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How to do thoughtful work when you just can’t focus

Disrupted Routines

Disrupted Routines

Our focus and attention span is our most important asset, and the constant disruptions keep derailing us from our activities, with our brains shifting and wandering all the time.

This is further compounded with the uncertainties of today, where finding peace and focusing our mind is fast becoming a luxury.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to do thoughtful work when you just can’t focus

How to do thoughtful work when you just can’t focus

https://www.fastcompany.com/90512770/how-to-do-thoughtful-work-when-you-just-cant-focus

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Disrupted Routines

Our focus and attention span is our most important asset, and the constant disruptions keep derailing us from our activities, with our brains shifting and wandering all the time.

This is further compounded with the uncertainties of today, where finding peace and focusing our mind is fast becoming a luxury.

Our Minds Nee Reflection

Just jumping from one task to another in your to-do list or calendar does not help the mind absorb anything or learn.

The mind needs reflection time to digest information, filter out the mind-noise and convert meaning into learning. It pays to sit back and reflect, even if you feel irritated, vulnerable or bored.

Embrace Change

From online learning for school kids to contactless delivery of Amazon products, the ongoing pandemic has already shown us many social, economical and cultural changes.

Embracing change and the new ways of doing things that were not feasible or acceptable earlier is the way forward, and makes us ready even in times of uncertainty.

Broaden Your Perspective

While travel is the best way to expand your mind, virtual travel will do for now, considering what’s outside.

Ted Talks, brainstorming sessions on Zoom with like-minded friends or colleagues, and extensive reading of topics outside your range of interests is a great way to explore your mind. You will eventually create something above and beyond your individual efforts.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

David Collis - Harvard Business School professor

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David Collis - Harvard Business School professor
Invite Dissent To Build Others’ Commitment

An executive needs those she leads to translate strategic insights into choices that drive results. For people to commit to carrying out an executive’s strategic thinking, they have to both understand and believe in it. But repeated explanations don’t necessarily increase people’s understanding and ownership of strategy. Making them discuss the pros and cons of it make it so the problem is better understood and flaws are identified and fixed increasing ownership for success.

Identify The Strategic Requirements Of The Job

When someone is promoted into a function that requires strategic leadership it’s easy to spend time fixing what was wrong in their previous function but that often isn’t what the strategic leadership position requires. So, identify the strategic requirements of your job and focus on them.

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A Zen Parable
There was a man riding on a horse. When a man walking on the road asks him where he is going, the rider replies, “Why are you asking me? You should ask the horse.”

The ho...

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions. -Salovey and Mayer (1990)

Emotional Mastery

It manifests itself in the kind of statements we make about ourselves, in relation to our emotional skills and success.

Qualities such as confidence, awareness and optimism, come under the umbrella of emotional intelligence. 

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The weekly review

It’s dedicated time to think about the past week, reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and plan for the week ahead. 

It’s a chance to get aligned with your goals and ensure ...

The 3 parts of a weekly review
  • Get Clear: process all your loose-ends.
  • Get Current: make sure all your items are up to date.
  • Get Creative: come up with new ideas to improve how you live and work.
Benefits of weekly reviews
  • You gain an objective view of the week: a weekly review forces you to practice intention by taking time to pause and reflect as you consider what you did versus what you planned to do.
  • You become proactive in planning: a weekly review isn’t only a retrospective, but a prospective too. It lets you run through the upcoming Monday to Friday proactively.

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Endless choices are rabbit holes to nowhere
Endless choices are rabbit holes to nowhere

With infinite options come increased choices. More choices mean more decisions. However, choice overload makes you question your decisions. This leads to dec...

Intentionally moving forward

The best decision-makers purposefully avoid almost all of the options available.

To commit to one decision means closing the door on everything else. It takes confidence to say, "This is what I'm serious about. I can't be distracted by everyone else's noise and agendas." If you're serious about achieving goals, you must create an environment that shields you from other noise.

Strategic ignorance

Strategic ignorance is not about being closed-minded. It's knowing what you want.

It's realizing how easy a person can be derailed. You even avoid amazing situations that you know is really a distraction. You create boundaries and live your priorities and values and dreams.

The Money We Need

We don't really need massive amounts of money to live a happy life.

A good level of freedom and self-confidence can be attained by a relatively small figure of money.

We can take the mi...

Confidence and Freedom

Many 'high-achieving' people lack flexibility, freedom, and confidence to change things in their life when they want. This is due to the build-in traps and insecurity of living a high achievers life.

A life full of complexity and self-protection lacks confidence and independence.

What Confidence Means
  • It means not equating money with happiness, being self-assured, to understand that you cannot change the world but your response to everything you experience determines your happiness.
  • It means being in control of your lifestyle, to be able to learn new skills, to understand that you can be anywhere, live anywhere, work and make friends anywhere.
  • It is a self-assurance that your kids will be just fine, and the real goal of your life is not to earn money but to attain happiness.

Confidence means believing that you have the personal power to get things done and that your true goal is to live happily.

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    Epiphanies

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    For this reason, place four to six anchor points throughout the talk that is insightful and compelling. Even common knowledge can be turned into an epiphany if emphasized uniquely or applied to the audience's specific circumstance.

    A transformation

    People want to change something because of you.

    • Point out what needs to change about their behavior
    • Why they need to change
    • How they can start the change

    As yourself "What's the first step the audience can take to begin the transformation I'm focussing on?"

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    Two strategies

    When it comes to setting strategy, there are benefits to both popular and loner strategies.

    • Popular strategies are those that are identified by the crowds. The more people that ch...
    Outperforming the crowd

    If you want to outperform the crowd, learn the following two essential skills.

    • Generate ideas by broadening your decision frame.
    • You must be able to distinguish between good and bad loner strategies. It is best done by embracing critical thinking.
    Broadening the Frame

    When we need to make a decision, we tend to ask "What should we do?" However, it narrows our thinking to one right decision.

    If we ask the question: "What could we do?"  it broadens our decision-making frame, because we can consider multiple futures. Could ask what if, what else, and why not.

    For example: Ask what would be the equivalent in your industry of something that’s working well in another.

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    Why You Should Take Breaks
    Why You Should Take Breaks
    • “Movement breaks” are essential for your physical and emotional health. A 5-minute walkabout break every hour can improve your health and well-being.
    • Breaks can prevent ...
    When Not to Take a Break

    When you are in a state of “flow” it is not good to take a break.

    “Flow” is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself.

    Good Breaks

    A “good break” will give that goal-oriented Prefrontal Cortex of yours a good rest by switching brain activity to another area.

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    Do Less — Then Obsess

    Top performers definitely focus on fewer goals — but they also obsess like crazy over them, to produce quality work.

    That extreme dedication to their priorities creates extraordinary r...

    Deliberate Practice In The Workplace
    • Pick one and only one skill at a time to develop.
    • Dedicate 15 minutes a day to reviewing your performance on a workplace skill. 
    • Isolate micro-behaviors. If you want to give a better presentation, break down what goes into a good presentation and set a goal. 
    • Get feedback. Ask people what you can do to improve.
    Feel Passion & Purpose
    • People think passion has to come from being excited about the tasks you perform. It doesn’t. There are 6 ways to derive passion from your work: Task passion, achievement passion, creative passion, people passion, learning passion and competence passion.
    • Purpose is about creating value for others in a way that is personally meaningful to you. It's less about the actual tasks you perform and more about how you frame them.
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    Our Image In A Professional Setting

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    Our Digital Image

    People who want to hire us, invest in our companies or collaborate with us increasingly look at our digital footprints on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and Twitter to ‘profile’ us.

    As we go more and more online, the way we are perceived digitally, in our display pictures, zoom videos, emails and social media provides a mountain of data for humans, and machines to make judgements about our personal and professional attributes.

    Working With The Algorithm

    As companies and individuals access our digital avatars and make their judgements, we have the ability to curate them and tell them a story that we want them to hear.

    We need to understand the algorithms that are formulated to identify signals and patterns, and ‘hack’ them to our advantage.

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