2 Jun

Focus on the Long-Term: 3 Easy Tips to Get Out of the Grips of Short-Term Distractions

By Elyn Buscani, Account Manager

In February, our entire agency did something rarely found these days: we spent most of a day in-person, working on long-term strategic planning. (To illustrate the difficulty in focusing on the long-term, a spike in COVID-19 positivity rates pushed this event a month later than intended.)

If you’ve also been pushing back long-term planning to focus on the short term, read on for tips that worked for the Rasor team.

  1. Set aside time to unplug and reduce stress

We’re all bombarded by noise, so it was a gift to take a day to brainstorm as a group and listen to each other away from distractions.  There are many studies that confirm information overload will deplete and demoralize you and lead to anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.

Find a chunk of time, whether it’s a day or an afternoon, and purposefully devote it to long-term planning. Give your team permission to turn on out-of-office replies so they can focus and join in.

  1. Use a “parking lot” to avoid the rabbit holes

As a creative team, there is no shortage of ideas when we get together. Staying on task can be a challenge, though. That’s why having a “parking lot” for ideas that either didn’t address the goals outlined or were currently impractical was really useful. It allowed us to avoid falling down rabbit holes that would lead us to piling more and more onto our plates.

Our small group leaders captured those idea, put them in the “parking lot” for later discussion, and allowed us to refocus quickly on the main tasks and identify future planning topics.

  1. Put yourself in a different space

We met offsite here and even spent part of the day touring the facility. Similarly, anyone who takes a vacation, or even has the opportunity to go out for a good meal, knows it is much easier to open your mind when you’re not surrounded by everyday distractions.

With weather improving in most of the country, it’s a great time to get outside away from emails. Whether walking in a park with a friend or starting a small container garden at your home, there are natural spaces everywhere. Cincinnati has hiking trails quickly enveloping you in forest even in the most urban neighborhoods. In other words, lots of easy ways to remove yourself from your desk and give yourself space for fresh inspiration.

Identifying and taking steps toward your goals, however small, feels good. Our team leaders are reporting monthly on our progress and crossing items off as they are accomplished, and we are celebrating our collective effort. As listeners on my favorite podcast do, please reach out to share your successes.