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Staying Focused and Saying Thanks

Two more questions answered from the 4/26/12 live webcast call – “Getting It Done While Getting Along…Overcoming Your Co-Workers Poor Habits” for the AMA(American Management Association) turned out to be a very popular topic and call. Hundreds tuned in to listen and we received dozens of questions from the listeners. In an effort to address as many of the questions as possible, I will be addressing and posting a couple of the questions to my blog each. As always feel free to comment, ask a question and/or share your idea or solution.

If you missed the call or would like to listen again, you can access the call recording by clicking here

Q. What is a good way to help maintain someone’s focus when they are looking for information but cannot remain focused on the answer?

Remaining focused on the task at hand is a common problem for many people. Our workplaces (and lives!) are packed with distractions. Most distractions can fall into one of two categories: those caused by physical clutter and those caused by “mental clutter.”

Here are a few simple solutions that may help someone that is easily distracted.
• Reduce physical distractions by clearing the clutter. Stacks and piles can be a major distraction for some people.

• Close/minimize open programs and pages on your computer that are not currently being used.

• Turn off email notification and check it intentionally, when you are ready and able to focus on email by manually hitting the send/receive tab.

• Improve your ability to stay focused by writing down the problem/question on which you are working – keeping it in view, and then writing down the answer once you find it. Just having something physical in your hand or view can help keep you reminded of
your task or goal.

• Imposing a deadline, for example 20 minutes, or by Friday at 9 a.m., might also be helpful. The “rush” against the clock can sometimes trigger a slight adrenaline dose that can help some stay focused.

• Finally, I encourage many of my clients and associates who struggle with constant switch-tasking or focus-issues to practice saying out loud and repeat as needed, “Right now I am…(fill in the blank).” This can help train the brain to stay focused on the task at hand and stay “in the moment”.

Q. Is it ok to thank a coworker for their help even if it is their job to help you?

You can’t go wrong by saying thank you. Everyone likes to be acknowledged and/or appreciated for their efforts or part and too often it doesn’t happen. Even if it is their job to do something, saying thank you is simply being polite and polite (when done sincerely) is always a good thing. If you are at a checkout and the cashier gives you your change, chances are you say thank you…even though it is indeed his/her job to do so.

Whenever you have the opportunity to be nice or give appreciation to someone, I say take it… I mean give it :).


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