Taking the time to refocus

Aug 10th

I’ve been thinking of the application of sports psychology to work situations. The particular tip I’d like to share is the pause to regroup, gather one’s thoughts, settle one’s emotions, and clear the mind from the last activity to better face the next task.
Try these exercises to refocus yourself and your colleagues:

  • If you’re in a meeting and it’s clear that individuals in the room are still fighting other outside battles in their heads, ask them to take five minutes to follow you on an exercise. Ask them to choose a word – any word – that has positive or neutral connotations for them, close their eyes and concentrate on repeating that word until you tell them to open their eyes. If their mind wanders, tell them, it’s ok, and just to note that their mind wandered and bring the mind back to repeating the word. The atmosphere after these five minutes will be dramatically different – much more relaxed, with people focused on the task at hand and each other, their thinking much clearer.
  • Or, when you need to switch from one major task to another, use the same exercise on yourself. Successful political and business leaders are masters at doing this without realising it. They can make the switch in seconds rather than minutes. They have to be, as they switch from dealing with terrorist threats to discussing the budget to dealing with the latest political scandal to hit their party.
    How strange that such a simple, quick thing as taking the time to refocus can be so key to delivering one’s best performance.

This article is filed under: time management

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