Stay the Course – The Art of Focusing on the Present
There are days when I sit at my desk and write for hours on end. Sometimes I enjoy the solitude and preparing an application or report that shows the dedication and thought that goes into this work (versus a rushed deadline). However, as I am sure is the case for many of you, most days are punctuated with conference calls, meetings and other high priority activities that can deter you from the work you plan to do that day. I also find it particularly difficult at times to transition between activities and also between work and personal life. For those of us who work from home, this can be particularly challenging. Arianna Huffington talks a lot about the need for sleep and to remain present in her latest book Thrive, which has also started a movement.
We are a highly stimulated society with social media, emails, smart phones and other devices that can easily deter us from completing our work. What are we to do? Since I deal with this issue daily, I am offering some advice for how I try to stay focused in my own life.
- Meditation – If you can start or end your day with a few minutes of quiet; this is a better way to decompress and/or energize you for what lies ahead. I really like Simply Being and there are meditations that only last 5 minutes.
- Space – If you work from home, close your door when you are not using that space or shut down your computer. Even the physical barrier can help separate your work and home life.
- Device Lockdown – Unless I proactively do work in the evening, I try not to respond to work related messages in the evening. I also try to disengage when I am with my children (I am more successful sometimes than others). Are there times when you can just put your phone in another room to avoid temptation of accessing information? I bet that most of the information you seek is not mission critical.
- Running List – I try to keep a post-it note as a reminder to do things when I am not at my desk and need to remember something important; I have also been known to send Outlook reminders to myself. I also set up blocks of time in my calendar for personal activities, including food shopping and picking up library books.
- Project Management – I use Nozbe to manage all my client, training and business development deadlines. Whatever system you use, make sure it is current, accessible to others (if needed), and forward looking at least 6-8 weeks.
What will you do to remain focused?