Our rushed and hectic lifestyle has ensured that our attention is ever-fleeing from one task to another without delivering the desired results. We are all victims of the chaos of multitasking that grips the current workforce. Feeling the need to attend to everything at the same time, we often seem to be at battle to focus at work. While we get more accustomed to talking over the phone, while eating, while reading, while responding to a mail that just chimed in, while also checking out an online sale, while complaining about how stressed we are, the idea of doing one thing but doing it well seems lost in the frenzy.
It is easy to become lost in the forest of multiple work roles and let yourself be clutched in the claws of stress. Once in the trap of stress, it is an uphill task to get free. We all have innumerable distractions with how socially present and mentally absent we are today. The monster gets bigger and feeds on you whilst you struggle to handle and deliver multiple assignments. You gradually lose your health and eventually the belief in yourself.
The trick with multitasking, ironically, is to take one thing at a time. While you might be doing it all at the same time, the idea is to focus your attention on one task at a time. The metaphorical reference to the mind-monkey is in keeping with the idea that our minds have the ability and the tendency to prance about just like a monkey. To be able to be present in every moment and to accomplish every task at hand, that monkey needs to be tamed. Here are a few hacks to help you focus and smartly side track the pouncing stress monster.
- Write and right your priorities: Making a list of all the tasks that need to be done by you the next day is a sure way to get started. This helps your prioritize and see on paper the importance and urgency of each assignment. Doing this little exercise at the end of each day will save you time the next morning and work will not appear overwhelming as you’re clear about the order in which you need to tackle things.
- Eat your Frog (not literally): Once the to-do list is in place, Brian Tracy, a renowned trainer suggests that you should deal with the most difficult or least liked task as a priority. He likens the experience to eating a frog and frankly, you would like to finish eating it sooner than later. The tough part would be out of the way and you can focus on other jobs that interest you and the ones which you enjoy doing. This little approach helps you do your favourite tasks at end which in turn feels rewarding after the frog is out of the way.
- Find your breathing space: Five minutes is all you need to set yourself up again. Find yourself a nook or corner where you can spend a few minutes in solitude and just observe your breath. You do not have to be enrolled in a yoga class or sit in a monastery to benefit from this timeless mantra for peace. This breathing space will help you keep calm when the workload seems too much to take and the stress monster seems to be right around the corner.
- Never trouble the trouble until the trouble troubles you: It is convenient to get worried and bogged down by your colleagues’ performances and set yourself up for a beating. This behavior is what truly destroys your peace and makes you vulnerable to the stress monster. Competing with your colleagues and assessing yourself based on their achievements is detrimental to your being. Competition, if at all, should only be with your former self and to do better than what you’ve done.
Hope these pointers help you focus and find your locus! Trying to focus on one thing at a time (regardless of how many tasks you’re expected to juggle), is a sure step from being mind-full at work to being mindful at work.
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