How much are we in control of our agenda at work? Some experts, including Edward Hallowell (Harvard Business Review regular author) suggest that 30 to 40% of our day involves unplanned interruptions. Some of those come from others and some from our own propensity to distract ourselves from doing work.
This is such a waste. The consequence to the organization we work for is a loss of productive time. However at a personal level there is research to reinforce that people are happier and more productive when we’re focused. At a personal level we are likely the biggest losers for a lack of focus.
Before I start my day, I determine specific objectives that I want to meet. I know I will have interruptions that are unplanned for but I try very hard not cause my own distractions. As a rule, I will not let my email or any technology disrupt me. Typically, I will not answer an unscheduled call. When I feel like I have my agenda under control I will review emails and check voice mail. Personal stuff like my personal email, Facebook, and Twitter is not on my schedule unless work related.
As a CEO I have the advantage of being the “boss,” having an executive assistant and other support. But I can assure you that I still have to have more discipline than ever to keep focused. I’m human too and some days are not as productive as others but the most precious resource is my focused time.
Part of self accountability is being honest about how focused we are. I challenge you to measure unplanned interruptions. Stop the ones you have control of. You’ll not only get more accomplished but be happier doing it.
Live the Triangle,