How to Limit Distraction and Feel in Control of Your Day

Everyone has priorities. For ineffective managers, it’s the next email, text, phone call, or person who walks through the door.

Meaningful work requires a closed door.


The person who always responds immediately to your email or text is distracted and inefficient.

Proactive scheduling:

Control your day by making appointments with things that matter.

Constantly bouncing from one thing to the next might feel important, but it’s also inefficient and ineffective.

Be proactive, not reactive, with your calendar. Schedule:

  1. Daily walkabouts.
  2. Performance conversations.
  3. ‘Work on the business’ conversations that end with action items.
  4. Checkins.
  5. Think, breathe, and reflect time.

Schedule targeted walkabouts:

Don’t wait for people to come to you. Go to them.

12 targeted walkabouts:

  1. What matters today? (Priorities)
  2. Thank you for your contribution to … . (Gratitude)
  3. You’re really great at … . Keep it up. (Affirmation)
  4. What’s happening with our priority project? (Clarity/accountability) Note: If they don’t know the priority, have a ‘setting priority walkabout’.
  5. What are you working on? (Connect/respect/accountability)
  6. How could I be better at … ?” (Improvement) Note: Be specific sometimes and open ended others.)
  7. The next thing coming down the tracks is … . (In the loop)
  8. If you were the boss, what would you do in this situation? (Learning/humility)
  9. Which of your teammates are top performers? (Team/respect)
  10. What’s working for you? (Positivity)
  11. What do you enjoy about your work? (Energy)
  12. What should we stop doing? (Efficiency)

Walkabout tips:

  1. The first response to feedback and suggestions is always the same. Thank you.
  2. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know.
  3. Separate affirmation walkabouts from accountability walkabouts.
  4. What’s the next step, if you move this idea forward?
  5. Who needs to know about this suggestion?

How might leaders and managers take control of their calendar?

What type of walkabouts might be useful for your organization?