Eliminate Distractions and Be More Productive in 2021

Photo by Crazy Nana

Why do we even make New Year’s resolutions?

Well, we all get to the end of the year and want to achieve professional goals for the year to come. However, our productivity generally slumps around the holidays, and our big plans for the New Year?

They usually fail.

A Forbes study even said that only 8% of people achieve their workplace resolutions! If you want you and the rest of your employees to stop being part of the 92 percent, you need to understand something first.

Why Do We Fail?

It’s not just at New Year’s that we find ourselves reneging on our business goals. Actually, 70% of people who set goals at all fail to complete them. So why do we fail to achieve our goals? Some of the most significant factors are:

However, it’s not just about the way we form our goals but the environment in which we try to achieve them.

Let’s have a look at the biggest challenges that we face in the workplace:

1. Distractions

Did you know that we get interrupted around 200 times a day? On top of that, it can take up to 25 minutes “recovery time” to get back on track from each distraction. We get side-tracked at work by:

And this recovery time from each distraction? That’s what we call a switching cost. This associated cost results in time lost, and it makes it harder to resume habitual tasks. A habitual task, for example, might be something that you can typically complete seamlessly — like checking your email!

Pretty crazy right?

It’s no surprise then that with all these distractions we often find ourselves multitasking.

2. Multitasking

We’re not re-inventing the wheel here when we say that multitasking decreases productivity. We can’t stop using multi-platform communications, like WhatsApp and email. But we can work on our tendency to work on projects and emails all at once. Just imagine that switching tasks more than ten times a day decreases your IQ more than being stoned!

So with all the distractions and task switching at work, how can we set measurable, realistic goals?

Use the SMART Goals Framework

Well, a good place to start would be SMART goals. The idea of SMART goals stands for:

By setting SMART goals, you can protect yourself from failure at the source. It can become a framework for turning vague resolutions into actionable goals.

Example SMART Goal

Let’s have a look at why a standard resolution might fail the SMART test, and how we can improve it:

In the end, we’ve come a long way to arrive at a SMART goal of: “I want to earn 10% more than last year, within this financial year.”

See how the SMART framework can help you interrogate your resolutions until they’re achievable?

By even just writing your goals down, you’re 42% more likely to achieve them. I even came up with the SMART goal to: Write this article, get it edited and finalized within two weeks!

But how do we go about measuring our SMART goals?

OKRs: Objectives and Key Results

You could use OKRs — famously employed by Google, Twitter and LinkedIn. This framework stands for: Objectives and Key Results. It can help your organization to achieve goals by building specific and measurable actions.

When we think about objectives, we mean:

If the objectives are where we want to get to, then the key results are:

Example OKR

Let’s have a look at an example of how OKRs could help you achieve your New Year’s resolution.

For this objective, you should have 2–5 key results by which you can measure success. A couple of these might be:

You need to make sure that OKRs are simple and agile so that they can respond quickly to market changes. They also need to be collaborative — this will help with transparency across all levels of your organization.

Ultimately, the objective with both of these frameworks is to break goals down into milestones.

Then, you can break those milestones down into tasks.

So now we’ve set our goals and their milestones — how can we make sure that we stay on track with our resolutions?

Data Tracking

One of the best ways to measure your key results (OKRs) or the ‘measurable’ aspect (SMART goals) is to track your data.

Should you even set a goal if you can’t measure your success?

Well, no.

Tracking your progress is the key to success. If you wanted to be healthier, you might count calories. If you wanted to run a marathon, you might shave down your mile time. If you want to boost your business productivity, you might use a tool like actiTIME, where you can monitor and manage time tracking and reports.

Delegate

With all the distractions and multitasking, you might also find yourself wanting to delegate certain tasks.

Studies have shown that 77% of small business owners experience burnout. But, 53% believe that they can grow their business if they delegate 10% of their workload! So why don’t they? When you get stressed, it affects your goal-setting strategies and completion rate. You tend to:

So why aren’t you delegating and outsourcing?

By outsourcing time-consuming tasks, you benefit you and your employees. This will allow you to focus on company goals whilst reducing workplace pressure.

Some areas to target for 2021 might be:

Conclusion

59% of businesses now use outsourcing to reduce their expenses. But you’re still going to need to change the way that you and your team set goals in-house in the New Year. Your key takeaway from this article should be this:

Then you’ll be on the road for a very productive 2021!

This article was contributed to actitime.com by Harry Patté-Dobbs, a content writing and PR expert at Pearl Lemon.

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