Recently I was talking to one of the business colleague and he complained that it is getting more and more difficult to stay afloat, concentrate on priority and get something important accomplished. He is not the only one who suffers from lack of time, attention and focus.
To some extent it might be because of the following reasons:
1. Poor operational organisation
2. Poor time management
3. Lack of delegation of authority, and centralised decision-making
4. Data overflow
I would like to focus on the latter two, how they are considered nowadays, their trends and what stems from it.
Data today is everywhere and every industry tries to organise it in order to increase productivity. However, one of the main problems nowadays is inability to control data flow what makes business and states more vulnerable and especially for cyber interference. One of the reasons is that still there is no perfect software that could analyse the huge volume of data.
The series on Cyber Security posted on IHQ reveals this issue in more detail.
We experience the same problem on a personal level. If you are a curious person with different interests who likes to be on top of the news on every profile, you probably are overwhelmed with enormous number of e-mails every morning when you open your Inbox. I barely believe that everyone has sufficient time to read them. Because in order to stay productive you need to say “NO” and focus on more important tasks.
Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of the Energy Project and the author of “Be excellent at Anything”, says “Prioritizing requires reflection, reflection takes time and many of the executives I meet are so busy racing just to keep up they don’t believe they have time to stop and think about much of anything”.
Executives prefer to say ‘yes’, because it avoids conflict and feels safer.
More than ever, we’re prisoners of the urgent.
We need to step back from the crowd and find time for us to reflect, digest, rethink, assess our experience. It also gives space for us to strategize while we refuel and collect ourselves.
Tony Schwartz suggests the following steps to be more productive:
1. Create a calendar of important but not urgent tasks, Building rituals will help to give space to regular tasks that later become automatic, no longer requiring conscious intention or energy. You can schedule time for brainstorming, or more longer term strategic thinking, or getting entirely offline after dinner.
2. At the end of the day review what’s happened during the day and define priorities for the next day.
3. Designate 90 minutes to the most important task in the morning. Keep your door closed, phone on silence and e-mail turned off. You will be more focused and you’ll get more accomplished what is directly correlated with the quality of work.
4. One scheduled break in the morning, one in the afternoon and during lunch time will help you to renew yourself so that energy doesn’t run down as the day wears on.
We react to what’s in front of us, whether it truly matters or not.
So what exactly distracts us from improving our productivity? Our lack of attention, i.e. Attention Deficit Trait (ADT), that will be reviewed in my next post.