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Want to Improve Productivity? Learn to Live for the Present!

ProductivityDid somebody mention presents?

This is the time of year with an emphasis on giving to others. Why not adapt that mindset for yourself too? Perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself this Christmas is to learn to live in the moment. And to fully immerse yourself in the activity right in front of you.

It’s a simple way to increase your productivity levels. Even more so for those who find this an unnatural way of working.

Daily Interruptions Damage Productivity

Fully immersed in an all-day meeting, energy levels were high. The ideas were flowing and members were bouncing off each other. Then life happened and we were snapped out of our flow.

One executive picked up a voicemail; only to discover there had been a crisis back at the office. It appeared that no-one else was equipped to deal with the issue. So, she left the room to make a call and didn’t return until lunchtime.

When I checked my phone, I saw nothing critical. Nevertheless, a couple of the emails needed addressing. Also, I knew that would create an additional workload for me. As a result, my mind wandered away from the session. I began thinking about options for dealing with the situation; once back in Manchester.

I wasn’t chairing that session, I hasten to add. And I was quick to park the issue until the meeting was over. In any event, my mind wandered. For a short while at least, I wasn’t fully present.

Productivity is affected in subtle ways

It isn’t only a wandering mind that deflects attention. Our productivity is impacted in other, less obvious ways.

Energy levels can drop noticeably. And that might not be on people’s radar consciously. Nevertheless, people do pick up on it intuitively. And if the distraction happens to a person with high energy; it will have a ripple effect across the team.

I have observed that scenario time and again. Business leaders attend meetings with the weight of the world on their shoulders. And they don’t have any awareness of the impact that’s having on their people. Equally important, they are unaware of the immediate negative impact that’s having on the people in the meeting.

Being highly self-aware helps in scenarios like these. And making sure the Chair is equipped to recognise the signs. In addition, that they have the confidence to call out distracting behaviour. 

Sustaining productivity requires focused attention

People who do this naturally have an ability to keep their focus in the moment. They can and will throw themselves into the current activity. And they find it easier to block out or ignore what’s going on outside of that.

It’s a different story for those of us who instinctively look to the future. Typically, we focus on what’s coming next. And that can become a distraction in itself.

Remember, it’s important to learn from the past and then park it. Moreover, the real skill is in our ability to apply that learning in the present. Of course, what you’re focusing on right now will deliver tomorrow’s consequences. Indeed, today’s actions deliver tomorrow’s results. So, make today count!

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