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7 Ways to Overcome Distraction and Do What Matters

47% of the time you aren’t focused on what you’re doing.*

You give yourself to trivialities when distraction governs your day.

7 ways to overcome distraction:

#1. Establish “no respond” hours in your office.

You can’t do important work and respond immediately to email and text. In other words, expecting immediate responses trains people to spend time on trivialities and urgencies.

#2. Use the stuffed dragon method.

Give everyone in your office a stuffed dragon. Put the dragon on your desk or in front of your door when you’re doing priority work.

You invite interruption when you leave your door open. Give everyone permission to carve out uninterrupted work time.

#3. Turn off notifications.

#4. Keep a notebook on your desk.

Don’t chase random thoughts, record them.

#5. Stop making everything a priority.

Any boss who believes everything is a priority has a team that can’t focus.

Deadlines often establish priorities. All assignments need a deadline. The next time you assign a task, discuss and establish a deadline.

#6. Discuss commitments.

Over-commitment is distraction.

Don’t make new commitments without discussing your current commitment-load.

“I have these five commitments. Where would you like me to place this new commitment?”

#7. Schedule a five-minute buffer.

Schedule five minutes between meetings. Take a breath, a short-walk, or just put your feet up.

One person closes their door and turns the lights off in their office for a few minutes.

You will get more done if you don’t run from one task to the next.

Bonus: Discuss the difference between urgent and important.

Others control your time when you rush from one urgency to the next.


Try dedicating 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to an important task.

Leaders that chase urgencies neglect priorities.

What distracts leaders?

How might leaders overcome distraction?

*How to Focus a Wandering Mind – Berkley


The Most Important thing You Manage Isn’t Projects or People

Deep Work, by Cal Newport – Book

The Law of Distraction for Leaders – CEO Magazine

The Dangers of Distraction – HBR

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