Back in the Industrial Revolution, time was money. Systems were designed for maximum efficiency, and effectiveness was measured by how much time could be dedicated to any given process. A perfect example of this was the assembly line. In today’s world, attention is now the most valuable currency a person can earn or spend. The right amount of focused attention in the right place at the right time can lead to massive success. That being said, many of us suffer from what I call Professional Attention Deficit Disorder or (PADD). If you were distracted at any point during the first paragraph, you might have the disorder. Here are some common experiences from people with PADD:
- You are frequently distracted from an activity, by others, or by your own lack of focus
- You finish your day and are surprised how little you actually accomplished despite the fact that you felt “busy” all-day
- You have a to-do list of important items but always seem to be distracted with more “urgent” activities
- You find it difficult to fully focus on another person without thinking of other matters
- You feel a sense of information overload when it comes to your texts, emails, and tasks
- You think you are a great multi-tasker
- You pride yourself on being the best firefighter in situations
- You are frustrated by how infrequently you find yourself “in the zone”
If any of those sounds like you, you might be suffering from Professional Attention Deficit Disorder (PADD). The good news is that it is curable!
Here are 6 things you can do today to mitigate PADD’s impact on your life:
1. Create Golden Hours
Establish certain times during each day where no one can distract you. The only interruptions that are allowed are genuine emergencies. In order to prep for this, educate your professional environment when it is best to get in touch with you by phone or in-person for non-critical matters.
2. Loosen your Electronic Leash
At least four times per day set 45-minute time blocks where email, texts, and other electronic distractions are turned off. Each time block is dedicated to fully focusing on one specific activity and nothing else. The truth is, very rarely is anything so critical that it cannot wait for a reply within an hour. Who knows, the issue might even resolve itself without you.
3. Prioritize Long-Term Projects
Make a list of all your current important projects that are not urgent, then assign at least two one-hour slots a week to do them. Keep these appointments with yourself the same way that you would with a client. Do not allow yourself to book anything during those times unless it is a true emergency. An attic is cleaned easily by a few boxes a week rather than the entire thing in a weekend.
4. Minimize Multi-tasking
At times, multi-tasking is both unavoidable and necessary. Fortunately, the majority of times you find yourself feeling rushed are actually your own doing. Multi-tasking is counter-productive in the long run. Practice being fully present and engaging in one activity at a time. If someone stops by your office while you are doing a task, ask them to schedule some time with you to fully address the issue.
5. Create Blocks of Similar Activities
A doctor never checks his email in the middle of surgery, and a lawyer doesn’t take incoming calls when the court is in session. What makes the critical responsibilities of your role less deserving of your own concentration? We all like variety, but do your best to plan activities in such a way that complementary activities can be done in groups.
6. Find the Right Work/Life Balance
Just as your time at work should have focus and intensity in each activity, so should your time away from work. Being fully present in all your interactions includes those outside of work. When you find your mind drifting towards work-related activities when you are off the clock, bring yourself back to the moment at hand.
With these six solutions, you are sure to alleviate PADD. Fully engaged employees can play a tremendous part in the growth and success of a company. Get rid of your PADD today!
With over 90 years of logistic experience, Top Talent has been committed to “Finding people who make a difference” for its clients. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.
– Michael Monson
Top Talent LLC
President and CEO