Have you ever started off your day with a productive list of tasks only to find your plans derailed by the time you have your morning cup of coffee at Starbucks? Leaders face numerous obstacles and distractions that can keep us from tangible results. The effective leader must stay alert and watch out for potential hurdles that will sabotage plans. Here are 7 things that can easily slip into a leader’s day.

  • Television/Internet. Television has reigned for decades as one of the most distracting tools to a productive day. Now with the internet, television is available on our hip, everywhere we go. Limit watching a show to your days off and even then, cap it off at an hour or two.
  • No Plan for the Day. Approaching the day without goals is a setup for idle time and distraction. Establish daily goals but make sure they are helping you reach a weekly goal as well.
  • Telephones. Count how many times you touch your telephone in an two-hour time frame. You will probably lose count. Test yourself and see how long you can go without your phone.
  • Temptation. Because of a leader’s busy schedule, he or she may be vulnerable to spiritual, emotional, and physical temptations. Leaders have to know their weaknesses and be on guard against anything that can lead to moral or ethical failure.
  • Fatigue. If you are tired, it is difficult to focus which results in lack of productivity. Get plenty of rest so that there is mental sharpness and good health.
  • Improper Diet. Eating the wrong foods can cause spikes in your energy with crashes soon to follow. A balanced, consistent schedule will help fuel you through your day.
  • Other People. Every so often, the distraction leaders face is having to do someone else’s work or clean up after them. There is nothing wrong with helping others, but when it is the result of incompetency, it impacts productivity.

Leaders must stay focused. The lure of these and other distractions have many of us off our game. What other distractions do you encounter and what do you do to stay focused?