How to Avoid Brain Drains and Increase Productivity

How to Avoid Brain Drain

How to Avoid Brain Drains

One of the biggest challenges to any business professional is to keep your head in the game, as they say in sports. Distractions such as television, family, coworkers, employees, etc. have a MAJOR impact on our ability to perform at our peak. Distractions—or brain drains, whatever the source, can drain our brains of valuable creative abilities and impact our business.

Here are 5 rules to follow to avoid brain drains.

1. Workplace Brain Drains. How’s your work environment? Is your office space or desk space cluttered or clean? Is it organized or haphazard? Studies show an organized workspace helps eliminate distractions and make the creative juices flow. Look around your office; is it uplifting and a reflection of you? If so, great! If not, take some time and get your space to the point it reflects your inner self and eliminate that first brain drain.

2. Schedule Brain Drains. Lee Milteer is a productivity expert who absolutely abhors unscheduled ANYTHING. As a business owner you can’t be all things to all people, nor can you, or should you be on call 24/7—unless you’re a first responder. If your business is important, it’s important that your business be conducted on a schedule that eliminates distractions (brain drains). In my article 4 Secrets to Improve Productivity I mention the 80/20 rule and how it’s important for you to get the most out of your productive 20%. Keeping to a schedule, when to accept incoming calls, when to read/reply to emails, and when to schedule meetings will keep you on track and eliminate the schedule brain drain.

3. News Brain Drains. I have to admit, I…was a news junkie. When CNN first came out I had that channel on every minute I was near a television—it about drove my wife and kids nuts. It didn’t take me long, however, to realize knowing what was going on in East Wherever wasn’t helping my creative mind, and in fact it was making me a pretty grumpy Gus. I really don’t know of a single motivational, self-help guru, or more importantly, a successful business owner that will advocate gluing your butt to a seat and watching any of the 24-hour news channels—well maybe Ted Turner or Roger Ailes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up with current events. It does mean pick your news CAREFULLY and limit it to the news you need. Do this and you’ll eliminate a huge brain drain and prevent you from becoming a curmudgeon.

4. Family Brain Drains. Before you throw up your arms in horror and tell me your family’ the reason you went into business for yourself—let me explain. I’m all for spending time with family. It IS the reason many of us are in business for ourselves. But just like schedule and news brain drains, we need to gently, and with love, let our family members know there are limits to access at certain times of the day. That special 20% of your day, whenever it may be, doesn’t need Mom or the kids calling to complain about the neighbors or the jerk they work with. Give them limits and USUALLY they’ll respect those limits, especially if they enjoy the benefits of your success. I know I don’t need to tell you, but I will, NEVER restrict access in the event of a real emergency. Communicate this with your family and some of you will eliminate a HUGE brain drain.

5. Worker Brain Drains. If we have the courage to address family brain drains we also need to let our coworkers, employees and yes even our bosses (clients and customers) know there are certain times of the day we are NOT available. If we make these restrictions to family, then why not to everyone else? I know this may be a bit harsh for some of you, especially when addressing clients or customers, BUT train them well and you’ll be surprised how productive your time becomes and how clients, vendors, and customers will respect your limits.

So there you have it 5 rules to follow to increase our daily productivity. Brain drain CAN be avoided by following these 5 simple rules to protect our creative mind and sanity. Put these 5 rules to use and watch your productivity soar.

To your success!

Are their other Brain Drain’s you’re aware of and have closed?
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Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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