There has been a lot written on how distracted the majority of people are these days. According to studies, CEOs only get about 28 minutes of undisturbed work time every day, while the average worker has an attention span of only eight seconds! Furthermore, it takes 10 minutes to return to your prior level of focus after each break. Distractions clearly eat away at your ability to deliver, therefore avoiding them is critical. But saying it is easier than doing it.
That’s because distractions aren’t just time wasters; they’re also a source of dopamine, the addictive neurochemical released by your brain when you perform anything enjoyable. Receiving emails and text messages releases dopamine, so it’s no surprise that millennials are more inclined than older generations to open a new email within 90 seconds.
However, given how distracting an email notification may be, you’d be best off hiding your phone and keeping those pop-up notifications out of sight when you’re working. Then you’ll be able to stay concentrated and in the zone, which is when you’ll be doing your best job. Open-plan workplaces might be distracting, so put on headphones or go to a conference room or a café where you can concentrate on your work.
Knowing how to prioritize is one of the keys to productivity, and having an organized to-do list can assist with this. Trying to keep everything in your head is bound to backfire at some point.
The 4D Rule, which stands for Do, Defer, Delegate, or Drop, is a good strategy for prioritizing. This begins with determining which jobs fall into the Do category – set the bar high and only include things that are critical, urgent, and cannot be completed by someone else. Then, on your daily plan, prioritize the most tough of these tasks so you won’t be able to avoid them.
Put anything that can’t be done right away on the Defer list, and anything that doesn’t require your personal touch on the Delegate list. Finally, anything that isn’t absolutely necessary can be simply dropped.
Don’t forget to revisit the items you’ve put off and categorise them as Do or Drop as soon as you can. You can also assign them, but this can be difficult. One of the characteristics of a strong leader is knowing how and when to delegate.
Next, there’s a space that’s a little different: the room to lead. It’s one-of-a-kind because it incorporates what’s known as “the third space,” which is produced when two people try to collaborate.
A good leader strives to inspire and empower others, guiding them into the third space and allowing them to find solutions on their own. “A leader is greatest when people scarcely realize he exists, when his work is done, his goal achieved, and they will say: We did it ourselves,” as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu famously stated. To put it another way, leadership is about them, not about you. So, rather than approaching a situation with the intention of providing a solution, consider the following: What questions will enable the other person to find the proper answers on their own?
Delegation is another strategy for empowerment. Many well-intentioned leaders, though, feel bad about delegating, as if they’re handing up their hard work to someone else. They think they’re being helpful by not delegating, but it’s just as likely that they’re implying that they don’t trust someone to do a decent job.
Delegation, on the other hand, should be viewed as a means of assisting others in growing and developing their talents, as well as a statement that you trust them to do a good job. With this in mind, consider what types of projects will challenge them just enough to stretch their abilities. And what kinds of tasks correspond to their personal professional objectives?
Finally, remember to be specific about what needs to be done and what the end result should look like when giving a task. It’s best if you don’t tell them how to do it. You never know, they might come up with a better solution than you!
What were your favorite activities in school? Is it true that you’re still doing those things? What happened if not? In order to create space to be, you must first ask yourself these questions.
Oscar was the CIO of a major bank when the author met him, but he was also miserable, and the reason was quickly revealed. Oscar’s true calling in life was to work on a farm. Growing up on his family’s farm and caring for the land and animals were some of his best memories. Unfortunately, the family had to sell their farm, and Oscar went to college, eventually ending up working in an office.
Oscar tendered his resignation so promptly after his coaching with the author helped him reconnect with his actual purpose that it produced a slight bank emergency. It was, however, the proper thing to do. You, too, can create space to be like Oscar. Begin by going inward and being honest with yourself about why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Many of us wind up in careers that are “reasonable” or suit the expectations of others. There are so many, in fact, that it’s one of the most common regrets on deathbeds. People lament the fact that they did not live their lives as they actually desired, but as someone else expected them to.
Keeping death in mind can help us avoid regret – after all, death is an unavoidable part of life, even if it is painful. So think about it: what would you do if you only had six months to live?
Many people believe that work has to be a dreadful experience. That, however, is not the case. Work should feel positive and gratifying in general, even if it is challenging at times. If it doesn’t, you might be working in the wrong field or need to improve your work-life balance.
Most overworked people will find that by working less and resting more, they can avoid the type of burnout. The final area to investigate is the area of growth, which is all about preparing yourself for your ideal future. This space, like many others, can be created by taking an honest look at oneself and being open to some uncomfortable realities.
Life, like growth, is full with difficult decisions. And deciding on one thing always entails saying no to another. This is known as a “opportunity cost,” and being aware of it is an important aspect of making room for growth.
Take, for example, Almantas. He had the chance to be closer to his mentor and land his ideal job, but it would require him to relocate to a new nation, where his wife would have to adjust to a new culture and his children would have to learn a new language. The opportunity cost appeared to be quite substantial.
Fortunately, Almantas was hired for the post he wanted, and his supervisor remained with him during a difficult transition year. Following that, he smashed his quarterly targets, just like he had in his previous post.
Relocating, taking pay cutbacks, and returning to school are all examples of frequent opportunity costs that can appear to be a significant burden. However, if they get you closer to your life’s dream and purpose, they’re a little price to pay.
Finally, it’s critical to arrange regular No. 1 Meetings, which are meetings with yourself, as you make your plans and set your personal and professional goals. No. 1 Meetings can be extremely beneficial to your development because they allow you to assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments.
The author recommends holding weekly No. 1 Meetings during which you should focus on three goals: developing a strategy, adopting a growth mindset, and increasing productivity. According to the author, you should structure your meeting around questions like: How is my approach progressing? Are the objectives achievable? Are there any resources available to assist me in staying on track? Are there any distractions that are preventing me from achieving my objectives, and how can I avoid them more effectively?
Keep in mind that life is rarely flawless. You have to be content with good enough a lot of the time. So be willing to make errors and trust that your hard effort will pay off.
If you want to improve and become the best version of yourself, you must make room for it. Self-awareness, readiness to learn, interpersonal relationships, productivity, accountability, and consistently exceptional work must all be prioritized in this environment. It takes a lot of effort to create this place, and it necessitates honest introspection on your flaws and tough experiences. But if anything is worth the effort, it’s your own development, discovering your actual calling in life, and making the most of the time you have.
Here’s an added bonus if you need to relax. Try breathing in squares. Yoga practitioners, Navy SEALs, and businesspeople alike employ this approach to relax and concentrate. Because it’s a four-by-four structure, it’s termed square breathing. You count to four as you breathe in, then hold that breath for four seconds. Then you exhale for four seconds, stop for four seconds, then inhale for four seconds before repeating the cycle.
Check out my related post: How to boost your self awareness?