Nobody goes to work thinking, “how many people can I distract today” - do they? But all of us do distract others, both consciously or not. And all of us suffer from being distracted.g distracted.
We can define a distraction as something which breaks our concentration – a person dropping by our desk, the phone ringing, an email arriving, a text or message alert popping up. The latest research says that we are distracted at work every three to eight minutes. That’s between 60-160 distractions for an 8 hour working day (“If only!”… I hear you say… to the 8 hour day that is!).
So I’ve written this article to be read in two minutes and fifty seconds in the hope that you can fit it in before you are distracted again.
We all know how much of a problem this has become, don’t we? Not only has the new, interconnected and wired world become more distracting. But, it’s designed to keep you distracted – click on the alert, and you’ll be drawn into reading the article. Answer the insistent ringing of the phone, and you’ll be hooked into a conversation.
Yet one thing hasn’t changed. Every day must come to an end, never to be repeated – time is and will always be the most precious of resources.
So how do we minimise distractions and make the most of the time we have each day?
Well, as we often say here at SNH
Productive use of time is a team sport.
Your team needs to be conscious of not distracting others unnecessarily; you need to be aware of when you are distracting the team – and you need to take charge of your environment to elimate unnecessary distractions.
Here are some simple ways that you can make this happen:
- Make an agenda of non-urgent points to raise with colleagues and book a time to deal with them all in one go
- Politely tell a colleague who drops by your desk that you have a deadline (no need to share that it’s self imposed) and give them a time you’ll get back to them
- Switch off your e-mail and social media alerts and make a conscious choice about when it’s best for you to deal with them
- Make a conscious effort to send slightly fewer emails (3 or 4 less) each day
Of course, if productivity is a team sport and you’re on Team Focus playing Team Distraction it’s difficult to keep a clean sheet. But it is remarkably easy before the end of the day to change the score in your favour.
Focus 3... Distraction 1