It’s a problem you’ve probably faced several times already. You’ve had that one phone call you really wanted to make, that one spreadsheet you need to finish, or the plans you needed to finalize, but you just couldn’t get around to it. Even though it directly aligned with your goals and would have made you money, life just managed to get in the way. If that’s a common occurrence, something’s going wrong. You need to identify what’s keeping you away from the work that really matters and fix it before it sinks your business.
It might seem like the most minor issue in this post, but the truth is that distraction can be of huge cost to your business. You have to tackle causes of distraction of both kinds – internal and external.
Internal distraction includes things like social media use or inattention. It’s down to the individual and is usually tackled by talking one-on-one and setting firm rules about workplace behavior.
External distraction is trickier, however. It’s caused by issues in the work environment, such as being interrupted because someone else needs help with their work or because environmental noise is interrupting your focus. For those, the onus is entirely on you to identify and stop the root causes of those distractions. Set protocols involving communication with a request ticketing system for support staff, or rearrange the office to provide spaces that offer more privacy.
Sometimes your work is your distraction, but it’s not the kind of work you want to be engaging in. Never fail to prioritize your workload. If you treat everything like it’s the most important task, you can fail to get anything done. Place the most urgent, most important, and most likely to result in profit tasks up front. Use those three definitions to list them in order and start removing or delegating tasks that you don’t need to do right now.
Operational downtime is an entirely different kind of problem, which is often due to technical issues in the office. Most of them come down to faulty computers or networks and could use the assistance of managed IT services to prevent and mitigate as much as possible. You have to consider other causes like internet or power outages, too. In those events, having backups such as a WIFI dongle and a backup generator can help diminish the impact of said downtime.
If it’s a productivity issue within the workforce and it’s not due to distraction, you need to take a look at the workplace culture. It’s not very likely that your whole team is just inherently lazy. They usually just aren’t motivated, which is your responsibility.
The four problems mentioned above can truly become an existential threat to the business if they become too commonplace. Always keep an eye on your progress to your goals and continuously evaluate the roadblocks that get in the way. It’s the only way to make sure you achieve what you set out to achieve.