By Vitiello Communications Group

Chances are in the three minutes it takes to read this blog post, you will be interrupted. On average, business leaders receive 114 new emails; 6,000 new tweets are sent on Twitter; and 55 million photos are added to Instagram each day. Whether it’s an email, a text message, a social media update or the attraction to use the latest phone app, there are a multitude of things vying for your attention on a daily basis.

Information overload has resulted in a decline in the average adult’s attention span from 12 minutes a decade ago to just five minutes today. For business leaders, this poses two challenges. First, they need to find a way to balance their personal use of technology so that it boosts productivity rather than zaps it. Second, and maybe more importantly, business leaders need to develop an effective way to communicate with employees so that their messages stand out from all of the noise.

Some executives have taken extreme measures to do just that. Thierry Breton, the CEO of Atos, launched a zero email initiative for his 76,000 employees. As a result, the international information systems company experienced a 60 percent reduction in internal email traffic and now uses a social networking platform for collaboration. Others, such as Curt Richardson, CEO of OtterBox, have said “no” to social media. According to Richardson, there’s only so much of him to go around after the demands of business, community and family.

Such bold moves may not be the answer for all. Here are some other ways you can limit electronic distractions for you and your employees:

  • Unplug. Even if just for a short time, commit to going electronic-free. For Mike Rotondo, the CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, refraining from opening his laptop during a recent vacation was enough to recharge his battery and instill confidence in his staff who handled matters in his absence.
  • Start with a clean slate. Don’t be distracted by the insurmountable number of emails in your inbox. Clear your existing inbox by creating a folder for old email, then make it a goal to keep the number of new emails to a manageable number—or even zero.
  • Turn off push notifications. Just because you want to stay connected electronically doesn’t mean you have to do so in real time. Turning off push notifications puts you in charge of the time you commit to social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram.
  • Be a lean communicator. When writing emails, focus on quality, not quantity. Keeping your content brief and the list of people you copy to a minimum will maximize your impact.

Are you iDistracted? Leave a comment to let us know how you cope.

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