When it comes to super-sizing your productivity, there’s a distinct difference between “multi-tasking” and holding a focus-to-finish mindset. While multi-tasking has become a modern-day work activity, doing too much will only set you back from accomplishing a single task very well.
And don’t you think you owe it to yourself and your work to focus on doing a good job, one task at a time?
I know there are more and less effective ways to think. However, here’s an example of one way I manage my distractions:
If I’m busy doing one task, like when I’m typing the draft of an article, I like to have a piece of note-paper off to the right-side of my desk. As I’m writing, if anything unrelated to my immediate task (such as an idea or thing-to-do) pops into my head, I’ll jot it down on this note-paper, so I can attend to it later. This way, I won’t have forgotten it later, and I won’t let it distract me at that very moment, either.
The same holds true when I’m having a meeting with a client. I like to have access to a white board, so I can draw out the ideas we’re discussing, but also jot down answers to search for later in a “parking lot” area for questions. This enables me to stay focused on the conversation at hand and follow-up on parking lot items for later.
Managing Distractions From Others
Are your co-workers to blame for endless disruptions throughout your workday? Here’s a tactic to help manage distractions to your workflow: Ask them to interrupt you “in about an hour,” with the things they think of between now and then. Personally, I’d prefer to get interrupted once with the things they need help with over the course of that hour, rather than get interrupted multiple times.
Think Now, About Then.
Open your calendar and look 5 days into the future. Between now and then, what will you need to have seen, heard and done? Make a list of things to do and to ask people, and see if you can get them done ahead of time. More Pro-Activity = Less Distraction.