When a new year begins, it presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on the prior year’s successes, challenges, and even failures. For those in leadership roles—whether of a client base, team, or company—the noise and distractions of the day-to-day can be overwhelming. How do the most successful leaders manage their schedules to be productive? What are their secrets?
In a Fast Company article, author Jory Mackay observes that distractions boil down to just two: external and internal. Mackay notes that, “According to Daniel Goleman, author of Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellence, there are actually only two kinds of distraction:
- Sensory distractions (external). These are the things happening around us like colleagues talking, phones ringing, people moving around us, music playing, etc.
- Emotional distractions (internal). These are the thoughts that make our attention drift from what we’re doing. For example, remembering a phone call you need to return or thinking about an upcoming meeting.
The problem is that most of us only focus on external distractions. It’s easy to blame your lack of focus on notifications and interruptions.
Applied Client Network recently interviewed Applied Systems CEO Taylor Rhodes for Connections, its official publication. Rhodes was asked to share his best tips for staying productive.
As simple as they sound, here are my three secrets to staying productive:
- First, think about your priorities on a regular basis. Are you focusing on what is most impactful and important to you, your role, and your company? If you don’t think about this regularly, you can drift.
- Second, manage your time!! There are many ‘time traps’ that try to make their way onto your calendar, so you have to learn to be somewhat ruthless about the meetings you accept. Do they align with your priorities? Where you spend your time and energy, especially as a leader, will determine how much and where you can impact your role, your team, and your company.
- Last, manage your inbox. I never finish my day until I have taken care of anything that requires me to take an action so that others can get busy with theirs. When you become the bottleneck, it can really slow down an organization — especially if you are a leader.
As you head into the new year, it’s a great time to evaluate your internal and external distractions so you can achieve the best and most productive year. It benefits you, your clients, and your family and friends. What better way to ensure 2020 will be your best year yet.