Try this exercise: close your eyes and count to 20 slowly. Sounds easy, right? Do it again and start over every time you are distracted by another thought. That is much more challenging for most of us.
The Power of Adrenalin
How long can you go without checking your phone? Studies have shown that we get addicted to the jolt of adrenalin when we hear the text or email message notification. When I lead team building sessions or facilitate a meeting, the participants agree on whether to turn off or silence their phones. Some of them get the shakes – like they would if they had to give up coffee for a day. I find it hard not to check mine every time I stop at a red light, even if I’m enjoying the song on the radio.
40 Percent ROI
We have trained ourselves to expect distractions. We think we can’t function without them but what do they cost us? Research indicates that productivity can be reduced by as much as 40 percent when people switch tasks.
Stop whatever else you are doing and think about that – you could be 40 percent more effective if you focused on one thing for a defined period of time. Where else can you get that kind of ROI?
Achieving Your New ROI Goal
We know all this and yet we still do it. Why? We have to create a new ROI: Return on Intention©. What better time to do that than the beginning of a new year? Here are some suggestions:
- Identify one thing you will do differently. Be as specific as possible and avoid saying what you will not do. Write it down where you will see it often. It could be, “I will sit through five stop lights without checking my phone.”
- Write down when you will start and how often you will do it. “I will start tomorrow and continue for the next week.”
- Describe the benefit you will get from doing this. “I will be able to enjoy what I’m hearing on the radio.”
- Find an accountability partner. “I will ask my coach to check in with me every Monday by 9:00 AM if I haven’t emailed her about my progress by Sunday at 5:00 PM.”
- Recognize potential derailers. Notice what gets you off track and find a solution. “I’m likely to forget when I’m in a hurry so I will leave five minutes earlier for my meetings.”
- Reward yourself. “I will add a new song to my favorite playlist when I achieve my goal for the week.”
I invite you to test this approach to improving your ROI and see how it affects your productivity.