You are only as busy as you allow yourself to be!
I’m not saying that you are not busy – most of us are crazy-busy. The challenge for many of the people I coach is navigating the massive amount of distractions around them. They lack the focus and commitment to their time for their High Value Work and what’s important to them.
One of the main reasons for this is because there is too much to pay attention to!
We are living in an information-rich age; more information than ever before is at our finger-tips instantly and we try to take in all in and maximize it in the shortest amount of time. We literally haven’t got time to think things through because there are so many demands placed upon us. We have so much to pay attention to that our thinking becomes splattered and thinly spread. In other words – we give our attention away.
Your attention is everything! It’s one of your most valuable resources…
It makes you aware of your surroundings, critical for your well-being and keeps you safe by alerting you to danger. Attention also helps you learn and enables you to concentrate on what you need to do in any situation. It keeps you focused in the present moment.
How often do you say: “I’d love to… but I don’t have time!?”
Thinking time today is often seen as a luxury and compromised or sacrificed on the altar of busy-ness. It suppresses creativity.
Setting aside time to think and to relax is as important today as it has always been.
We live in such a fast-paced world and we burn through time so quickly. It’s easy to get lost in the thick of thin things!
I guarantee that the external pace of the world isn’t going to slow down. So you have to decide to consciously take some control back. Otherwise you will forever be lost in reactivity and chaos as you burn through time here on Earth.
How do you do this?
Start by thinning out the trivia – You know… the unimportant stuff that you just do. Where are you hemorrhaging your attention and time? Facebook? Searching the web? Getting involved in other people’s urgent agendas that are not important to you?
Do less and do it well – Get clear on what is important – plan and prioritize. Do one thing at a time and do it well. Doing fewer things at once can help you engage your thinking. So instead of chaos and reaction, you get to apply your attention and thinking. Honestly, multi-tasking doesn’t work and leaves your attention splattered. You forget things and are more likely to make mistakes.
Learn to say ‘No’ – You can’t do it all! Learn how to articulate this in a positive and assertive way with courage and consideration. Set some clear boundaries and stick to them. Respect yourself as much as the other people you serve. This is YOUR TIME to give and if you’re doing everything for everyone else, who is doing the important stuff for you?
Take time to make time – Schedule daily pockets of thinking time in advance every week and show up for them. If you create time to think about things, both short-term and the bigger picture, you will get things right the first time by giving yourself valuable space to focus on one thought. You don’t have to think alone – having a conversation with a like-minded person can share knowledge and wisdom and you can bounce ideas and crystalize your thinking. Consult and talk with a thinking partner.
Protect your attention – We are hard wired for distraction. It is an instinctive reaction from prehistoric times when we’d be scanning our surroundings for predators. Of course, a lack of focus could be due to extreme tiredness, or low self-esteem. Our attention can have a huge impact on the quality of our life. It takes a lot of investment of time and energy. You can practice it, develop it and strengthen your skill by doing some simple things such as:
- Disconnecting from the internet for 2-3 hours a day to focus on the current task.
- Turn off your phone in meetings and when engaging with others – give them your full attention.
- Journal/keep a log of your daily activities – it’s a free writing activity that helps you focus on facts and feelings. It will help you to stay focused and give you valuable reflection and thinking time.
- Regular exercise and eating healthily can really help too.
- Be present in the moment wherever you are. Showing up and fully participating in this will help you focus and learn.
- Keep a list of your top 1-3 priorities for the week so you can get back on track again.
Take an extra moment – In every situation, just take an extra second or two to be aware of your attention and where it is focused. Re-calibrate and re-align consciously to your intention and make sense of what this situation requires.
Distraction is everywhere – it’s woven in to the fabric of our modern world. Therefore, if you truly want to live an amazing life and be successful at work, you need to be conscious and deliberate as to where you place your attention. Energy flows where attention goes! Use it wisely! It only takes a few moments to re-align and put your attention on your intention… Keep recalibrating to stay on course.
Your attention demands your respect!
Where’s yours just now?
Are you finding the time to think!?