Where Focus Goes, Energy Flows
The other day I read a fascinating Citrix Blog written by James Bulpin called, “Distraction Theory: How AI will help workers to be more focused.” I will include the link below.
In the blog James tells us that on average we are distracted over 400 times a day with calls, text, emails, app switching, etc. That means an approximate distraction every 40 seconds. James goes on to quote Linda Stone, ex-Apple and Microsoft consultant as coining the phrase “continuous partial attention”. The article goes on to talk about how AI and machine learning coupled with technologies like the Citrix Workspace can help us regain some of that lost time through automation, advanced workflows, and simply removing unwanted distractions.
While James’s blog focused on the technology, I want to take a different approach and discuss the self-leadership and the personal organizational skills aspect of this topic.
My coach, Robin Sharma in his new book The 5AM Club states, “An addiction to distraction is the death of your creative production.” He goes on to also say, “Intellectually we know we shouldn’t be wasting time on zero-value activities, but emotionally we just can’t beat the temptation.”
I have taught many times that one of the first steps to leadership mastery is by first leading yourself. Self-leadership is indeed the hardest; harder than leading the toughest of teams because of how we judge ourselves and the standards we set (higher or lower) for us vs. them.
Robin introduced me to the concept of TBTF. Tight Bubble of Total Focus. This strategy is designed to regain your “me-time”, refocus your energy, and concentrate on the value-add tasks of your life, both personal and professional.
The implementation of this concept simply starts by acknowledging you have a finite amount of time in the day ahead. Robin says to enter this invisible bubble, as he calls it, and ensure it’s completely empty of other people’s superficial messages, spam, fake news, advertisements, silly videos, irrelevant chats, low-value tasks, and other items designed to distract you from your creativity. Then your mission throughout the day is to monitor what you decide to let into your bubble and what you feel needs to be kept out.
Breaking this implementation down one more step and referencing back to what Citrix is doing with Workspace, once we have cleared out and begun to monitor the personal distractions, it’s time to allow the technology to assist with the work-related tasks in our day. Automation to cut into our manual efforts, advanced workflows to assist us with mundane tasks, and alerts & reminders to keep us focused on our quality work. You see, I love alerts and reminders. It’s been proven that once your brain knows you have taken care of a task, it forgets it and allows you to take on more. However, while the main task might not even be started yet, the reminder itself is a task to remember something, and the alert, allows my brain to relax in the fact that my technology will tell me when it’s time to start. My wife knows this all too well when I ask her to make sure items are in our calendar. This is my “set it and forget it” for now mentality.
We are never going to be void of distractions. It’s how we handle those distractions that will dictate the quality of our workday. In managing those distractions, we can see a massive increase in productivity over short periods of time. Manage your personal and profession distraction bubble first and allow your technology to assist with managing the distractions of your daily work. AI and machine learning have come a long way and continue to improve each year, but self-leadership and self-organization will also be your starting point.
James Bulpin’s Citrix Blog - https://bit.ly/37TKxZB
Robin Sharma’s The 5AM Club - https://amzn.to/36J4XEu
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