Series of Tools for Change - Part 3

Posted by | October 16, 2011 | Other Blog Posts | No Comments


Personal interventions that work!

Shut down

The report says half of us go to bed still connected. Practice compartmentalisation! Discipline yourself to switch off and focus on family and friends once you close your front door.

Block the way

Set aside reasonable chunks of time during the day to concentrate on one task, project or decision at a time. Leave your desk, go off site, so that you can free up your thinking.

Clear the decks

Something we are actively ignoring – an email we’d rather not deal with or an unpleasant task – can steal attention from the activities we choose to do. Vaporise the elephant stomping around your head to make mental space for other tasks.

Take two

Take social interruptions out of the equation by using a separate device for personal  and real business.

Time change

If your office is routinely quiet at a certain time of the day, consider changing your work habits or even your working hours to take advantage of the quiet times when you won’t be disturbed.

Use cues

If interruptions are inevitable, writing a one or two-word mental “placeholder” on a Post-it® note when you leave one task for another is an easy way to help yourself snap straight back into the previous task when you return.

Keep tabs

Track how well you keep your focus by jotting down each task when you sit down to do it, and then logging interruptions and distractions that got in the way (be honest!). This will give you a view of what keeps you from being productive so you can tackle the offenders.

Take a break

Counter-intuitive? Not really. It’s easy to reach overload on a project if you are giving it your full attention. Allow yourself a break to recharge, maybe even check your email, but set a limit so you get back on track.

Work together

When you sit down and share a task with a colleague you get the benefits of constant feedback face-to-face instead of online, and can stand a better chance of staying on-message.

Have respect

As a manager, create an atmosphere in which people allow others to focus by respecting time they take on a task. That means assigning them hours, days even, where they are allowed to give work their full attention and are interrupted only in emergencies.

Extreme measures

Addicted to Facebook, Twitter or the like? LeechBlock is a Firefox browser add-on that lets you block or limit access to websites that you just can’t resist. Choose your access limit by day, hour or minute. It also reports your usage so you can identify online bad habits. For Google Chrome users, StayFocusd offers a similar service.

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Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

Improvement is everyone's concern: +44 1550 720902 will start that process today.

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