Did you know you can be more effective, for longer periods, if you pay more attention to what you’re doing?
(We covered the possibility of doing less to achieve more in an earlier post on multi-tasking.)
Driving a manual car recently after many years of driving automatics – and the extra concentration that required to get anywhere – started me thinking about the things we do on auto-pilot, without really being ‘present’. At work, this can mean we repeatedly act – or react – out of habit in ways that may be counterproductive, even causing stress for ourselves in the process.
We all know we have a choice about our reactions to everyday situations, so how do we switch off the default mode and become more mindful in the everyday?
1. Change your routine
Just as driving a manual car required me to concentrate more on what I was doing, anything you do different from your normal routine will engage your brain more in whatever it is you’re doing. For example, you could take a different route, or mode of transport, to get to the office. Or try out a new response when you answer the phone.
2. Minimise distractions
It is possible to get through a day without checking your emails every 2 minutes! (I have tried it…) Instead, the experts recommend a set time to check your emails, twice a day, say 10am and 4pm. By starting your day on your most important project, instead of being driven by what’s in your inbox, you’ll feel more in control of your work with a greater sense of achievement.
As an internet addict myself, I’ve found the use of a program the shuts of internet access for a predetermined period is very effective for increasing focus!
3. Take some action
If you find yourself reacting with annoyance or frustration when confronted by certain people or situations, it’s time to do something about it! Instead of putting off confronting the issue and causing yourself ongoing tension, focus on how much better (and more effective) you’ll feel once you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Of course, one solution may be for you to consciously change your reaction so that you no longer waste time on an unproductive emotion!