During CAI’s Annual Conference and Exposition, held last week in Washington, D.C., Brad Pomp, president of Sentry Management, and Kregg Hale, senior vice president of Sentry Management, offered ideas on how people can manage their days to perform to the best of their abilities.

Pomp and Hale kicked it off their presentation with a video of a man and a woman “stuck” at the top steps of a broken escalator and yelling for help instead of simply walking up a few steps. Pomp and Hale said the video illustrates the idea that sometimes people feel over-consumed by various distractions that get in the way from executing a simple solution.

A few statistics they highlighted to prove the point that distractions can be dangerous include:

  • Employees lose six hours a day to due distraction.
  • The average worker receives 121 emails a day.

So, just how productive are we? A typically employee is productive about 40 percent of the day; the other 60 percent comprises of distractions, such as social media. Research shows that the human brain cannot multitask; we can only do one thing at a time. As an interactive example, Pomp and Hale asked attendees to hold their thumb out with their dominant hand and then use their other hand to try to play rock-paper-scissors. It’s impossible!

Pomp and Hale shared some suggestions for managing distractions and constantly-changing tasks:

  • Be intentional. If you don’t control your day, it’s going to control you. Have a purpose and a plan. This can be done through task management. Ask yourself: What can I get done today?
  • Control your personal access. Give yourself a total physical block for focused work, like closing your office door, using headphones, or posting a do-not-disturb sign.
  • Set expectations. Tell your colleagues how your time and accessibility should be respected. For example, instead of running your day through your inbox, designate an hour of your day to respond to all emails rather than replying to individual ones all day long.
  • Leverage technology. Tools like One Note, Evernote, and Rocket Book can help you manage your day.
  • Lauren Fielder

    Lauren Fielder is CAI's Communications Specialist and focuses on press outreach, editorial support and digital marketing. She is originally from sunny Florida and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, with a focus in public relations. She is passionate about social justice causes and loves to travel.

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