Distraction

Last week I said I’d do this week’s blog about ‘language’ and the biases that it can introduce to decision-making. Distraction. I got at least half way through and I got distracted by a commitment that I had made to the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce to blog about their AGM event.

Then I got really interested in an idea I had for improving the evaluation frameworks that we often use to create a quantitative way of selecting the ‘best’ option from amongst many. But that became a bit long-winded and as I was wondering how to limit the scope of that blog when I got distracted by my baby going into hospital.

So the biggest topic on my mind this week, amongst all the decisions I need to take at the moment is;

How to behave when surrounded by so much distraction?

To do my best work I need to be able to focus.

This means:

  • Getting rid of most of the reasonably urgent but small tasks that are in the in-tray
  • Reducing interruptions (phone, e-mail, visitors)
  • Having enough physical space to access keyboard and papers at the same time
  • Knowing that I am not going to be distracted for the next N hours – where N is a significant proportion of the total time required to complete the task.

So, if I only have 20 minutes before the next meeting and I have a task that needs a good two hours I find that I am very easily distracted other, easier to do but shorter tasks.

How about you? What distraction do you suffer from?

How do you cope with them?

When we make significant business decisions it can be difficult to find time to focus. A popular tactic seems to be to create specific time and space to get the right people together for a meaningful discussion. A programme board for example. A board meeting. An away-day. Such ‘events’ come with their own set of pre-conceptions and adopted behaviours.

So I am curious about how effective these forums really are at removing distractions and how they can be made more productive.

I don’t have a silver bullet on this one but I note that by being aware of what is distracting me I can at least pay attention to the distraction and deal with it and create a better space to work in.

Link to this week’s picture

Nigel

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