.

Success in the new world comes from the ability to create products, find new customers and manage uncertainty.

SO, we have entered a new world and the businesses that succeed will be the ones that anticipate, embrace and enjoy change.
What do you think?
Are you ready for change?

I look forward to your comments.

Nick O'Shiel,
Omagh Enterprise
Great Northern Road, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT78 5LU
Tel: +44 (0) 28 8224 9494  Fax: +44 (0) 28 8224 9451



Procurement Workshop:

An Introduction to Procurement with Belfast City Council
The next in our series of procurement workshops will focus exclusively on the Council’s approach to purchasing goods and services.
This workshop will give participants:
  • An overview of our procurement process
  • Information on how to find out about upcoming tender opportunities
  • An insight into how to use the Council’s procurement portal eSourcing
Workshop Details
An Introduction to procurement with Belfast City Council      
Thursday 19 June 2014
9.30am – 4.30pm
The MAC, Saint Anne’s Square, 10 Exchange Street, Belfast BT1 2NJ
This event is free of charge but advance registration is essential as registered businesses will be contacted before the workshop session to identify the level of procurement knowledge.
To register for this event please email with your name, business name, full business address including postcode and telephone number.
This workshop is open to businesses based in the Belfast City Council area only.
Places to attend are limited and will be allocated on a first come basis.
For more information and to register for these workshops please email the Economic Development Unit at or alternatively call 02890 500 512
Like our Facebook Page at to keep up to date on our latest business news, support and events in Belfast.

For Northern Ireland specific contracts, there are a number of sources of information specifically for contracts within Northern Ireland. The Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) handles contracts for a number of government departments. You can find a list of current tender opportunities on the 
CPD website. Again, there is no email alert facility that we can find which makes the content difficult to adapt to the Bulletin format.

Please see for the current list of Northern Ireland opportunities.


Replacement of Existing Underground Heating Distribution Pipe work - Waddington Court
HP Server Hardware
CBC-0417-T-AE Energy Audits of Corporate Buildings
Structural Repairs at:- Manchester Place, Somerleyton Gardens and Walpole Gardens.
Additional build area and material capabilities for Stratasys Fortus 400MC
Testing of Tertiary Lighting for compliance with Ecodesign and Energy Labelling legislation for NMO
Supply of liquid chromotography mass spectrometer (LC-MSMS)
GB-Louth: Consultancy Service For ELITE Business Support
UK SBS IT140038 Novell Maintenance Support
Fertility consumables
GB-Southend on Sea: Bedding Plants
GB-Hemel Hempstead: Sustainable Transport Support for Maylands Business Park
WD754 External Works Measured Term Contract
Referral Management Service - Southend CCG
GB-Stockton: Proposed Office & Satelite kitchen for Wheelchair services
LSC2167 - Sovereign's Robing Room Conservation
GB-Stockton: Oil Farm Tanks & Pipework
GOSH - Telemetry Data Capture
Box Corer, RRS James Clark Ross, British Antarctic Survey
PS140121 - Cryogenics Impact Review
GB-Louth: Consultancy Service For ELITE Business Support
UK SBS IT140038 Novell Maintenance Support
United Kingdom-London: Industry specific software package
United Kingdom-Croydon: Financial and insurance services
United Kingdom-Ballymena: Global navigation and positioning systems (GPS or equivalent)
United Kingdom-Warrington: Disaster recovery services
United Kingdom-Stockport: Medical software package
United Kingdom-Maidstone: Business and management consultancy and related services
UK SBS P140140 Development and Systems Integration Support for Knowledge Capture Project
Laser Scanning of indoor and outdoor environments
GB-LONDON: University of the Arts London - Supply, Implementation & Maintenance of an EPoS System
Digital Sales & Marketing Tool
United Kingdom-Sheffield: General utility software development services
United Kingdom-Winchester: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
United Kingdom-Gloucester: Computer facilities management services
ICT Infrastructure Audit, Health Check and Remediation Planning
United Kingdom-Edinburgh: Personnel and payroll services
United Kingdom-Broxburn: Information technology services
Replacement Occupational Health System
United Kingdom-London: Technical computer support services
Replacement of Existing Underground Heating Distribution Pipe work - Waddington Court
Structural Repairs at:- Manchester Place, Somerleyton Gardens and Walpole Gardens.
Belgium-Geel: Refurbishment of the air conditioning and pressure control of some laboratories of the IRMM
Norway-Oslo: Mineral water
United Kingdom-Kirkwall: Energy-management services
Norway-Arendal: Paving and asphalting works
GB-Stockton: Proposed Office & Satelite kitchen for Wheelchair services
WD754 External Works Measured Term Contract
GB-Deeside: Self Contained Air Conditioning System
LSC2167 - Sovereign's Robing Room Conservation
United Kingdom-Folkestone: Building-cleaning services
United Kingdom-London: Scaffolding
Norway-Orkanger: Construction work for school buildings
United Kingdom-Giffnock: Refuse and waste related services
United Kingdom-Newport: Gas supply mains construction work
United Kingdom-Berkeley: Electrical installation work
United Kingdom-Ayr: Accommodation and restaurant buildings
Germany-Frankfurt-on-Main: Cartons
United Kingdom-Haddington: Bus-stop shelter construction work
United Kingdom-Liverpool: Electricity

Belfast City Council Tenders are available at

First Edition Publications, The Technology Centre,
Townsend Enterprise Park, Townsend St., BELFAST BT13 2ES 

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