What is corporate A.D.D.?
It’s not uncommon for work to take over your life in today’s world. Gone are the days where at 5:00, you leave work and enjoy a relaxing evening at home. Today, with cell phones, laptops and tech tablets, you have access to your work email at all times, and if clients have your cell phone number, forget it. They know how to reach you at all hours. These are helpful technology tools, but they also can become distractions that actually take away from your work productivity. Enter Corporate A.D.D. — the common disorder that is stressing you out.
Corporate A.D.D. refers to the stress that you feel to get a large number of tasks accomplished each day. Instead of remaining focused on the work that you need to get done, you get easily distracted by the phone ringing, emails flooding your inbox and the text messages that seems to create an endless buzzing on your cell phone. When you add these additional stressors to your workload, it is easy to see how you can actually spend a longer time on any given task, thereby slowing you down and taking some of your much-needed free time away.
Three tips for overcoming corporate A.D.D.
So, what is the cure? Well, while we can’t ignore these tech tools altogether (although some days, you might be temped to), instead, you should try employing some of these time management tools:
• Try to stay in the “Proactive Zone.” Think of your stages of activity as being proactive, reactive, distraction, or waste. Reactive refers to urgent demands. In my opinion, the definition of “urgent” has gotten far too relaxed. If a client is genuinely upset and panicked, then yes, by all means, make them a priority and stop what you’re doing to help them. If they simply want a question answered within the next 24 hours, finish what you’re doing and then address it.
If you spend all day in the “Reactive Zone”, you’ll never get anything done. Proactive refers to planning and preparing for your day and executing the important tasks that need to be done. This also includes down time and re-charging your batteries. Your quality of work will never remain high if you don’t take some time to relax. Try and stay away from the distraction and waste zone, as they refer to unneeded interruptions or excessive trivial activities. If you focus on staying proactive all day, and know when to enter the “reactive zone”, you’ll get more done even faster.
• Try time-blocking. Whether it’s your weekly Zumba class or time spent checking and responding to emails, block a few times each day or week to do important tasks. Whether the activities are personal or professional, you need to block time for the things that are important to you. Here’s the kicker: don’t compromise that time block for anything that isn’t urgent. This isn’t easy to do, but it’s important to staying stress-free and positive.
• Keep your personal time personal. No, really. You can claim to be spending time with your loved ones but if you’re spending the whole time on your phone checking and responding to work emails, are you really using it as free time. Unless there is something urgent that needs to be addressed immediately, (again, this is REALLY urgent, not a false sense of urgency), just stay out of your inbox and let work calls go to voicemail. Your quality of work will go down if you’re burnt out, so your personal time is important. Don’t be afraid to take it.
Improving productivity, curing corporate A.D.D.
If you can put some of these practices into use as you go about your work week, (and stick to them), you’ll find that you’re less stressed out, more productive and able to grow your business. Cure that corporate A.D.D. by managing your time and knowing when to ignore outside distractions. This won’t be easy to implement-it’s easy to give in to the temptations of distractions both inside and outside of work, but if you stick with it, you’ll find yourself easily able to get things done. Best of luck!
May 21, 2012 at 1:36 am
Great article. With all the distractions nowadays, we definitely have to be proactive and block out time for important tasks. Good advice.