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Practicing focus in a world full of relentless demands

Posted in Management @ Jun 6th 2018 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Practice
Practicing Focus In A World Full Of Relentless Demands

Multi-tasking isn't helping us - it's making us inefficient and unfocused

Few challenges seem greater today than delaying instant gratification and focusing on the activities that require greater effort but ultimately yield more enduring value.

Think about the endless pings of incoming emails and texts. How often do you interrupt whatever you’re doing to answer them? How often is that the best way you could be using your time and attention?

Technology - saving time or....

Technology may have granted us an ever-increasing ability to multi-task, but rather than making us swift and productive as promised, multi-tasking has left us inefficient and unfocused.

Switching back and forth between tasks is depleting our energy reservoir. Overloading our brains with information is leaving us with a deteriorating long-term memory, and no energy left to make sense of it all. We, like Pavlov’s dogs, respond to bells and notifications.

Our abilities are fractured, and our thoughts are scattered. The average white-collar worker spends roughly 6 hours a day on email alone. We have become trained to expect interruption.

Could we focus on focusing?

What if, instead, we could re-train ourselves to focus? What if you could focus on one or two tasks that would actually make a difference rather than just reacting to demands?

If you’re trying to eat more nutritiously, you don’t keep junk food in your house. Similarly, we can take stock of the interruptions in our lives and purge what’s hijacking our attention. Then, we can strengthen our ability to focus just as we would exercise a muscle. We relearn how to deeply engage in one thing at a time if we’re more intentional about practising. The result: clear minds and productive days.

Top Tips For Focus

1. Turn it off.

Turn off your digital life for a designated time period. Start small. Put away your phone at meal times, and don’t look at it immediately when you wake up in the morning.

Instead of fracturing your attention, check emails during a few designated periods of the workday. Make use of airplane mode or other apps that help you manage your devices rather than letting your devices manage you.

2. Try the Single Tasking Experiment.

Practice doing only ONE thing at a time for a week or even a day. That means no scrolling through emails on your phone while waiting for your coffee. Keep only one tab open at a time on your computer screen. Try to work in uninterrupted 90-minute sprints before taking breaks. It may be uncomfortable at first, but this experiment will let you quickly assess how deeply reliant you are on multi-tasking while strengthening your focus at the same time.

3. Read a book!

Reading is not only rewarding in itself, but it’s also a great attention-building practice. Begin with a subject or genre that demands less absorption and work your way towards books that require more focus. The practice will quiet your mind and lengthen your attention-span.

"The shorter way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time."

- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I know this stuff works! Now it’s over to you to MAKE IT HAPPEN and reap the rewards.

About Diederik

Diederik Gelderman BVSc, MVS graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in 1977.

Besides his veterinary work, Dr Gelderman is also a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer and world-renowned coach to veterinarians wanting to improve their profitability. He has coached and consulted with more than 350 small to medium enterprises in a diverse range of industries, and has also held workshops/seminars around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, USA, South Africa and around Europe, both for smaller organisations and through his Turbo Charge Your Practice Workshops.

 

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