These days, it seems like there are a million things going on in the work place. The email inbox is full, the phone is ringing, people are coming in and out asking questions, and budgets are getting slashed. Somehow, we’ve got to find a way to keep all the glass balls in the air at once.
In these challenging times, it’s not unusual for employees to find themselves feeling scattered and unfocused. Even people who are normally quite organized tend to get pulled off track as the demands increase.
The next time you find yourself “chasing rabbits around the office” (meaning running from one task to another without really finishing any of them), try these three quick tricks to clear your head so you can stay focused and create some space to get everything done.
#1: Get it Out of your Brain and on to Paper
You know how it is…you’re in the middle of something and you have A REALLY GREAT IDEA unrelated to your current task. You don’t want to lose the idea, and you also need to stay focused on the project at hand.
When you’re ready with a writing utensil and notepad at all times, you can just jot down the idea and keep working on what you were doing. The idea will wait for you until you can come back and do something with it…either take action or trash it.
I like to use sticky notes so I can slap the idea on the wall beside my computer. It is where I can see it so it doesn’t get ignored and not cluttering my brain at the present.
Writing down your ideas gets the information out of your head so you free up the mental “space” to focus on the original task. It will also help you get clear on where it is you really want to put your time and energy.
Don’t forget to breathe! So often when we are under a lot of pressure, our shoulders climb up to our ears and we take very shallow breaths. It’s almost like we are only breathing from the top of our chest to the bottom of our chin. Those shallow, tense breaths restrict the flow of oxygen to the brain and don’t do much to help you stay focused and calm.
When my mind is too full, I know that I breathe as though I’m already sprinting to do the thing that I’m thinking about doing. By simply taking a few deep breaths, I can come back to the current space and have a more clear sense of what really needs to be done immediately, and what I can set aside for later.
#3: Close the Open Loops
When I say “open loops,” I mean action items that are incomplete. Whenever your mind feels “full,” it’s usually because it is working on important unfinished business…even if only at a subconscious level.
One of the fastest ways to become focused once again and clear your head so you can get back to work is to recognize the open loops and deliberately close them. Return phone calls, pay bills, and decide “yes” or “no” on the latest great idea you stuck on the wall. Clearly define your goal and the evidence of success.
As the loops close, you now have space to be creative and get your work done.
Are you ready to take your focus and productivity to the next level? Visit www.FreeGiftFromMartha.com to take the Leadership Success Quiz. You may recognize some open loops you didn’t even realize were cluttering your brain and slowing you down!