Often feel like your attention is being pulled in a million directions at once? Have a read and see if this strategy might be helpful:
You decide to make a coffee and on the way to the kitchen you check your emails. You notice your phone is not in sight so you start a search. Looking under the seat of the car, you remember the car needs a WOF. The jug has boiled so you make your brew. It calls for music and you get seriously caught up browsing tunes for your new playlist. You remember it’s your turn to cook tonight and, again, you get diverted – this time by online recipes.
So it goes.
There are different ways of getting things done. This scatter approach can be really enjoyable but it can be dangerous – tasks can easily fall through the cracks. In a work scenario, the email you abandoned – to search for an image for your report, interrupted because a customer called, making you late for an appointment – may never get written.
It’s a doomed dominoes effect.
Lists and a tidy desk are an excellent start. Making lists is a form of planning and keeping your head from spinning out: Although you have several different things happening at the same time, the fact that you have made a note to tackle a task means that it is under control – at least it feels as if it is.
Tidying your desk, to bring order to the random piles of unfinished, half-finished to-do items, may take ten minutes but save a day’s underlying anxiety that things are getting on top of you. You’ve tidied your desk and your brain at the same time.
This is where the ‘be here now’ philosophy, popularised by author Ram Dass, fits in.
The principle is about reining in your thoughts to concentrate your attention on where you are and what you’re doing – living in the moment and focusing. If you need to remind yourself about something in the future – an appointment, what you need at the supermarket, the intro to a speech, a birthday present – make a list and put it out of your mind until you have time to deal with it.
We found some good tips that may help you be here now, from Do Your Best Work online coach Sarah From.
Sarah says her beliefs are:
- We can change the world without running ourselves into the ground;
- We can build organisations that reflect the values we espouse; and
- We are most successful when we attend to purpose, process, and relationships
‘‘Presence is how we show up. It’s the quality of our be-ing – as opposed to the content of our ‘do-ing’,’’she says.
‘‘In any given moment, our presence may be grounded and focused — or checked-out and scattered. When the quality of our presence is high, we are more inspiring to others, more connected to ourselves and more effective in our leadership.’’
To cultivate presence, Sarah’s three minutes a day recommendation, is a great habit to adopt:
- Find a seat on the floor or in a chair where you can sit comfortably but remain upright and alert.
- Close your eyes and start to notice your body, in particular the places where it connects with the floor and/or the chair.
- Tune into your breath, following each inhale and exhale.
- Whenever your mind wanders, gently direct your attention back to your breath. (This will happen many times. Returning your attention to your breath is what you are practicing here, over and over.)
- Continue this for three minutes or more (you may want to set a timer before you start).
- When time is up, slowly open your eyes, start to move your body, and return to your surroundings.
If you give the Be Here now method a try, we’d love to hear how you get on. Come see us on our Facebook page and tell us about it.