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Entries in focus (45)


Creating Your Own Circus Chaos

While you normally think of interruptions being created by others and brought to bear on your circus, don't miss those "changes of direction" that are often caused by your own inability to plan or focus properly. Some examples include:

  • Leaving "e mail notification" turned on for your email program. Each time the indicator pops up telling you that you have a message, you are distracted. It's just human nature to say, "I wonder who is e mailing me?" The same is true for notifications on a phone or tablet.
  • Not managing your sleep patterns, exercise or food intake. If you are ready to crawl on your desk at 2 PM and take a nap, maybe it's time to start an exercise program that will help you sustain your energy throughout the day. Or perhaps you need to explore ways to get a better night's sleep-or watch what you eat at lunch that may be making you sleepy.
  • Beginning-but not ending-an intense discussion with your spouse, children, or co-worker. If you have something serious to discuss, choose a time that you can prudently work through the issue. Leaving "loose ends" in discussions will weigh heavily on you in those moments at work when you should be focusing on other tasks.

Most importantly, be the ringmaster. As much as it's possible, take control of your time, energy and actions... or someone else certainly will.


DSPS and Work/Life Balance

Recently there was an article in the Harvard Business Review about DSPS or Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Simply put, it's a condition where the person doesn't have the same circadian rhythms as the majority of the population. They may find that working from 6 PM to 2 AM is more effective for them than the normal 9 to 5 schedule. The article also looked at the challenges faced by such individuals on their personal commitments.

While these individuals have speical cases, all of us have a certain rhythm to our day-a time it works best for us to be in various "rings" of our circus. Finding that rhythm is important so we can determine how best to create our lineup on a daily basis. If we are most creative in the night hours, we should seek ways to spend more time with our families or in our self ring in the morning hours. If you like to get up early and get things done, reserving time for family and yourself in the early evening hours is most critical.

The key as always, is to be the ringmaster of your circus and take more conscious control of how you use your limited time and energy.


An Intermission From Facebook

A recent Pew Internet study found that 61% of Facebook users have taken a voluntary multi-week break from the site. Some of the key reasons they gave include:

  •  Too busy/Didn't have time for it
  • Just wasn't interested/Didn't like it
  • Waste of time/Not relevant content
  • Too much drama/gossip/conflict

You can read the full report by clicking here.

While their responses were specific to the social media site, they could probably be transposed to other areas of our life. There are times we tend to lose the passion that fuels our efforts at work. Who hasn't needed a break from the hectic world of parenting? We simply find ourself juggling so many elephants and are in need of a time to rest, replenish our motivation, and determine where our time and energy best needs to be focused.

From what part of your work or life do you need a brief intermission?


To Be Happy Be In The Right Ring-Right Now!

A study undertaken by two Harvard researchers found that 47% of the time, people are thinking about something else other than what they are doing-and that this wandering of the mind makes them unhappy. That's probably not news to you with all the distractions that infiltrate every moment of our day, but the source of the biggest distraction might surprise you-it's our emotions.

Frustration about something that happened yesterday with a co-worker or family member or simply worrying about the task in front of you was found to be the most significant reason for this wandering of the mind.

The "aha" for all of us should be that if we feel the emotional drain pulling at us, we should find the source, and when the opportunity is created to address it, we should do everything possible to work through it. Failing to do so is like trying to be in two rings of your circus at once-and we know that doesn't create stellar results in either one.

You can read more about the study discussed in the USA Today by clicking here.


The Value of Uninterrupted Time

How often are you interrupted? Whether you work in an office, in the home or in a factory; try a little experiment and see just how many minutes it takes before you hear a bell, beep, buzz or "Do you have just a minute?" For the average person, that time is about 5-15 minutes. That is a lot of interruptions in a day's time. How are you expected to focus and stay on task? How are you expected to have deep thoughts and meditate on the important? The fact is if you are so use to being interrupted, you may have a hard time focusing on a given task for very long because you mind becomes "wired" towards jumping from thing to thing.

Find some time where you can just think. Shut off the interruptions. Get away from the noise and concentrate. You might ask, "What do I need to think about?" Consider the following ideas:

  • What are the most important things that I need to accomplish today that would have the greatest impact in my work, relationships and self rings? When am I going to get them done? How will I get them done?

  • Brainstorm a specific project and break it down into it's individual parts

  • What one key thing did I learn about today? Write it down in a journal or blog about it

  • What are my goals? What one or two things would I like to accomplish today, this week, this month, this year, in my lifetime? Write them down and then determine how and by when you will accomplish them

  • Ponder spiritual matters

  • Consider a relationship that is important to you. What does that relationship mean to you? What are the one or two things that you could do to build that relationship?

There are many more things that you could think about. This list is just intended to get your mind going. And that is exactly the point – Get your mind going. Get out of the shallow, reactive, "how am I going to quickly reply" mode and into the mode of focused, intentional, deep thinking – at least occasionally. The quality of your work and life will increase as a result.