Do you respect and admire distracted leaders? Why or why not? Driving while distracted drastically diminishes your ability to drive well. The same thing happens when you are distracted in your leadership. Your leadership abilities are diminished, and you do not lead well.
Where do you fall on the scale of distractibility? When you’re driven to distraction, you can become so agitated you feel like you’re going crazy. Distraction comes from the Latin dis-, “apart,” and trahere, “drag.” So distraction is when you’re dragged away from what you want to focus on or a specific task you want to complete.
Interruptions are external, distractions come from the inside and prevent you from giving your full attention. Have you paused to consider what distracts you?
Here are some distraction busting practices:
- Decide who gets your attention. Technology is created with neuroscience research and intentionally designed to distract. Fight back by turning off notifications and being intentional about when you look at your phone and how you use it. Know what distracts you and eliminate it from your environment. If you are tempted to pick up your phone, put it out of reach! The next time something distracts you, ask yourself how you can prevent that from happening again.
- Say “no” more often. Every “yes” equals a “no” to something else. Sometimes the trade-off is worth it. But when the tradeoff sacrifices your highest priorities, it’s nothing more than a distraction, regardless of who issued the invitation. In business we know that strategy is as much about what you don’t do as it is about the strategic initiatives you select. You can’t do it all, so choose carefully.
- Manage your time and energy. Evaluate what time of the day you are most effective and productive, and then schedule accordingly. Build in breaks throughout the day to replenish your energy. Your state of wellbeing translates into your leadership effectiveness. It’s hard to be productive when dehydrated, malnourished or tired. Take care of your mind and body to maintain a maximum state of alertness.
- Eliminate random acts of learning. We highly value learning, but get clear about what you need to learn. Filter book and podcast recommendations through your context, your goals and your unique DNA (Dynamic Natural Ability) as a leader. We wrote a blog post on being effective by being selective in your reading, check it out HERE.
Finally, as you work to eliminate distractions, consider replacing the time you spent being distracted with regular focus and reflection on your mission, purpose or goals. Live in greater freedom in your life and leadership as you remove the clutter, starve the distractions and feed your focus.