If you want to “unleash your genius” at work, first get a handle on the extent of your distraction. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you constantly interrupted at work?
- Do you ever feel like you’re starting to make some real progress, only for someone to drop in with an “urgent” request?
- At the end of the day, do you feel exhausted and burned out despite not actually accomplishing nearly as much as you’d anticipated?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it’s likely your potential at work is being stifled—not only your potential to do your best work but also to feel accomplished at the end of your workdays. But with our society growing more tech-reliant, multitasking and constant distractions have become the norm.
The good news is that this seemingly “new normal” doesn’t have to be your new normal! You can take charge of your workday, avoid burnout, and unleash your genius. To help busy knowledge workers understand how to do this, I wrote “How to Overcome Your (Checks Email) Distraction Habit” that was published recently in the Harvard Business Review. In it, I sought to raise awareness of how distraction has become a habit for many of us. This recognition is so important because awareness is the first and most critical step to disrupting those habits that aren’t serving us.
Unleashing your genius requires the ability to build up your “brainpower momentum.” But with the distractions of the modern workplace, that’s easier said than done.
In the article, I provide more information about how to raise your awareness of your distraction habit, plus I detail three additional strategies you can implement immediately:
1. Develop, Test, and Record Strategies to Overcome Distractions
Just like anything else, being truly productive requires practice. It’s important to not only recognize each time that your attention is drawn away from the project at hand, but it also helps to stop and understand why you’ve lost focus.
2. Create Activation Energy
Finding energy to finally get started on a new project is the hardest part. Activation energy helps us start work that requires thoughtful, deep thinking. To kickstart your activation energy, break big projects into smaller tasks.
3. Use Friction
The corollary of activation energy is something I like to call “friction.” In addition to making it easier to do the things you want to do (creating activation energy), make it harder for you to engage in the things you want to avoid (create friction).
Head on over to the article for more details about each of these steps.
Distractions are appealing because they tend to be fast and easy things we can do instead of the work that’s really important. So regain control of your distraction habit and it will seem like you’ve actually “created” time in your day.
The foundation of all my speaking, training, and writing is that attention management is a more relevant path to productivity than time management. Every week, the training I do with teams, leaders, and workers reinforces the immeasurable difference it can make in both individual and organizational productivity. Read about those differences on the reviews and case studies pages.
To learn more about attention management and how it can help you or your team, you can get started by assessing your own skills with my new Attention Management Assessment.