In today’s world, full of forever evolving technology, it is inevitable that people will get distracted in the work place. This could be by anything from a colleague, the internet, checking emails etc.
According to StopAd the typical office worker cannot focus on the task in hand for longer than 11 minutes. The MarketMakers Business School want to improve that statistic. One of the ways we are doing so, is by running Distraction Management sessions for the team.
Vicki, a member of our Learning and Development Team, gave us some tips on how to focus on our most important tasks.
Tip 1: Make a to-do list
The first tip is to make a to-do list, whether this is daily or weekly. This might sound simple but, according to Sasha Cagen, 96% of people said that they live their lives better making a to-do list.
The reason for this is, it creates a visual representation of things you have to complete. To be quite frank, people enjoy it. 50% of people admitted to adding jobs onto their list that they’ve already done just so they can tick it off out of self-satisfaction.
Tip 2: Prioritise
Vicki’s next tip was to prioritise your to–do list with a number code. This allows you to get the urgent and most important jobs done, leaving behind your ‘time bandits’.
She suggested using the following graph…
1 represents the jobs that are important and need to be done urgently. These could take priority for your own role or as a priority to someone else. For Example, your manager. These jobs usually tend to have a deadline and require the most focus.
2 represents the things you have to get done but, not straight away.
3 represents things This means it would be better to delegate the work load to someone else. This might be easier if you’re a manager and have a keen team who are ready to take on responsibility in order to develop in their career.
4 represents things that are neither important nor urgent, so these can simply be put in the bin.
Tip 3: Recognise your time bandits
A time bandit is something or someone that steals away your time and prevents you from doing the jobs you need to.
For example; this could be the internet, mobile phone, social media apps or the news. Your biggest time bandit might be yourself and your own mind-set.
We have recognised that quite often, we create smaller fun jobs that we don’t need to do, just to get out of the important things that we do need to do. These are our time bandits. This could be something such as; having an extra coffee break, insisting on colour-coding your charts or responding to personal emails.
It is said again by StopAd that 28% of time at work is spent checking emails.
This distraction could be overcome by setting yourself a time each day where you shut down your emails and focus on the task in hand.
Although a lack of attention on a task can be frustrating, it isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you. Distraction can spark new and creative ideas for a current problem and might even aid a solution.
“When the distraction shifts into boredom, that’s the seed of something creative.” – Questlove, Creative Quest