I recently noticed something weird with a senior manager’s way of doing his work.

I arrived ten minutes before appointment and was immediately ushered into his board room.

I was served with a hot cup of coffee, which I sipped slowly as I waited for my host who came after nearly 20 minutes.

He arrived talking on phone and for another five minutes he was still on phone. It kept ringing and it almost made our discussion very difficult. He noted my unease and decided to put it on silent mode and tried to make the meeting shorter so that he could address urgent issues.

One of the key things that affects our performance and relationships is distractions. With portable gadgets such as the cellphone that allows people to get you virtually everywhere and at any time, visitors streaming to your office without appointment and so many other things craving for your attention, distraction is a word that is too familiar.

How to avoid distractions in our work place or businesses and increase productivity is a question that must be correctly answered.

The starting point is identifying sources of distraction. Distractions mainly come from technology and people, as well us within ourselves in form of thoughts.

Communication gadgets, customers, employees and family members must have their own time in our lives in a structured manner to avoid becoming a liability and crashing our lives.

The first step to avoiding distraction is to plan your day in advance and focus on doing what is in your plan first and foremost. This will save you from doing unimportant things at the expense of what matters most.

Drafting a to-do-list preferably a day before or the previous night is the simplest and most effective self-management tool.

Second, set aside time for important activities such as meeting with customers, visitors, employees as well as family time. During that time, mute or bar all other distractors.

Thirdly, purpose to work during times when distractions are less. For example, you can wake up early or work late when there are few distractions. There are some people who are very productive early in the morning and others who perform better late at night when everyone has left the office or has gone to bed.

Fourthly, declutter your mind. Your mind is very powerful. You have heard the saying that you are what you think. This implies that for you to be productive and healthy, you must carefully select your thoughts. Avoid entertaining destructive thoughts by intentionally choosing to see the positive side of the world, reading empowering words and associating with positive people.

Fifthly, declutter your work space. One of the best ways to avoid distraction in your office is to ensure that it is well organized and not cluttered with things you don’t need at that moment.

This article was first published in The Business Daily on December 10, 2019.

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