Managing Surprises

Out of nowhere, you receive a surprise. It can be professional or personal, big or small, welcome or not, but a surprise in any case.

If it’s positive, you’re probably feeling pretty good. On the other hand, a negative surprise can knock you out.

Whether it’s positive or negative, both can be distractions. Any surprise can take us out of our routine, which means that we need to be prepared to manage them.

People function on such tight schedules today that even a small disruption can throw you off course fairly quickly.

It’s one thing to consider your own reactions, yet it’s another when you have a team of people who react to surprises and other distractions day in and day out.

I’ve seen many people react immediately to a surprise without evaluating how it fits into their overall priorities. An interruption doesn’t equate to a priority.

There are many ways to handle this, but one of the most effective ways is to compartmentalize. Focus on your current tasks/deadlines at hand, and deal with the surprise in due time. Don’t procrastinate; simply plan time to deal with it.

Despite perceptions to the contrary, our brains can only handle one thing at a time. If you train your brain to focus on what you intend to work on or think about, you will be more productive.

If you let surprises and other distractions invade your brain and take hold, your personal effectiveness drops.

In today’s competitive environment, the ability to concentrate and stay focused is an asset. If you and your people become great at this, you’ll have a huge competitive advantage.

Header image by Gustavo Fring/Pexels.

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