We have all seen it, headlines on the evening news about a breaking story that catches our eye or an audible ding from a social media account that alerts us to a new and impending story concerning an update from a friend or family.
NEVER MISS ANOTHER UPDATE.
Beware the Time Stealers
These headlines or updates lead to a fragmented sort of forward movement that leaves you starting and stopping what you were working on during the day. These are what I like to call, “Time Stealers” or plain old distractions! Let me share with you a few best practices that help to starve the time stealers and allow you to get your day back by harnessing focus.
Let me ask you a simple question. How are you doing with your current goals and objectives? Why you might ask? Because any successful business owner or entrepreneur will have clearly-defined goals and objectives to focus on while charting their forward progress. The goals and objectives not only allow you to chart your progress, but also point out any potential areas where time stealers may be lurking to throw you off your productivity journey. One of the keys to achieving personal performance goals and organizational goals is to minimize the distractions. Research suggests that failure occurs not due to lack of effort, but due to loss of focus.
It is only when we hone our ability to focus that we are able to consistently minimize distractions. Click To Tweet
How to Hone Our Focus
Lets face it, when we lose focus it can be very detrimental to accomplishing a given task. It is only when we hone our ability to focus that we are able to consistently minimize distractions. If distractions are allowed to take precedence, the important tasks and processes can take a back seat and stall your success. In this Harvard Business Review article Michael Lipson suggests we need to engage four things in an effort to help us minimize distractions while starving what I call the “Time Stealers.”
1 First, you choose a focus. It might be anything, from any sphere of life. At work, it’s supposed to be some aspect of work.
2 Sooner or later your attention wanders. This isn’t what you plan to do. It just happens. (If it were a plan, it would be another focus, not a wandering.)
3 Sooner or later you wake up to the fact that your mind has wandered. You notice the distraction. You realize how far you are from the thing you first wanted to focus on.
4 Having woken up, you may choose to return to the original theme. Then again, you may choose to give up and do something else. It’s up to you; it’s a choice.
The goal of the fours steps is to break the cycle of mental wandering while becoming aware of the need to retrain your mind to avoid distractions and the loss of focus. At the end of the day, make a decision to carefully determine where you will focus your efforts, resources, and time while engaging the four steps to help you remain on track.
Do Your Leadership Part
While it may not be possible to prevent all distractions, it is important for leadership to do all it can to minimize them. As a leader remind your team why you are doing what you are doing to keep the objectives fresh in their minds. This will also help them realize the toll distractions can have on reaching the primary goal.
Point of Clarity Quote:
Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
– Philip Stanhope