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Are you addicted to your own distractions?

21 February 2014 Rose Kelly

Rose 70After doing a lot of reading on the topic of ‘mindfulness’, Rose Kelly looks at how you can become sharper and more focused.

 

As a business coach and trainer, I am also constantly seeking out those who stand apart in this industry, the true ‘best practitioners,’ trying to identify what it is that sets them apart. I have started to realise there is a connection between the two.

That connection is the way in which they manage distractions.

There is a myriad of research and anecdotal evidence concerning the frequency and significance of distractions in the workplace. Managing properties should be relatively easy, but we all know it becomes complex and difficult because of the volume of small tasks constantly competing for priority space in our attention. Add to that interactions with landlords, tenants, co-workers, tradespeople, and suppliers; the noise and happenings in a busy office; the demands of multiple technology devices and ‘apps’ and an element which has recently arisen in new research – our own innate or learned ability to manage those distractions.

Distraction studies have been used to look at things like the length of time people stay on task, the number of times within a period (hour/day/week) that workers get distracted and the ultimate cost to organisations. More recently, however, the researchers have started to consider why some people get more distracted than others. It seems that for some of us the ‘buzz’ of a distraction can be habit forming and even addictive. If we fit into that category, before long we are welcoming and even looking for our next distraction or ‘fix’.

Much of this happens unconsciously and unintentionally, but the effect is always the same. Our day or week as property managers can rapidly spiral out of control when the distractions outweigh the productive, meaningful work. What I’ve noticed about high performing practitioners in this industry is that they have a range of techniques and strategies – some personal, some organisational – which help them limit the effects of the same distractions that others find so crippling.

This is where mindfulness comes in. Among other things, mindfulness involves being aware of what is happening as it is happening. It is about being more sensitive to our everyday experiences in a way that shifts us from automatic pilot to more of a life on purpose. Learning mindfulness techniques is a whole new discipline and one which takes time. However, my observation is that some use these techniques without even realising it.

This is what sets them apart from most. They really focus on what they are doing – using a mantra almost of ‘right here, right now’ to keep them on track. They discipline themselves to be mindful of the task in hand, rather than mindless. They also practice some accompanying strategies to assist in this ability to concentrate. These include elements such as working to a set plan, turning off competing devices, completing higher level thinking tasks at a time when glucose and energy levels are highest, managing communication proactively by calling the landlord or tenant before they receive the call/interruption.

As a result, they communicate better, work more efficiently and experience less workplace stress and higher levels of contentment around their job role. It is possible, but it takes time, effort and discipline all fuelled by the desire for better outcomes … and a real desire to avoid the property management ‘epidemic of overwhelm’.

About Rose Kelly

Rose 100

In her 30-year real estate career, Rose Kelly has become well known as a leader in Australian real estate circles. She has been a business owner, property manager and trainer and was the original editor and publisher of The Property Management Journal. Rose recently joined Real Estate Dynamics as a consultant trainer, coach and business analyst in property management.

 

Are you addicted to your own distractions?
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