Planning Priorities and Goals in an Age of Distraction

Did you know that $650 billion dollars are lost annually in productivity because of workplace distractions? Workplace Options, a company that specializes in evaluating productivity in the workforce, conducted a study and found that the top 5 distractions were: Technology (e-mails, social media, and voice-mails), personnel, surroundings (co-workers, loud environment) unproductive meetings, and celebrations.

This does not surprise me. Just today I was communicating with an employer about an upcoming project. Halfway through our conversation, my phone began beeping on my desk.  A couple of seconds later, it beeped again. I had to literally turn my phone off to avoid being distracted.

This problem is an epidemic in our culture. Statistics show that an average worker starts a project and spends 11 seconds on it before being distracted. Then it takes 25 additional minutes before he or she can get back on task. How do we avoid this dilemma? Here are 3 practical steps that I believe will help us become more efficient at our job.

  1. Prioritize your day. Before you go into work, write a list of 10 tasks you want to get accomplished and rank them in order of importance. Why? So that you complete the most pertinent jobs first and get ahead of schedule instead of trying to accomplish all of them at once without any direction.
  2. If you have to work on your computer to get the project done, but social media is tempting you, turn off the internet. This will prevent you from browsing Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and other websites that decrease your productivity.
  3. Find another employee that will keep you accountable for your goals. This will benefit your productivity and the employees, bringing a positive change to the company’s working environment. Let’s be honest. Many of us don’t even have the discipline to work out at the gym on a regular basis, but we know our chances increase exponentially if someone keeps us accountable to our physical health. Shouldn’t we swallow our pride and apply this to the business world?

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