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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Sep 17, 2019

Welcome to our second Midweek Motivate. The middle of the week can be tough for leaders. The goal of midweek motivate is to give you one practical idea that you can try for yourself or with your team right away.

Our workplaces are full of so many distractions. Loud conversations, noisy equipment and other background noise can distract us.

People try to counteract this in lots of ways, and headphones are right up there as the distraction-reducing weapon of choice. I even saw someone once who had a large pair of over-ear headphones on with the cable dangling down to the ground - they didn’t even plug the headphones in, but used them as some kind of open plan hearing protection.

So you have some deep focused work to get done and you’ve reached for the headphones. What next?

The key here is to not replace one distraction with another. We humans are hopeless at multitasking, particularly when it comes to perception and concentration. It might be tempting to put on an audiobook or podcast but, despite my clearly vested interest in telling you otherwise, neither is a great idea. Our brains will be trying to decode the voices coming into our ears, and that will continue to distract us from our work.

Okay - so if audiobooks and podcasts are out, what about music? Music is likely to be a better option, but not all music is created equal when it comes to concentration. Music with lots of lyrics, particularly unfamiliar music, again is likely to distract us.

So a better option is to go for familiar music that doesn’t have lyrics. But that potentially sounds kind of boring. Another trick is to loop one song on repeat. Just pick a song you like to match the mood you want to be in while undertaking the deep work, and put it on single-track repeat. You will find that your brain quickly tunes out the music while it also buffers you from other distractions.

Give it a try today and let me know how you go and let another colleague know about the podcast as well. Have a great week.