No doubt you have heard all about the detriment distractions causes our productivity. It causes lost time, loss of concentration, higher stress levels and more. The research varies, but it is estimated that workers lose between 3 – 5 hours a day to lost productivity.
On the flip side, the distractions that you allow for yourself are actually trying to be helpful. No, I’m not talking about Phil droning on and on during another meeting (but please give Phil my number so he and I can have a chat about what his droning on is doing for him).
The distractions I mean are those that you willing partake in during the day – checking social media, “consulting” [read mindlessly chatting] with colleagues, or fast walking to the breakroom to see if there are still doughnuts.
Here are 3 ways distractions help your productivity –
Mind break – That constant checking of social media may not be getting you closer to crossing things off your to-do list, but it may be giving your mind a break. Remember back to the last cute, cuddly kitten video you watched. What were you thinking about? I’m sure it wasn’t getting your latest presentation done. Watch that little kitten play gave your mind a break from the stress of focusing on work.
Connection – When you congregate with your colleagues to discuss what you did over the weekend, complain about how much work you have to do or even the weather you are making connections with other people. Those connections foster a sense that you are not alone. It lets you know that other people want to be around you and you develop a sense of team work. Everyone wants to feel as though they are in doing this life thing together.
Physical Boost – Maybe another doughnut isn’t what you need, but it may be that your body telling you that something is missing. Just the act of getting up and moving your body to look for said doughnut benefits your body through more oxygen, dopamine and increased blood flow. Maybe you really need a sugar boost to get through the afternoon (although that is another story), but maybe your body is just telling you that you need to stop sitting for so long.
While you certainly want to limit your distractions when there is so much to do, there can be benefits to the distractions you allow yourself. And it is perfectly acceptable to want to have a break from focusing. As social creatures we will want to be part of a group and need connection with others. We also need to be able to give ourselves a physical boost once in awhile to make us feel better physically. When all of these come together we can actually be more productive.
Keep your head in the game –
P.S. If you have a problem with too many self-made distractions, I invite you to take a break and contact me about the Productivity Kickstart. Or least refer Phil.