Take Actions Against Distractions for a Better Bottom Line
By Dr. Geri Markel On
Improving Leader Performance Requires Focus
In this 24/7 world, the lines between work and life are often blurred, leading to an increase in distractions. How much is this costing your business in missed opportunities, needless mistakes, late fees, or neglect of management chores or professional commitments? A profitable business requires attention to management functions such as planning, scheduling and monitoring finances. Multiple distractions can sabotage your bottom line.
For business owners and entrepreneurs, distractions often pose a significant challenge to effectively building the business. This is especially evident during times of serious economic downturn and uncertainty. And while the impact of distractions on profitability is more obvious—at a deeper level, distractions also undermine your intention to live according to your core values.
Constant distractions can leave you feeling overwhelmed, irritable and ineffective. The good news is that as an owner and entrepreneur, you are in charge. You can take conscious and systematic action against major distractions. You can break old unproductive habits that interfere with effective time and task management. And you can replace them with new productive habits that spur greater productivity, creativity and profitability, while lessening stress.
Distractions Waste Time, Money and Resources
Over the last few decades, practical, research-based strategies have been developed for dealing with the common distractions that plague entrepreneurs and interfere with profitability. Here are some actions you can take against your distractions:
First, look at how much time is wasted by distractions during your day. Are you frustrated or satisfied at the end of the day or week? Identify the distractions that rob you of the time you need to become more profitable. For example:
Do others constantly distract and interrupt you? Every time you are interrupted, it takes energy to refocus.
Do you distract yourself by surfing the Internet or talking/texting on your cell phone?
Is a racing mind interfering with your concentration?
Are you fatigued and lacking the energy to be creative or analytic?
Are you so stressed that you lack the motivation to focus on important tasks?
Is your workspace too noisy or visually distracting to allow concentration?
Are you so over-scheduled that there is little time for a break?
Are you disorganized and unable to find the materials you need?
Now that you’ve identified them, take action to reduce unnecessary distractions:
Create boundaries for at least some portion of the day to allow yourself time for creativity and problem-solving. If someone asks, “Do have a minute?” say, “I wish I did, but not right now. Let’s schedule something for later.”
Impose an electronic lockdown: turn off or silence all digital devices except the one you need to use to accomplish the task at hand.
Make sure to take frequent breaks throughout the day.
Use exercise, humor or perhaps journaling to reduce stress and refocus the mind.
Find a non distracting space in which you can focus on complex projects.
Create awareness and support for reducing unnecessary distractions during meetings. For example, ask participants to put their phones away during a discussion.
You have greater control over everyday distractions than you think. Take action and you’ll have more time and energy to tackle difficult tasks, improve messy or incomplete recordkeeping, and focus on needed marketing or networking. Don’t let needless distractions interfere with your business’s bottom line.
Want even more practical strategies for work/life distractions? Get Geri’s award-winning self-help guide, “Actions Against Distractions: Managing Your Scattered, Disorganized and Forgetful Mind” at www.gerimarkel.com/productivity-store/.