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Research suggests that when we are distracted from a piece of work it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to get back to that point of focus afterwards. It is therefore not surprising that our scheduled work tasks are not being completed, when we are being distracted many times each day.
What can we do to manage our external distractions?
Receiving emails, phone calls and instant messages are a huge distraction for many. Consider allocating particular times of the day to deal with these. You could check your emails for example, in the morning, after lunch and at the end of the day. Is it possible for you to use voicemail for incoming calls or ask someone else to take messages when appropriate? If the auto alert on your emails is distracting you, turn it off. By not reading and replying to emails immediately, you are allowing yourself to focus on the task in hand.
When scheduling tasks, plan your work around your energy levels. If your optimum focus time is in the morning, consider allocating your most challenging work to a morning slot. Working from home is a fantastic option to avoid workplace distractions but this may not be feasible for you. Could you work at home for a couple of hours at the start/end of the day to ensure your optimum focus time is being used effectively? You do of course need to take into account the distractions that may be present at home.
Where you have high focus tasks scheduled, try and focus on one task at a time. It is more effective in the long run. Schedule your day in terms of the order you will complete your tasks and agree with yourself beforehand the level of completeness required for each task before you allow yourself to move onto the next. Certain low focus tasks can clearly be multitasked such as drinking your coffee and reading an email but can the same be said for replying to a client email whilst you are in a meeting?
These are interruptions that you are effectively causing yourself and some of the external distractions already mentioned may actually be internal distractions for you. Internal distractions include boredom (causing you to flit from one task to another or surf the internet) worry, self-doubt, procrastination and wanting to try and fix everybody else's problems. None of these are helping you achieve your planned work schedule. It's useful to take a step back and think about why you are allowing these distractions to interrupt you.
The key with internal distractions is goal setting. Before going home each evening, consider what you would like to achieve the following day, and allot time to each task. Focus on two or three important tasks but be realistic with what you can achieve.
Remember, if you are distracted by the same thing daily, and it isn't possible to eliminate it, minimise it or delegate it to somebody else, it's probably not a distraction and actually a task that should have been scheduled the evening before.
The Autumn Statement is set to be an important event. We have a new Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer with a potentially different slant on economic policy than their predecessors. There is also the need to deal with the impact of Brexit.
In July, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, made a major overhaul of the departments responsible for business. The new department overseeing business matters is the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This is quite a mouthful. Its acronym is BEIS. It has been created by merging the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
In recent years many companies have been preparing and filing 'small company accounts' under a Financial Reporting Standard for Small Entities (FRSSE). However for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2016, FRSSE has been withdrawn and small companies, which qualify as 'micro-entities', have a new choice:
Latest figures from HMRC reveal a 22% increase in inheritance tax (IHT) receipts in the 2015/16 tax year. This is a significant uplift from the average 12% annual increases that have been experienced since 2010. There are several factors which have contributed to the latest increase including rising property prices and the static IHT nil rate band. The nil rate band has remained at £325,000 since April 2009 and is set to remain frozen at this amount until April 2021.
After much delay, the Tax-Free Childcare scheme will be launched to parents from early 2017. The scheme will be rolled out gradually, with parents of the youngest children able to apply first. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.
Investors' Relief (IR) is a new tax relief designed to attract new share capital into unlisted companies. It was announced in the 2016 Budget as an extension to Entrepreneurs' Relief (ER) but the potential beneficiaries of IR are different to the shareholders who are entitled to ER.
Our current tax regime provides a potential benefit of a historically high level of income tax personal allowance. The increases in the personal allowance in recent years has come at the cost of reductions in the band of income being taxed at basic rate but, in the current year, an individual may have £43,000 of income before higher rate tax applies. Married couples and civil partners have opportunities to double the income limit and they are helped by the tax rules which treat asset transfers between couples as tax neutral. There are however traps for the unwary.
This publication is published for the information of clients. It provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this publication can be accepted by the authors or the firm.
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The online service for applications for the fourth Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant is now open for claims.
The Recovery Loan Scheme has been introduced to replace the government's coronavirus lending schemes.
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed has stated that the recent changes to the rules relating to off-payroll workers, commonly known as IR35, 'undermine the self-employed at the worst possible time'.