The American workforce reported increased distractions in 2022 when working all day hours. Indeed, the career software company Zippia says that 70 percent of employees are distracted throughout the day. As the summer season of Fridays and messages from out of office hours wind down, it’s imperative to find ways to keep our attention.
Over the past decade of helping businesses achieve success by simplifying their processes and creating a book on leadership, I’ve found several small but powerful methods to streamline your operating systems. Whether in person, remote or blended, it’s possible to be on top of your work by testing these strategies.
1. Subtract strategic planning. The planning season is in full swing, and we’re all considering new strategies and plans to reach our 2023 goals. As with financial services company State Street, I love taking one tactic or program with each new one added. This helps to focus the mind and reduces the amount of clutter that can accumulate when businesses use their previous year’s plan to develop their plans for next year. To be more focused in the long run, it is essential to consider the things you’re planning to cut and not just what you intend to include.
2. Schedule (or take part with) the Hackathon Thursday each Month. Not just for tech businesses anymore, hackathons are an integral part of the pharmaceutical firm Novartis. The previous competitions have focused on digital solutions to healthcare for individual countries; the best methods to end the European cancer epidemic, and tackling data science problems in Slovenia.
Within your organization, hackathons are a great way to bring the entire company together to tackle pressing issues in the hopes of generating numerous solutions. By expanding the ideas pool beyond the org or people responsible for implementation, you’re engaging with a larger range of opinions and experiences.
3. Try try the “Yes…if” method. Although its origins are in improv theater, the expression “Yes…and” has been modified by the most innovative people into “Yes…if.” Its usage is more beneficial to creative flow than “No since it is more akin to a “Yes” ….” When giving feedback on an innovative or creative idea, think about changing the reflexive “no” to “yes…if.”
For instance, instead of saying “No, as we don’t have enough bandwidth,” consider using the phrase “Yes, if…we can pause X program to make teams more efficient.” Instead of “No, it’s dangerous,” rephrase your reply in the form of “Yes, if…you have market studies that justify the risk.” Finally, when you’re just a breath closer to saying, “No, since we don’t have the budget to fund this idea,” substitute it with “Yes, if…we can use the funds allocated to Y or Z to test or experiment with this concept.”
Eliminating distractions and improving your focus on day-to-day tasks requires an amount of discipline. However, you’re doing it purposefully by selecting a language that fosters creativity and directing your entire organization towards an ordinary problem resolution. The less clutter overshadows your strategic plan and the greater focus you and your team will be required to implement the strategy. Although these strategies are designed to boost productivity this autumn, I’m sure you’re looking for the most efficient method to get to the beach or a new grilling method to experiment with on the coming Labor Day weekend.