Distracted by your phone?
New notification? Check.
Another phone call, Check.
Ping…… another i message or text message or group conversation message and photo tag and pin and more emails from all 3 of your email accounts?
Distraction in an instant. The momentum of anything you were just doing has been halted and distracted. This may be a work project, a personal task, a conversation with someone or a training session for one of your passions. As a tennis coach and small business owner, I have to carefully manage my own relationship with communication and make sure it works for me and not against me.
Attention as a Tennis Coach
My job as a tennis coach is to give attention to my students. A phone however can also take some professional roles with taking enrolment through our inTennis app and using video or You Tube reference.
If you are on your phone for anything that your student can be looking at with you this would be considered a work purpose. If you would not really want your student watching and reading what’s happening on your phone then that is not a work purpose.
Attention as a Business Owner
As a small business owner, I spend my time working ‘on’ the business, more so than ‘in’ the business. Although I still play many roles in the business as a coach, the main phone and email to my small business go to another member of my team, which enables me to concentrate on the business development. However, even though the public phone is not with me, I still have many relationships to manage along with private clients in my on court program. I try and do emails in a big chunk and keep social media and phone checking to certain times of the day.
If you are focused on working on your business on a document, chart, proposal, program, email template and unlimited other jobs, a phone call, text message, email or notification is just a distraction and puts whatever project that you are building momentum on, on hold and sometimes in jeopardy if the distraction takes all the energy and concentration out of finishing what you were doing.
So where the fast pace of communication is an amazing way to market, to engage, to organise, to educate and to build close relationships with people professionally and personally, there is a balancing act of not being distracted from any quality work and progress.
In the below list, only in the area of operations do you require your attention on your main communication channels such as phone, email, social media. Those who work in operations then need some down time so they can pay attention to other areas of their role or life and not be at the beck and call of your device.
Our areas of attention
- The athlete who has their full attention on their role and their sport, is the better athlete.
- The coach who has their full attention on their students, is the better coach.
- The business owner who has their full attention on their projects and team, is the smarter owner.
- The operations manager who has their full attention on the clients and staff, is the better operations manager.
Sport is so much like small business. Through innovation and feedback, you are trying to achieve a level of mastery. You are paying the highest level of attention to your game or business and you have accepted that you are responsible for your results.
It should be said that some people are better at managing distraction than others. Personally, I can be distracted quickly and lead down a rabbit hole of scattered thinking and time management. However, where some people can manage it better, I would be surprised if stopping and starting all the time could be said to be an efficient way of achieving any great work. At minimum, people should plan some distraction free time for both their professional and personal lives.
I am very clear on my role within my business and people know that email is my best communication followed by text if more urgent. I find arranging to meet people in person is preferable to trying to spontaneously speak on the phone in terms of coaching clients and a lot of small business dealings.
I try and plan my email and social media times and I have turned off notifications for email and social media. However, I am still guilty of mindlessly pressing the Facebook logo or downloading emails or get that ‘dopamine hit’ of notifications…..
It may be a distraction but it can still be interesting and entertaining sometimes!
The Art of Tennis