I spend my entire day in meetings. Every time, though, there are multiple concurrent distractions…
- Instant messaging about the meeting from people in it (e.g. the play by play, making fun of people, reacting to commentary, planning next steps, etc)
- Instant messaging on other topics
- Text messages on my phone
- People stopping by my office to talk
In most meetings I have all five happening at the same time so I find it difficult to listen/participate and do these things. I find it even harder to NOT do these things since there really is no “work” time when I am not in meetings. So I force myself to take notes in OneNote during the meeting which helps me to organize the content and listen for key points. It also helps me to have documented information for later (since my memory is worse than my inability to focus).
Unfortunately, I think this is just the reality of the workplace today and we have to learn how to deal with it because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do them at different times and not concurrently. What do other people do to focus? Hey look a squirrel…