I was just reading a blog post by Joshua Milsapps in which he highlights three lessons he learned from the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. I happen to be reading the book myself and agree with the three changes he made. Another thing I did recently as part of reading the book was to take an inventory of the things that end up distracting me during the day and thwart my productivity. Here are a few of mine:
1. The Google Search Gone Astray: You know how it goes. You do a Google search for something, find an interesting link...then another...then another. Then you look up and wonder: now what was I searching for? I just saved a bunch of great links and learned something new, but I'm not sure I found exactly what prompted my quest.
2. The Quick Ping: Quite often, I'll be pretty focused on reading or writing something when I'll get an IM from someone. Since I am a remote manager, I want it to be like I'm in the office - immediately available - and I don't want to keep people waiting if it means they won't be able to move forward on a project. So I try to answer right away...but even a 3 minute exchange will knock me off track temporarily and I need to take a few minutes to get back in the groove on what I was doing. Note to Colleagues: Please keep pinging me. I want / need this form of communication as a lifeline in terms of both getting things done and as a social / fun part of my day. This is my issue to figure out! 😉
3. The Tyranny of Email: I also feel pressure to be checking email almost constantly in order to keep the information and communication flow going. However, what happens with a "quick check" of email is that I'll get caught responding to multiple messages and find myself 45 minutes deep into some of the little rocks vs. really moving the big rocks of the day.
How about you? Have you identified your most common culprits (and how do you overcome them)?