“I started my day with good intentions, then I got so distracted with emails, instant messages and meetings that I completely lost track of what I really needed to get done.”
This is something I hear quite often when speaking or conducting workshops on human performance. It seems in our technologically advanced society, we have so many distractions competing for our time and energy. This often leaves people exhausted at the end of their day with a sense of “under accomplishment” (not doing meaningful work).
Very often these distractions are small in nature, and might seem insignificant until you realize you have either missed a deadline or you are working late just to get done what really needed to be accomplished that day. To compound matters, people can get addicted to the adrenaline surge they receive from having to stop what they are doing to put out a “fire”. I often refer to this as the Superman or 911 syndrome; it’s addictive and unproductive all in one.
If you are serious about your performance at work and want to eliminate those distractions, try some of these strategies.
“Just Do It”…the night before
Before leaving the office for the day, write down the three items you must do the following day. This only takes a few minutes and it establishes in your mind where you MUST focus your time and attention when you get back to the office. Review the list first thing the next morning, and get to work on the first item.
Make a list of “all” those small distractions that you face every day and start removing them. It could be the “urge” you feel first thing in the morning to check your emails, or something as simple as turning off your smart phone, knowing that just the sight of it will distract you from what you really need to do. The items that need to be removed are usually small, but can compound quickly.
You made that list of the three things you must do, great. Now keep it nearby and review the list throughout the day. See what you are accomplishing and see where you need to spend some more focused time and energy. If you have an item that doesn’t seem to go away, ask yourself if you are avoiding it for a reason or if it is a real priority.
Distractions are everywhere in our digital culture. Try some of these strategies and you will soon be on your way to permanently removing them from your life.
All the best in achieving your highest performance.
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net