Focus at work – Triumph over disruption and distraction


Disruption now effects your days massively and on an increasing basis, and whilst the subject conveys emotional boredom, productivity gains can be very rewarding by utilising the following daily techniques:


Preview yesterday’s time utilisation.

This is best done at the end of each day, and by doing so you get to make judgments about making adjustments today. This amounts to measuring your effectiveness as attested by Peter Drucker when saying “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”.


List the most important tasks you want to accomplish in the day. The number should NOT exceed 5 but more usually, it would be 3 tasks of 1 to 2 hour duration. Leave time for the disruptions. The first priority should be from the previous day and if all were completed, you’ve nailed your time management and can add 1 more task each day.


PRESET timeslots to deal with those distractions. We’ve become an immediate society with phone and email but the truth is we should allocate say 3 time slots per day to make phone calls, review emails and deal with private matters.

Phone calls are the best means of communication. Pick up the phone and note how many calls and the time it takes to deal with them each day for better planning.

EMAIL is a killer of time. If you receive 50 emails per day and deal with them on an adhoc basis, you will fail to get to the 1st priority you chose! The next step with email is to be brutal in choosing what you send to junk (and unsubscribe) and what you allocate to research and what you choose to deal with.

If you deal with your email by adding it to your TO DO LIST or delegate the matter, you should never have more than 10 items in your inbox.


Customize your TO DO list.

Your day is a matrix and so fill in the squares deliberating between your various areas of concern and their priority.

You have 7 potential areas demanding your time, including

  • The business you are paid to DO,
  • administration, – the infrastructure to deliver,
  • marketing – to ensure the future business,
  • research – to gain knowledge
  • private – personal and family.

Prioritizing your planned actions is a no brainer but easily side swiped without disciplined focus and daily re-assessment.


Automate your processes with technology.

Your TO DO LIST can be made more effective with colour coding.

Your client setting appointments can be set up without your involvement with tools like Calendly.

There are too many technologies advocating increasing your productivity or business efficiencies and you do NOT want to pioneer any but be aware of new tools and apply some of your time in research to investigate what is being picked up and specifically what your competitors are doing.


Plan for longer

You must have a longer-term plan outlining your goals for say 3 years. To achieve those goals, you need to check the status required in 12 months. To achieve that section of your broader plans you must know what is required in the next 3 months.

3 months is 13 weeks and in this time, you should be planning to achieve 13 targets that fit your overall life and business plan. These should be approached one at a time with complete focus. That focus should not shift until that task/goal is achieved. This is where your daily plan takes shape.

Most people overestimate what they can do in the short term, resulting in semi complete tasks with limited success and they underestimate what they can do over the 3 years.

If you follow the above plan you will exceed your long-term plans and the fulfilment is financial, emotional and a family boon.

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