In today’s business landscape, no matter what your position in your company, you are probably carrying out a variety of duties that cut across a few different job descriptions. When you're juggling a variety of different tasks, along with constant life demands, you have a recipe for constant distraction. Distraction negatively affects your business results, and must be stopped it in its tracks. There are some steps you can take to help you do this.
Set a schedule
The bigger your job, the less control you have over your schedule. Your team will need your help, and many times they will come to you immediately when there is a problem. You’ll need to judge what’s an emergency and what isn’t. If the issue can wait, schedule a time to meet with that person about it. If you have staff across the country, set a regular time each week to get caught up. Do the same with your supervisor. Set up a time for you to meet each week to update them and make sure you both are on the same page. Setting a schedule and sticking to it as best as possible will help you juggle your job duties more effectively.
Make a time and place for everything
More people are working from home offices than ever and that trend will continue. While you gain extra time by not commuting, distractions in the home abound. Set parameters and stick to them. You may need to pretend that you did commute to an office and that you are not physically at home so home demands don’t become a distraction. Set 8:30-5 (or whatever work schedule you are required to fulfill) as “office time” and don’t deviate from work duties. Then set another time for home duties and don’t let work interfere in that time. Time management skills are essential to keeping work distractions at a minimum, as is discipline.
Teach your team to be solutions oriented
As a manager, you are a problem solver for your team. But if you are the solution to all their business challenges, they won’t grow as professionals in the long term. In the short term, it means you will spend less time with their issues if they come to you with a solution to the problem they are presenting to you. The best way to get them to act this way is to ask them “so what do you think we should do about it?” when they bring a problem to your attention.
Set time limits on discussions
In a group setting, it’s easy for discussions to get off course, especially if the members like each other personally. There is a great benefit for a team to personally bond, but if left unchecked, it can distract the team from doing what it was formed to accomplish. Watch the clock when in a meeting. When the discussion veers off course, bring everybody back into focus. As long as you don’t do it in a scolding way, your team members will probably be glad you did.
Make time for yourself to organize
The bigger your job, the less control you have over your schedule. Make sure that every day you set aside time to focus on your agenda, away from distractions. Get organized. This will probably mean getting in early before everyone else and trying to plot out a course for your day. So be it. There are sacrifices for professional success and if you are a manager, that means devoting more time to the job. By taking this time every day to organize and make it about your work needs, you will be a more effective leader.
All these tips should help you keep distractions at a minimum by effectively organizing your business and your personal job duties. The time spent planning and thinking ahead will save you time in the execution phase of your work. You’ll be more productive and maybe have more time for personal pursuits as a result. That sounds good, doesn’t it?