Breaks, Digital Distractions & Productivity; How Blocking Applications Won’t Work

You’re the CEO of Company B and you’re sure you have a productivity issue, after all, you’re just not getting the results you’d expect from your team. You first install a Time-Clock, but that doesn’t work.. in fact.. now you have a staff moral & trust issue to add to your lack of productivity, so you take the next logical step & block distractive Social Media applications like Facebook & YouTube from your IT infrastructure.

Bad move! In my world, that’s called jumping out of the frying pan & into the fire!

What were you thinking when you pulled that last move? You more than likely hired your team members because of their tenacity, can-do spirit & ability to overcome obstacles. All you’ve really done with your more recent moves are to feed their desire to overcome their latest challenge.. YOU!


Breaks aren’t the cause of your lack of productivity, in fact, they’re increase is most likely the result of your mismanagement, lack of effective strategy, effective communication of individual / team goals & company objectives, or at worst, a complete disconnect between themselves & your Company’s Vision & Mission / Purpose.

The only people I’ve ever seen turn down a break are those that are focused on their work because the have the momentum and drive which comes from clearly understanding how they’re actively contributing to a company’s success, whilst in parallel learning & developing themselves in the process. That little trick is called the AE&M (Alignment, Enthusiasm & Momentum) Factor.

How do you get that? A 1-Day Strategic Alignment Workshop will surely do the trick. When people are aligned & focused on the right tasks at hand, you can’t tear them away from their work-station!

Digital Distractions

Digital distractions can come in many shapes & sizes. The easiest to educate your team about are pop-ups related to e-mail & instant messaging, including updates in personal networks. Again, when these are your team’s primary distractions, first you need to look at their understanding of how their tasks are aligned with personal self-actualization, whilst at the same time driving your company results, for which you will obviously recognize & acknowledge them for their achievements. You do have an effective recognition program right? And it’s objective too?

OK, if you’ve got that covered, then let’s move onto your biggest Digital Distraction that you completely forgot about..

The Smartphone

Have you heard of a little invention called the the mobile telephone? Better yet, did you know that just about everyone in now turning in their traditional mobile phone for a Smartphone, i.e. BlackBerry, iPhone, etc.?

Nielsen predicts that by Christmas of 2011, 1-2 Americans will have smartphones, while Gartner highlights that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide with an estimated audience of 2 billion!

Keeping this in mind, now take a look at the following graphic, originally brought to you by Mashable, which states that the #1 Digital Distraction is topped by iPhone, Email & Retweets! What’s your next move now? Confiscate your employees mobile phones when they walk into work each morning?

The Best Recommended Solution

Do you have a Continuous Improvement Cycle?

The “start here” is the place that works for most successful people.

Just like when you’re lost, instead of driving around in circles until you run out of gas in the middle of the night on a dark deserted back-road, it’s the place you stop to get directions. Better yet, it’s your GPS Navigation Tool that’s going to safely deliver you to your destination.

It’s important to have an objective perspective when tackling this exercise, as even when you think you’re working outside-of-the-box, in reality you’re still confined by the bias of the greater box which are your preconceptions of what’s really going on. Here you need an objective tool to measure the tasks that are being performed. Especially how these tasks measure up against the company goals that have been previously agreed to. As I’ve stated in previous posts of late, the absolute best tool to-date that I’ve seen perform this magic is WorkMeter.

If you have a rock solid strategy which contemplates your Top 5 Focus Areas for the next quarter, year & 18 months ahead, then you’ve got a great start. If not, then that’s your starting point if you want to gaurantee a successful 2011.

As with any insights (anything that you may have gotten from this post), none of them matter unless you can successfully execute them. Stop by this blog often and get the most relevant facts, tools & frameworks to help you achieve success. Better yet, ask questions! What do you need in order to take the next step to increasing your productivity? Leave me your questions here & I guarantee to respond within the next 24h.

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