Here’s what I wrote,
Most teams are fully getting back to work this week and it may be apparent how much time is being spent in minimizing distractions. As I wrote in one of the Teams365 blog posts last year, studies by Gloria Mark have found that it can take up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to a focused state.
Distractions abound in today's workplace from:
Open concept work areas where visual distractions abound
Regular bings from email arrival, updates, Instant Messaging
Being called into meetings which may not be as effective as necessary
All three of these areas can be quickly assessed if you are committed to minimizing distractions for you and your team.
Some initial ideas to minimize distractions may include:
Creating "focused work" periods. Whether it's 30 or 60 minutes a day, focused times, which have no immediate distraction allow us to get things done. Many studies find that our immediate productivity can be boosted by giving projects time windows and a time frames. The Pomodoro technique is one example of accelerating productivity. It posits that focused activity for 25 minutes can be followed by a 5 minute break. Read more about the Pomodoro Technique from its' creator here.
Become ruthless with meetings. Moving the needle on meetings may be a goal for many teams today. If you have not yet downloaded a copy of my bookmark for my newest book - Effective Virtual Conversations - on making virtual meetings more effective, download it here. It includes 8 Questions you will want to ask yourself before every meeting.
An initial question to ask your self this year is "is a meeting the best way to communicate this information or is there a better way?
Closing email and other app windows at different parts of the day. While it may not always be possible to turn off email for extended periods, it is important to have blocks of time where we are able to focus solely on the task at hand. Providing small work areas for individual and/or groups to meet in for the important pieces of work are critical. It may take a few minutes to get into the flow of these projects, and scheduling in time on a regular basis to have focused work time, is useful in breaking the cycle of ongoing disruption.
Ask yourself if you need to interrupt someone before you immediately hit send on an email which could be delayed, or bundled with some of the other questions you have.
Where does your team get distracted at present? What small, but consistent changes would make a difference to the way you are working?
Stay tuned as we continue our focus on time management and personal productivity net week.
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