It's BONUS time! For many march is Appraisal Month - so it's time to put on your productivity hat and make sure you go above and beyond to get the best appraisal (and most money!) But are the distractions too hard to resit? No matter if you are in sales, or compliance, our smartphones, fast Wi-Fi speeds, social apps, and on-demand entertainment (think Spotify and Netflix) make us less patient and reduce our concentration spans. Our lives are shortened to a 10 second Instagram and Snapchat story - is that all we can hold our concentration for now? Although millennials are supposedly more reliant and tech savvy, everyone who uses a variety of apps on smartphones may be affected.
People who live a happy life and successful career take a different approach. They don't let their concentration be killed by a Facebook alert or an incoming email. Here's the TOP 5 distractions we should never succumb to, to show off our best self (and before we get replaced by automated scripts or a newer, younger, cheaper recruit!)
1. 1000 Emails
Due to the constant stream of emails invading your inbox, it may soon become overwhelming. So most people reply and clear emails out as soon as they arrive. Although answering emails is 'work', it's also a distraction. Ever wonder why it's always such a rush to hit the deadline? Progress will be slow if you stop the task/project you are working on every 10 minutes to answer a few emails. You may be working but there's no focus or productivity.
Plan out your work schedule. Decide every morning what are your 4 D's. DO, DELEGATE, DEFER, DROP. Then map out your time accordingly, while including a specific time for responding to emails. This way, you create blocks of 100% concentration time to accomplish your work, and other times to respond to the flurry of emails.
2. Social Media
It's easy to be connected to your friend through the flurry of social media channels - many times every hour. Each Twitter alert, each WhatsApp message and each Facebook status update zaps your focus. Every time you switch to social media, you get disconnected from work. And you have to backtrack in order to get back to work.
Don't log into social media on your computer. Stop using web WhatsApp. Turn off phone alerts, or put your phone on silent and away from your sight. If you are really addicted to social media, restrict the number of times you check it. Set goals and only reward yourself when you have completed what you set out to do. And for a more serious detox, turn of your mobile data and disconnect from the wifi.
Many people are becoming great multitaskers. Others have mastered the art already - messaging friends on their phone, while playing games on their iPad and watching TV. But many researchers have found that we can only really focus on one task at one time. Switching from one thought to another minimises our best work, and also takes time to re-focus and shift. We end up taking more time to do the three things with poorer quality.
Simple. Stop multitasking. Do one task. Finish it. Reward yourself, celebrate, and then get on to the next task. If you really must multitask, ensure that those tasks are not urgent and not important. That way it there's no time pressure, nor is it essential to put out your best work.
4. Worry & Stress
With deadlines, bosses, clients, emails, family, responsibilities, bills, loans, housework and more, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. It's stressful having so much on your plate. Maybe it was a conversation you had yesterday that you can't get out of your head. With your mind going crazy, it can be hard to focus on the task at hand ("work"). As a result, your shoulders may tense up, your breathing shallows, and feel your back or neck ache, and a headache coming on. The feeling of overwhelm, worry or the physical manifestations of discomfort can be a powerful distraction.
462 Breathing. Five slow and easy breaths is the first place to start. Here's how: Breathe in for a count of 4. Breathe out for a count of 6, then wait for a count of 2 before breathing in again. You can also learn stress reduction techniques like mindfulness meditation (and no, this does not have to be religious). The goal of this meditation is to clear the mind and free it from stress, worry and negative thoughts. If you're worried about forgetting chores, or things to do, write them down. And if your stress is creating a bad back, causing headaches, or affecting your quality of sleep, see your chiropractor to get adjusted. Chiropractic Adjustments delivered correctly help your body adapt and deal with stress, so that your body can keep up with the lifestyle you choose.
No explanation should be required. When we're fatigued, we are not our best self. Besides poor concentration and lack of focus, our memory and mood are usually atrocious. Fatigue is often associated with insomnia. Those at risk include people who worry (above), feel stressed and exhibit signs of anxiety or depression.
A great day starts the night before. Having a great night ritual will play a big role in having an awesome next day. In order to wake early, feeling refreshed, energised and excited, we need quality sleep, and for a good amount of time. Researchers suggest between 7-9 hours though if you pay attention to your body, it will tell you how much is the optimal amount of sleep you require. Chiropractic care can also help, especially for people who feel stressed, anxious and cannot get a quality nights rest. If you're a night owl, and are most productive after midnight, yet need to wake early for meetings - change. Sure breaking habits and creating new ones take effort and time, but ritual and consistency will get you there. It's either that or find a job that gives you flexibility of what time you need to wake up!
And a BONUS one! Since we're all giving Bonuses this month:
Sad to say, most friend's don't call us anymore. 80%-90% of communication is through messenger apps. So when we receive a call, it's hard to resist answering. Whether it's a cold call from a telemarketer or an old friend, they've completely broken your concentration -and taken away the time spent chatting with them.
If you're working on an important project, switch your phone on silent - no vibration too! That way, you resist the urge to answer, so that you can keep your momentum going. This is especially important if you receive many calls a day. You won't get much done if you're always on the phone. If you've scheduled your day, you'll have scheduled a time for checking emails, making calls, and enjoying social media.
The Author: Dr Gary Tho is a Chiropractor in Singapore, specialising in Peak Performance for individuals and teams. He helps his clients be the best that they can be, in and out of the office. For corporate training, or one-on-one consultations, please contact Dr Gary Tho here or email him at DrGary@chiro.com.sg .