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  • Writer's pictureSimon Jones

Can a distraction become a productivity boost?

Becoming more productive is about what you do less of, not more of… or is it?

It’s the mantra “work smarter not harder”.

There are lots of top tips on productivity and what efficient people have in common but, in my experience, there are a few, simple, practical changes that can make a big difference to your productivity levels…and it is not always about doing less.

Be more of a Sprinter

You wouldn’t except these words to come from a Marathon runner, but you don’t tackle a Marathon as 26 miles you break it down in to manageable achievable sections and the same is true of any significant business task. You will be more productive by setting smaller achievable tasks. Ensure you give each full focus and the right amount of time rather than going full pelt and draining yourself in the first 10miles, or worse…not making it to the end.

Contingency Planning

My next article is about Scenario Planning. Investing a ringfenced amount of time to work out contingencies (ideally with inter-department buy in) in your strategy means that should something ‘not go according to plan’ you have the risks and possible mitigation options identified.

Don’t let distractions distract you

This has possibly become easier with remote working as the people/office distractions aren’t there but maybe new ones have taken over.

More phone calls, emails, zoom meetings - as well as more temptation to make a coffee, dogs needing a walk, children needing a lift, going on the Zwift bike…

While home working may mean sharing family space it is important to clear time for thinking and doing - so plan out your day accordingly.

Simple things I find that help here are;

- Take the dog for a walk first thing (no commute anymore)

- Put your phone on silent

- Turn off the notifications to your iwatch

- Set ‘busy’ status on your whatsapp

- Block out time in your meeting calendar

Turning a distraction into a positive

I mentioned the dog walk and the Zwift bike. Well actually these don’t have to be ‘distractions’ and can be productive ways to get the grey cells working. For me it is running and cycling, the hypnotic pace, the fresh air (ok from the indoor fan for the static bike) and the freedom for the mind to wander is when I have come up with some of my best strategies and plans.

Don’t underestimated the positive and freeing impact doing exercise can have on your work brain… just don’t over exercise and get too tired to actually do the work!

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