The Distraction of Gadgets

The Distraction of Gadgets


The September tally indicates a staggering 723 431 apps available for download at an average price of $1.93. Throw in portable devices, social media and a host of other gizmos and gadgets keeping you and your team distracted, overwhelmed, confused and quite frankly addicted to the beeps and blips; how do you stop juggling and get more productive?

Social media

According to World Wide Worx (Sept 2012) South African social media users are increasing daily. With staggering user figures like: Twitter (2.2-million), Facebook (5.33-million), LinkedIn (1.93-million), it means Entrepreneurs, who are generally creative souls, are finding a host of distractions to their already oversubscribed days.

Switch on: Decide which platforms are best suited to generating interest in your brand and ultimately revenue for your company. Create a plan that is manageable and sustainable, document this plan and then stick to the parameters you have set out. While you might have a presence on all social media platforms (just in case your ideal clients prefers this platform and come looking for you here), you don’t need to be active in them all.

Pre-schedule social media posts weekly (according to your plan) and check in for 10 minutes later in your work day, but while still at work, to engage with your followers.

Switch off: Social media is like going to the fair, and let’s face it, on a challenging work day, where would you rather be? If you use a particular platform for work purposes only, ban access after-hours. On the flip side, if it’s a purely personal check-in, reserve this for after office hours.


Email has the uncanny ability to suck you in, chew you up and seldom spit you out.

Switch on: Not everything that lands in your inbox is urgent or important. Break the habit of checking email first thing in the morning and rather use this time to focus on your high value tasks where you’ll get more done, faster. A half hour check-in at 9am, 11am, 2pm and 4pm during your work day to review, read and prioritise incoming email should be ample.

Switch off: Studies show that it can take as much as 20 minutes to get back to peak focus when you drop a task and hop to another. Disable all email automatic receipts to avoid distraction and set your email programme to open up on calendar instead of inbox so you aren’t distracted and tempted to multitask when focusing on high priority tasks outside of email.


The master of all distraction, as it makes accessing email and social media, apps and other potential time wasters so darn easy, you need to exercise nerves of steel when it comes to managing this one.

Switch on: When you are available to take a call or scheduled to check email or respond to social media your phone can be on.

Switch off (or at minimum turn to silent): When in a meeting (this includes while having dinner), when focusing on a high value/high focus task & overnight. If you, like me, find yourself reaching for your phone before you’ve even made it out of your bed in the morning, the braver of you might want to consider banning it from the bedroom.

Tracey Foulkes
Tracey Foulkes wows audiences with her sharp wit, quick reactions and personable sense of humour. She speaks about procrastination, business productivity, personal motivation and time management. . If you want your team to be inspired to operate outside of the box, contact her for a complimentary productivity assessment, email or find her on Twitter as Tracey Foulkes or on LinkedIn as Tracey Foulkes.