Reduce Distractions

Remove or limit the things that may distract you.  Even where you sit in an open office will impact your productivity.

Topic – Make sure your day doesn’t get the best of you

Mentor – Scott Stein

  • Where you sit will influence your productivity
  • Manage your ‘social time’
  • Aussies work harder


Kevin:   All week with our guest mentor, we’ve been talking about the 24/7 communication cycle we get ourselves into, the need to keep energy up and make sure we’re using the most of the time that we have. We all have the same amount of time. Scott Stein is our guest. Scott has written a book called Leadership Hacks which we’re promoting this week, and you can go to his website and get more detail on that. Scott, let’s talk about the distractions because this is the big shift that agents need to make or anyone who wants to get more productivity into their day, and these distractions can just sneak up on us without us even knowing or recognising them, Scott.

Scott:   Yeah, they do, they do, and it’s funny because what I notice is I’ll go into an agent’s office and in the back area quite often we’re in the open plan, right, the open plan office which can have its benefits, but at the same time what I’m finding it can actually steal a lot of people’s time. If you are next to kind of the area where the kitchen is and everything like that, the back part of the office, any time somebody comes down, if your computer is facing the hallway, quite often you have a conversation. It stops your flow, it stops what you’re working on, and then you’ve kind of got to restart five or ten minutes later, which is one of the big distractions. Sometimes just kind of moving your computer screen so you’re not looking down the barrel of the hallway is something that you can do to kind reduce some of those.

Kevin:   Yeah, I’ve seen a shift in how offices are set up too. Open plan, of course, is the big team builder, but I’ve now seen hot desking as a way to overcome a lot of the problems of open plan, which is, you know, open conversation. There are some people who work well in that environment and others who don’t, and they therefore through hot desking get the chance to move to an area that’s not quite as noisy where they can be productive, Scott.

Scott:   Yeah, and that’s what I find for quite a few people with the hot desking. I’ve got some clients that do that. I’m like where are the most popular seats? They’re usually not the ones right next to the kitchen or the hallway. They’re usually ones on the corner, and that’s just because there’s less distractions there.

Kevin:   Yeah. Yeah, so look around. Look at your own environment. If you’re working in an open plan environment, make sure that you’re getting yourself into an area … it can be a trap, like the water cooler. You go to the water cooler, you can guarantee you’re going to have some kind of conversation if you want it, but you don’t have to have it.

Scott:   Yeah, and I think it’s good at times to have a bit of social where you need a recharge. I think what people need to be aware of is when am I gonna do that, right? Don’t let me get distracted with something like that. Let me focus on the project or the task at hand, let me complete it, and then as a reward, I’ll go up and have a bit of social talk with somebody else in the office, and I think that’s one thing that people could be doing more often.

Kevin:   Yeah, this is all about channelling what you do, when you do it, and managing it. That’s the message I’ve gleaned out of this full week with you, Scott. It’s been great talking to you, mate. How’s the book going, by the way?

Scott:   Yeah, it’s going really well actually, going really well. It’s been out for a couple of months. For a while, we’ve been in the top ten of their book sales, which is great.

Kevin:   Wow. That’s good.

Scott:   And in fact, I head to New York City very soon, actually on the weekend, to actually do a book radio tour over there in New York, Washington, and Boston.

Kevin:   Yeah.

Scott:   So yeah, it’s going well.

Kevin:   Do you find when you go to those locations, of course this programme does actually have quite a large audience in America, but are the challenges we have with time similar to what they have in the states?

Scott:   Yeah, I think it’s very similar. I think it’s very similar. In fact, you probably have picked up I have a bit of accent. I grew up in America. I’ve lived in Australia and Sydney for 23 years, so I go back. I’ve got clients in Australia and the U.S. as well, and one thing I find is everybody everywhere is actually having to go faster because everything’s so digital. One thing that I think that Australia still has in front of the U.S. is Australians still work hard, but play hard. I reckon in the U.S. it’s kind of work hard, but sometimes the play hard doesn’t happen as often.

Kevin:   Do you find generally, this could be a generalisation, but generally the lifestyle in Australia is a little bit more relaxed. Do you find that that sometimes comes through in our work ethic as well?

Scott:   Yeah, I think it is, and the other thing that I find as well is Australians know when to turn it on when they have to, and I think that’s one of the things … in fact, a lot of Australians are seen as great leaders when they go to the U.S. or Europe or the U.K. or even Asia, because they know how to actually kind of switch off and enjoy themselves, but they know how to turn it on, and I think the thing that we need to do is just be aware of how do we do both. Make sure we take the time with our families, make sure that we do turn it on and be productive and ignore some of the other things so we can get things done quicker so we do have more time for ourselves as well.

Kevin:   Yeah, great message, Scott. Thank you very much for joining us this week. All the best with your book, Leadership Hacks. Make sure you check it out at Scott’s website. There are links on every page of our site all this week. All the best for the tour too and for your speaking. I’d love you have back on the show again at some time in the future, Scott.

Scott:   Great. It would be great to be back, Kevin.

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