If you’re anything like most business leaders today, chances are you don’t make decisions on what to do based on what’s the top priority or the most important thing to finish but more based on a feeling or some other random twist of fate.
Do you make decisions based on what you feel like doing, largely because it’s easy or fun to do? Or do you do things based on when you first became aware of them, sort of like the accounting “first in, first out” philosophy?
Maybe you prioritize tasks related to whoever’s screaming the loudest? Or do you do things as you think of them? Are you like those who do things based on the all-important order of the sticky notes you’ve put all over your monitor or strewn around your desk?
Laura Stack, president and CEO of The Productivity Pro, says discretionary time in any business leaders’ schedule can become their biggest dilemmas. In her keynote, “What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do” at the NSCA Business & Leadership Conference, Stack says offices are “like an emergency room.”
“A lot of us don’t look at the things that are causing us to lose focus,” says Stack. “If I don’t do something, will anyone actually notice? If the answer is no, I probably shouldn’t be doing it anymore because it’s of low value to my customers. Do what matters and set expectations accordingly.”
Tech Distractions Threaten Productivity
It’s crucial for business leaders to concentrate on their work, says Stack. That comes through a four-step process: create a capture place (a notebook, for example), don’t obey your thoughts when they’re trying to distract you, record your thoughts and go back to the task that you prioritized before the distraction.
It takes seven minutes for people to ramp up to work and we get distracted every four minutes by technology or others in the office with different priorities than what you have, says Stack.
“We’re doing it to ourselves without thinking about the bad habits we’ve formed,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how long people sit at the office every day. All you care about is the results. The leader has to be the first one to model that behavior.”