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Business Coach: ‘Beating Distractions Is The Key To Success’

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Business Coach: ‘Beating Distractions Is The Key To Success’

February 04
16:07 2019

Daniela Grendene

It doesn’t matter who you are or what your position is at work, we are all subject to a constant flow of potential distractions while we’re working. Some may be short while others we seemingly awaken from and ask, ‘Where did the day go?’

The problem is we all have a finite amount of hours each day to accomplish what really matters. For small-business owners, time is among the most precious of commodities and the little distractions during the working day can end up having a significant impact on both one’s income and one’s chances of long-term success.

According to some experts, the top distractions for most people tend to be (in no specific order): phone calls; emails; meetings; chatty colleagues, and the time-sucking black hole that is the internet. So how do we avoid these distractions and ensure the greatest productivity without relegating ourselves to a sensory deprivation chamber during the working day? The key is to begin with a blend of firm schedules and agendas, self-discipline, unbreakable rules and incentives.

In the first of a new series of articles on the strengths and benefits of executive coaching, Daniela Grendene outlines a few ideas for beating the daily distractions that would otherwise hinder one’s short- and long-term goals…

Make peace with the morning: Meditation can prepare body and mind for a busy day ahead

Firm schedules and agendas:  Establishing a routine is a great way to create a habit. If possible, start each day with exercise, introspection and meditation, and concentrate on who you have to be to get through it. Exercise gets the blood pumping, sets you in a good mood and improves focus and energy. Introspection and meditation allow you to concentrate on the day ahead and think clearly about what it will take to best engage those around you. Meetings, both internal and external, should have a stated agenda. Let people you plan to meet with know what the purpose of the meeting is, the topics to be covered and the expected start and finish times. That way, everyone knows what to expect and will arrive better-prepared and are more like to stay on-subject during the meeting.

Zoning out: Distraction at work accounts for several lost minutes and even hours during the day, costing both staff and employer dearly

Self-discipline: We are often our own worst enemy, especially when facing things we dislike. Completing the more unpopular tasks earlier on in the day allows you to move on to what you enjoy and so finish the day in a good mood. Switch off distracting sounds from your phone and computer. Most calls are unimportant and can go to voicemail. Let people know you only check email and voicemail two or three times a day and to make sure they leave a message if you need to get back to them. Schedule the checking and responding into your default plan so you can stay on track. And stay away from the social networks at all costs. Prioritise your work each day so the high priority work is completed first and the optional items wait until later. That way, if your timeline slides, the important items still get finished. Keep a notepad with you to jot down new items that will need to go into the schedule later.

Unbreakable rules: If you’re a particularly sociable person, you should limit yourself each day to how much time can be spent chatting about non-productive topics. If the time you’re spending isn’t adding to your bottom line, chances are you’re losing money. Never eat lunch alone. Find people to spend lunch with who can add to your revenue down the road. Bring a colleague who needs a boost or to have a confidential conversation away from work. Use the time to build rapport, improve relationships and be productive while you fuel up. Stay off the internet! It sucks in most people and results in huge amounts of lost time. Otherwise, get in, get out, and save yourself. If you can delegate, do it. If you shouldn’t do it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it, then delegate it, UNLESS you have to or just plain love doing it and can afford the hours. If it’s not worth your time or not worth the hourly rate of what you should be paying yourself, then it should probably be delegated to someone else so you can spend your time on activities that help grow the business.

Bin the distraction: Setting yourself an important personal or business goal for the next 12 months is a crucial part of beating the distractions that can plague the working day

Incentives: Set yourself an important personal or important business goal that you are pushing hard to achieve in the next 12 months. Now place stick notes at your computer, your bathroom mirror, wherever you end up when you’ve been distracted, and write on them, Is this worth not achieving my goal?

I have found this method to be very effective in helping me stay on task. Make sure you take time to celebrate good performance. We need to pat ourselves and our teams on the back once in a while. A constant state of alertness and stress needs to be broken periodically so we can unwind, recharge, refocus and assess the validity of our plans.

Spend the end of each work day preparing for the next:

  1. Position papers and materials you’ll need first thing in the morning.
  2. Review tomorrow’s schedule and understand what’s coming up.
  3. Contact people you plan to meet with to remind them of anything they may need to bring or prepare.
  4. Set yourself up for a winning day tomorrow and then go home, relax, unwind, stop being on-the-job and find time for balance in your life.

Daniela Grendene is a business coach and director of ActionCOACH, the world’s No.1  business coaching firm. For more information on how they can help you and your organisation to reach the next level, visit

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Catering Scotland

Catering Scotland

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