Dealing with distractions at work is always challenging. Add in unsettling news headlines, ever-changing restrictions, and you’ve probably been finding it more difficult than ever to stay focused.
When you’re operating a business, you can’t afford to let distractions derail your purpose, productivity and indeed, your profitability. Here, we look at steps you can take that will help you recognise and eliminate (or at least manage) the distractions that come your way each day.
For most business leaders, some level of distraction comes with the territory. Dealing with emails, phone calls and texts is expected – and there will always be unexpected issues that can’t be ignored. Yet successful leaders are acutely aware of the amount of time they will sacrifice if they allow themselves to become distracted.
You owe it to both yourself and your team to put strategies in place that will help you recognise and eliminate distractions. So, let’s look at these two steps in further detail:
1. Recognising potential distractions
Put simply, a distraction is anything that threatens to divert your resources away from your priority tasks. Revisiting your vision and goals may help you bring this into sharper focus.
At a glance, you should be able to quickly determine how each of your priority tasks relates back to your vision and goals. If you can’t, perhaps they should be shelved for a later date to allow you to focus on the more pressing business at hand.
2. Managing and eliminating distractions
In our experience working with successful business leaders, there are three key strategies when it comes to eliminating distractions.
Say “No” – Being firm about your boundaries is vital when your time is a precious resource.
Delegate – Other team members may be better positioned to manage tasks that threaten to distract you from your key purpose. Delegation generally also creates a more productive business and engaged team.
Manage your time – While it’s not always possible to avoid unexpected urgent tasks, your aim should be to work proactively on planned tasks, rather than constantly reacting to the demands of others. Practical steps include:
- Scheduling regular periods of time for specific activities
- Sharing your schedule so people know when you’re available (and when you’re not)
- Putting your phone on silent for an hour in the morning and afternoon
Your vision may be the same, but if your goals have changed in light of COVID, it might be time to build clarity around these with your team.
In addition to external distractions, give thought to the issues within your business that are causing distraction.
Are there items on your agenda that are no longer important in the current context?
Talk to your team about the strategies above and lead by example in implementing them. This will help your team to manage their own distractions while encouraging them to take initiative and distract you less.
For more information about business leadership habits and other strategies that can make a significant difference to your productivity and profitability, please give us a call.
Core Business Accountants specialise in business advice for growing and mature family-owned and small and medium-sized businesses. If you need business advice about any of the above topics, please get in touch with us on (07) 5438 8088, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.corebusiness.com.au.