By Erika Garms PH.D., CSP
Who doesn’t want to be MORE productive?
And if you supervise and lead other people, aren’t you always hoping for more productivity from them also?
We are usually looking to our output as a measure of how productive we are.
And in a way, aren’t we also considering how focused on cranking out the results we are? For me, I feel more productive if I was able to reign in and maintain good focus in order to accomplish something.
Compare that to spending 2-3x as long on a task than it should have taken you, because your mind was wandering like crazy, and you had half a dozen people interrupting you during that time.
It FEELS better when we work in focus.
Yet most people see focus only as an “Off-On” switch. Either you are focused or you’ve lost your focus.
It’s good and bad, right? Black and white.
Only, not so.
Actually, we now know that focus exists on a continuum from tight, “in the flow”-type focus . . . all the way to daydreamy, “drift”-type focus.
And here’s the kicker…
BOTH are good, and so are all the other places in-between on that continuum.
Our brains cannot maintain tight focus for long periods of time, so we self-regulate by getting distracted or straying into the loose-focus zone. This is good, because it takes a different kind of energy, allows us to recharge, and produces different kinds of thoughts and ideas than we’re able to do in tight focus.
Ever had a brainstorm while going on a long drive?
How about in the shower?
Yep . . . we’re in “drift” then, where brainstorms and insights pop up miraculously for us.
I have a way to teach you how to exert some control over your focus and this continuum. It’s really handy to be able to pull your attention in and keep it there for a while in order to get something done. And then, it’s also important to know how to let go of that attention and loosen up your focus in order to do different kinds of work, more effectively.
Once you can do this, then you can start even blocking out your workday calendar to help support the kinds of focus you need at various times.
Add to this, learning how to best “feed and water” yourself to also align with those highly-focused blocks, and you are launching off to a whole new kind of performance!
This article was originally posted at erikagarms.com.
Erika Garms, PH.D., CSP is a faculty member of LEADERSHIP USA.