Mental toughness is a must in any business environment. But toughness is not enough. You need to protect your mental state from fear and worry, yes, but also from distraction. What are the best ways to eliminate distractions in a world full of instant messages, push notifications, endless emails, calls and texts?
Protect your time. Just because we are all so connected and accessible that does not mean you must always be available. Block out your time in a way that includes opportunities to return messages without killing your workflow. However, make sure to do so at a time and place you can act on those messages. Sitting in traffic away from your calendar, computer or project information doesn’t really help you. Since you won’t be able to fully answer any questions or address any concerns, you will have to go back to it later. Not only does this force your focus away from where it should be “later,” it also adds the stress of remembering the message, forcing you to listen to or read it again, completely negating the initial attempt to address the issue.
Don’t try to eliminate worries, act on them. Some worries may be legitimate, but none of them will put cash in your pocket. So, instead of allowing your mind to wander to your worries, schedule time each day to intentionally address your concerns and work on scalable solutions. No matter what you have on your mind, there will be some steps you can take – large or small – that will move that issue in a positive direction. It may not immediately solve the problem causing the worry, but you can celebrate the progress and move on to something that will make you money.
Focus your attention. Multitasking sounds impressive, but it’s a trick. Time and again, multitasking has been proven to deliver poor outcomes. Instead, build protocols into both your workflow and your office protocols to promote and protect you and your team’s focus. Complete one task before moving on to another. If you must attend to several projects every day – and who doesn’t – set benchmarks to delineate the difference between “work” and “productivity.”
Part of protecting your mental attitude is giving yourself opportunities to experience and celebrate success. That means prioritizing. Focus on the tasks that will offer the most value and deliver the greatest return. When you accomplish these tasks, you will feel energized and motivated to tackle the next job on your list rather than stressing about having “so much to do.”
Eric Vainer is a New York based entrepreneur and medical professional.