In preparation for a webinar last week I polled a question to the participants. The title of the webinar was "Minimizing the 5 Most Dangerous Distractions In Your Workday," and the question was, "Which of the following workplace distractions is most prevalent for you?" The answers (and responses) were:
Mental Monsters-like unfinished tasks and procrastination (32%)
Lack of Intention (16%)
None of the numbers really surprised me except the response rate about health. Maybe it's because in a forced choice question people really do see the others as being more prevalent. My experience with many people in the workplace today, however, is that those who aren't taking care of their health are more easily distracted by the other 4.
When I say health, many people's minds immediately race to physical health, and that is the most important subset of the group. It was the one that woke me up at 40 and caused me to make some lifestyle changes that skyrocketed my ability to focus on a daily basis. Once I saw the benefits from being more physically healthy, I started looking at other areas of my health that needed to be addressed. Here's a more complete look at other areas to review to evaluate how your productivity may be sabotaged by poor health:
Nutrition/Exercise/Sleep How do you physically feel throughout the day? Is your lack of physical energy ever an excuse for not working on a specific task? (For a great review of the value of sleep and what happens when we don't get the proper sleep, check out this infographic)
Managed Input/Sacred Idleness. How often do you suffer from information overload? Do you have a plan to manage it? Do you unplug mentally from time to time and give your mind a chance to relax and recharge?
Relationships/Laughter/Service. How often do you laugh each day? How strong are your relationships? And are you taking the time to help out those less fortunate or skilled than you?
Debt/Purchases/Financial Plan. Are you quickly distracted when thinking about a heavy financial burden or how you will pay bills at the end of the month? Does any unplanned expense rattle your ability to stay focused?
The reality is that our health is probably the ultimate key to sustaining productivity over the course of a day, week or month. If you didn't like the answers you gave in response to the questions above, don't fool yourself into thinking they aren't impacting your success...they are.