Guest Blogger – Jacqueline Ryan Brodnitzki, President , Conscious Success LLC
In my previous blog post we introduced the 4 keys to easily accomplish more and discussed the first two keys in detail.
As a reminder, here are the 4 Keys to accomplishing more:
- Become aware of your attention
- Notice when your attention is strongest
- Determine where you want to place your attention
- Fully be with what you are doing
Now let’s focus on Keys #3 and 4.
Key #3 – Determine where you want to place your attention
If you let it happen, your attention can spring between hundreds or thousands of different items during the day. There is so much going on and so many people wanting your attention, that entire days can be eaten up leaving you feeling overwhelmed and not having accomplished your goals.
One of the single most powerful things you can to is to take back control over where you place your attention. Think of your attention as your own resource, something to protect and not spend frivolously.
The first item to do at the start of each work day is to decide where you will place your attention that day. What are the 1-2 critical things you want or need to get done? When will you try to do them? How will you focus your attention on them to get them done?
Then ask this most powerful question:
To what are you NOT going to give your attention today?
Once you’ve done this, you know you will accomplish your goals and have energy left over to attend to things that naturally come up during the day. It’s impossible to eliminate all distractions, but having awareness of how you want to spend your attention enables you to accomplish more and have more energy for the important things.
When you manage your attention, you feel better about your work and not so overwhelmed. Your attention is your energy. When you spend it foolishly, you’re left with low energy and low productivity. When you take care about where you focus your attention, you take control of your life.
Key #4 – Fully be with what you are doing
We’ve all had it happen… that nasty e-mail message ruined the weekend. You read it and there’s nothing you can do to resolve the situation except stew on it for the weekend. Instead of enjoying your time with family and friends, you spend the weekend living the situation brought up by that e-mail message.
A Harvard psychologist, Dr. Daniel Gilbert, studied a quarter of a million people around the world measuring 3 things: what they were doing, what they were thinking about, and how happy they were.
Turns out you are most happy when your attention is on what you are doing–even if it isn’t something you would deem ‘fun’. You are happier driving to work, focused on the drive, than you are on a great vacation thinking about a problem.
Whether your mind is wandering is a better predictor of happiness than what you are doing.
Dr. Gilbert said, “I find it kind of weird now to look down the crowded street and realize that half the people aren’t really there.”
Try not to look at e-mail when there’s nothing you can do about a situation that could arise. Bring you attention back to whatever you’re doing by saying silently to yourself, “thinking” whenever you notice you are thinking about something else. You can also describe your emotion by silently saying what it is. For example, “worrying”, “angry” or “agitated”. A study at UCLA found that when you label your thought or emotion, the strength of the thought or emotion diminishes and you are more easily able to bring your thoughts back to what you are doing.
You will be happier when you are absorbed in what you are doing. That’s why athletic people love to compete or workout. They find such relief in focusing on the athletic endeavor, rather than their thoughts.
Do something that inspires you and helps you quiet your thoughts. Embrace your inner athlete, artist, musician, gardener, yogi, and increase your happiness by focusing completely on that activity.
All my best,
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.
About the Author
Jacqueline Ryan Brodnitzki combines over 15 years of corporate management and training expertise with nine years of teaching and coaching of mindfulness and stress reduction techniques to help customer service organizations increase performance, productivity and profits while reducing employee stress. Her proprietary program, Conscious Success™, helps employers increase the potential within their organization by developing the emotional and social intelligence of their employees.
Through her coaching, she helps clients tap into their true potential. They experience greater calm, while increasing effectiveness at work and at home. Clients appreciate her quick assessment, clear recommendations and accurate, informative and inspirational coaching.
She is the author of two books and two CDs. Learn more about Jacqueline’s programs at www.ConsciousSuccess.net