A leader’s greatest asset is the ability to focus on key initiatives to ensure teams, services, products, and ideas are flowing and growing. While the skill of focus is critical, so too is the ability to eliminate distractions from your day. In my work, I am fortunate to witness the habits of highly successful executives, who use the following five key practices to minimize distraction.
- Leverage Your Peak Time
Are you feeling your sharpest during the morning, afternoon, or evening? This is your peak time. Set aside three hours during this period for your planning. Specifically, focus on core activities and actions that move your vision and critical items forward.
- Incorporate Technology
Make sure you are using software, apps, and hardware to support your visions, goals, and results. However, the minute technology starts running you, step back and ask yourself – what is the most productive use of MY time to achieve results? Then, adjust accordingly.
- Release Perfection
If you tend to focus on getting it right vs. moving it forward, this is the start of the slippery slope to procrastination. Remember, the reason you are successful and competent is that you are a learner. Your strength is to find the “best way” not the “right way” to achieve results.
- Master the Quick Reply
If you receive a multitude of emails, chats, and posts simultaneously, make a habit of responding at specific times during the day, such as 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. Come up with a quick reply as simple as “Thank you for the update.”
Don’t get seduced into thinking that you must tell everyone what to do and resist making small changes that don’t really affect the outcome. As you read, focus on the “what” and not the “how.” Only focus on “the how” if you are directly responsible for doing the activities to achieve the results.
- Close Your Door
For one hour a day, close the door to your office or put headphones on to focus on being productive rather than busy. If you’re working remotely, close out of messaging apps or set your status to “away.” Get the real work done that will make the greatest difference for your goals and objectives.
Be clear, have a plan, and get it done!