What you need to know:
- In today’s world the distractions on the journey are numerous and that is why we need to regain focus so that we increase our productivity. I once listened to a podcast where Nir Eyal stated that “distractions usually begin from within us and not outside as we tend to think”.
We started this month by looking at how as leaders, we have the power to choose what we will do and what gets passed onto others or discarded to enable us to get the greatest return and reward from our work.
Let us close off this month by diving into how we can regain focus and be more productive.
Although there are various tools and means to achieve this, for purposes of this article, we will focus on the tools of using time blocking and eliminating distractions which tend to rob us of our valuable time.
A lot has been written about time blocking as a tool to maximise our time and increase productivity. In essence, time blocking is a process that allows one to make the most of the 24 hours we all get every day.
This process calls for partitioning the day into blocks of time and then assigning specific tasks to those blocks. For example, we can reserve our most productive time of the day to handle strategic and reflective tasks and use times of the day when we do not feel so productive for menial tasks.
When used effectively, time blocking creates structure and enhances focus which in turn increases productivity. For one to effectively make use of this technique, certain things are key. For example, one must be proactive, and plan then guard that time to ensure it is used for the purpose it was set up.
Similarly, it is advisable to batch similar tasks together to increase focus and avoid task switching.
Perhaps however, it is arguable that time blocking is most effective when we keep the commitments, we make to ourselves and honour those blocks of time and make them non-negotiable. I believe this is best done by ensuring that team members are aware of what we are setting out to do. Going ahead and blocking off time for meetings and not letting those you may meet with know about this will only set you up for failure and cause frustrations for others.
What is clear is that use of time blocking ensures we focus more and can let go of the overwhelm that may arise on the journey of leadership. It also enables us to eliminate distractions by getting specific on what needs to be done plus when it will be executed.
Without a doubt, one of the major roles of a leader regardless of who is behind them is to focus and direct attention towards effective results.
However, in today’s world the distractions on the journey are numerous and that is why we need to regain focus so that we increase our productivity. I once listened to a podcast where Nir Eyal stated that “distractions usually begin from within us and not outside as we tend to think”.
Apparently, some of our internal triggers of distraction are the uncomfortable states we seek to escape from whether its uncertainty, stress, or anxiety these are what then move us to reach for external distractions instead of addressing what may be happening inside us.
To combat this, we are advised to master our internal triggers by honestly answering the question “what exactly am I escaping from?”
It is for this reason that I believe we can also distance distractions by ensuring we sharpen our saws. There is a time for everything and making time to relax, rejuvenate and then reflect on the work that must be done also helps us to regain focus and increase our productivity.
Sometimes, distractions come because of what we allow to stay on our to-do list. I am learning that just because I can do something does not mean I should go ahead and do it.
Instead, I need to ask whether that action is making me productive or simply keeping me busy and then heed the advice from Craig Groeschel, “with all your heart fight the temptation to succeed at something that should not be done at all”.
Ms Rosette Wamambe is a transformational leadership coach with the Maxwell Certified Leadership Team [email protected]