Are You A Distracted Executive?


This blog is for executives. I will define executives as  any business professional actively involved in working today. Unless you're living on a desert island, you’re living the reality of the distraction of modern life while trying to complete the work that’s required of you.

Take one of my clients, Adam, successful, savvy  VP of a five million dollar Internet startup. His career is going brilliantly.  He’s risen quickly through the ranks of his company. People respect and admire him.

But under the surface, Adam is today's quintessential distracted executive. He is anxiety ridden much of the time. He sleeps with his iPhone, and wakes several times a night; checking his email.  His voicemail piles up incessantly, and he can hardly bear listening to his messages  for fear of adding more to his already untenable To Do list.

Another challenge to Adam’s productivity is the amount of meetings he must sit through each day. After speaking with him for the first time, I quickly calculated the number of hours he spent away from his desk, and came to the conclusion that a startling 70% of his day is taken up by nonnegotiable meetings. True story! These meetings are often surprisingly vital and exciting and produce amazing ideas. But when 70% of Adam’s time is taken up by meetings, it means that he has 30% of his time leftover to execute on 100%. And while Adam is at the meetings, demands are piling up. Emails, voicemails, faxes, and questions from his get the idea.  He never quite feels complete or caught up no matter how many hours he logs in.  It’s easy to understand why he sleeps with his iPhone.

Sound familiar? We have to stop worrying about how overwhelmed we feel, how busy we are, and how we can’t seem to find the magic potion that will add an extra hour to our workday. We have to PAUSE and consider our priorities, our struggles, and ultimately, our potential. We have to admit that we are facing challenges, and we have to harness our own strengths to meet those challenges. It is each of our responsibility individually to do something about it. Our very life depends on it.