Today Zack Grossbart stops by to take a different take on distractions and focus. Zack is the author of the upcoming book The One Minute Commute and writes over on his blog. Zack focuses much of his writing on exploring how to build distributed teams using best practices from the high-tech industry.
Everyone knows that distractions make it more difficult to stay focused, but sometimes they make it easier. Have you ever fallen asleep during a long phone meeting? My father (a practicing psychologist) told me how distractions can make it easier to stay focused on the telephone.
When you talk with someone face-to-face you are getting a huge amount of information. Telephone conversations give your brain the audio information, but not the visual information. When it doesn’t get the visual information from the conversation it will look for it somewhere else. Give your brain something more to do.
Other people can tell when you lose focus on the phone conversation.
Use small distractions to help you stay focused:
- Visual distractions help you focus. Don’t watch a movie (that is too distracting), but some low-key Internet browsing can work well.
- Do something with your hands. Play with a desk toy, pass a ball back and forth, knit, anything that you can do mindlessly.
- Walk around. Exercise is good for your brain and movement helps you focus.
Giving yourself small distractions while you are on conference calls will help you stay focused and be more productive.
Do you have a good idea for staying focused on the phone? Post a comment and let other people know.
Photo by: Robert Banh