For business owners, there’s huge potential for you to be distracted from working efficiently through your priority tasks. Distraction simply goes with the territory – think email, social media, phone calls and texts from colleagues, employees, suppliers, customers and more. Yet the successful business leaders I know are acutely aware of the amount of time they will waste if they let themselves be distracted (apparently it takes a full 20 minutes to regain focus on the task at hand). More importantly, they have learned how to eliminate distraction.
Leaders who eliminate distractions have two things in common: they know a distraction when they see one; and they have strategies in place for not getting derailed. Therefore they stay focused on their tasks, which they complete efficiently and without experiencing the mental overload and emotional stress that distractions can cause. Not only are they productive, but they feel better within themselves and, importantly, are then more ‘available’ for their teams who also benefit. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is a scenario worth striving for. Here’s how:
1. Learn to recognise distractions
If you are a leader who knows how to eliminate distractions, you will be very clear on what actually constitutes a distraction in the first place. You understand that a distraction is anything that threatens to divert your resources away from your priority tasks.
2. Put strategies in place to manage distractions
I suggest you train yourself to use the following strategies to help you eliminate distractions.
Learn to say “No” – When you use it wisely, “No” may turn out to be one of the most positive words in your vocabulary.
Learn to Delegate – Not only does delegation take care of distractions, it also creates a more productive business and a happier, empowered work force.
Time Management 101 – While it’s not always possible to avoid urgent tasks, your aim should always be to work proactively on planned tasks, rather than react to the demands of others. Consider these tips:
- Schedule regular periods of time for specific activities
- Share your schedule so people know when you’re available (and when you’re not)
- Turn off email and your mobile for an hour in the morning and afternoon
You would be wise to further demonstrate your leadership by talking about these strategies with your team and setting an example by using them. This will help team members manage their own distractions and also encourage them to distract you less.
The next step in eliminating distraction …
…is to recognise how essential this habit is for making the most of your resources, both human and material. For more information about your business leadership habits, and to understand how eliminating distraction can make a significant difference to your productivity and profitability, please give me a call.