Five Suggestions for Staying Focused at Work

By Harvard Business Review
February 14, 2018

As the speed of the health care business accelerates, it’s easy to become distracted. These ideas can help physician leaders slow their personal pace.

Technology undoubtedly has ushered in progress in myriad ways. But this same force also has led to work environments that inundate us with a relentless stream of emails, meetings and distractions.

Having the discipline to seek out solitude and step back from the noise of the world is essential to staying focused. Here are some thoughts on how to stay focused at work.

Schedule solitude: Treat it as you would any meeting or an appointment. If you don’t schedule and commit to solitude, something else will fill the space. Even 15-minute pockets of solitude can be effective.

Analyze your time: Most of us have meetings we can afford to miss, and most of us underuse our energy because we have not allocated time to reflect and be rigorous about priorities.

Starve your distractions: The limitless possibilities of the internet hang over our heads, tempting us to click. Acknowledge the ways in which technology lures you in, and intervene by logging out of your social media accounts and blocking certain websites.

Learn to be less busy: One of the biggest reasons we struggle to focus is because we fill our schedules with too many commitments and we consistently prioritize urgent tasks over important ones. Don’t let the tempo of work get in the way of leadership development and training opportunities.

Create a “stop doing” list: There are only so many hours in a day. As your to-do list grows, you cannot keep accumulating more tasks. Solitude gives you the space to reflect on where your time is best spent, which provides you with the clarity to decide which meetings you should stop attending, which committees you should resign from and which invitations you should politely decline.

Copyright 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

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