Make ‘Focus’ Your Superpower,
by Eliminating Your Kryptonite (Distractions)
Distractions Vs Focus
If someone asked you what interrupts your focus and distracts you from getting things done at work, do you respond, my phone, my email?
Does your work environment, or the people you work with interrupt your focus, break your workflow, and distract you from getting things done?
Distractions come in many forms; such as worrying about personal problems while at work, or perhaps its simply the way you are working is slowing you down – such as multi-tasking when you need to be focusing on just one thing.
Multi-tasking day in day out can become your way of working because you are overloaded and don’t know what to focus on and complete first. So rather than use time planning and prioritising you dive in and try to get as much done as possible. The trouble with this approach, is that while you may feel like you are achieving something because you are constantly busy, you are most likely completing lots of low priority tasks, or tasks for other people.
What distracts you at work could be any number of things, and multiple things at that!
There are three main groups of distractions
- Work Environment
How many of them apply to you?
- Email, checking, responding, constant alerts.
- Phones, ringing, responding to messages, apps and games.
- Instant Messaging
- Surfing the Internet, watching YouTube videos, playing games
- Checking social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
In her book ‘Thrive’ Ariana Huffington shares some interesting stats that highlight the negative impact of technology on our productivity and why we need to adapt to succeed/survive at work today…
- The average ‘knowledge economy employee spends 28% of his, or her, time dealing with email which is more than 11 hours a week.
- The average smart phone user checks their phone every 6.5 minutes which adds up to nearly ‘150 times a day’ in a 16 hour period.
Are you shocked?
Do you think this is extreme?
Well perhaps email and your phone are not a big problem for you!
And that’s a good thing, a great thing.
How about the following distractions…
- Boredom or lack of interest in the tasks/work you do
- Your managers expectations are regularly unclear or too high
- Drifting Lunch and Tea breaks
- Lengthy bathroom breaks
- Chatting with colleagues
- Personal calls and issues taking up work time
- Running personal errands in work time
And then there’s…
- Weather/Temperature – too hot, too cold, annoying drafts
- Lighting – too much, too little
- Sound – noisy offices, too quiet
- Foot traffic – too many visitors, too easy for people to stop and chat with you
- Open plan – lack of work-space boundaries
- Messy work-space – too much paperwork, you can’t find things, inefficient systems
How many of these distractions are Kryptonite for you?
Are they slowing you down and stopping you getting things done?
Are distractions adding to your stress and sending you towards burnout?
While some distractions are much easier to overcome or manage than others. The first and most important step is to identify what they are.
Once you have a list of what your distractions are, you can start working on reducing or eliminating them ‘one at a time‘ so that you avoid becoming overwhelmed, or dropping back into old patterns that keep you stuck.