Leaders often find themselves looking for the next best thing, distracted by the past and worrying about the future.
However, dwelling in the past or the future brings about dissatisfaction and unhappiness, impedes leaders from being effective, from being creative or finding appropriate solutions.
Indeed, we have all experienced these moments in meetings when everyone in the room is completely checked out, where people talk over each other and where no useful information is shared.
Wondering how to improve your leadership and live in the present?
What being present means?
Being present is a state of mind. It means being able to quiet your mind, to stay open and authentic, to remain in constant contact with your emotions and with your surroundings.
Being present means living in the moment and not overthinking the past, the present or the future. When you live in the present, you don’t over-analyze life, you accept your situation, take action or effectively resolve your problem.
Benefits of being present
Being present is powerful because it can be acted upon right now.
Usually, people dissatisfaction or unhappiness is caused by their attachment to the future or the past. Being present will help you:
- Become more effective, more intuitive, more creative.
- Be more aware of your fluctuating thoughts and emotions.
- Achieve a higher sense of confidence and authenticity.
- Increase your level of gratitude, trust, respect and broaden your charisma.
- Gain the ability to interpret and to respond appropriately to any given situation.
- Get the most out of your day and out of others.
- Hone your communication and relationship skills. You can then connect with others, adapt to people and read them better.
- Build up your emotional intelligence.
- Foresee challenges and notice details.
- Avoid being in a constant state of pain, anxiety or depression.
- Retrieve your ability to enjoy your life and be an inspiration to people around you.
- Activate the Law of Attraction.
How to become more present?
Most of the time our mind is somewhere else.
Thoughts submerge us whether we want it or not. Therefore, asking someone to stop thinking is like asking them to stop breathing.
Your job is to not eliminate the thoughts that come to mind but to control them.
- Understand that you are a mental, intellectual, emotional, spiritual being.
- Understand that your past doesn’t define you and that you cannot go back in time. Worrying about the past will not help you identify what is wrong in the present and will definitely strengthen your negative thoughts.
- Do not worry about the future. Your mind tries to create the future from your past and not from your present information. However, dreaming of your future is OK if you are expecting better for yourself.
- Be self-aware and conscious. The moment you realize that you are not present, you are in the moment.
- Stay true to yourself, avoid comparing yourself to others and avoid caring about what others think of you.
- Listen to your gut and constantly remind yourself of your purpose.
- Observe the patterns of your mind and observe your own reaction.
- Accept the thoughts that come to you, don’t act on them and keep it moving.
- Take time to reflect, to listen to yourself before dealing with people or entering a situation that you cannot handle. For example, I like taking my lunch break alone to center myself, to give me time to recharge my batteries.
- Slow down, avoid multitasking and give yourself time to think before making a decision.
- Avoid external distractions to be able to engage properly with people.
- Prioritize, appreciate your time and energy. It is also important to avoid missing moments with your family and friends.
- Be more empathetic, actively listen to people and seek someone else’s point of view.
- Find things to be grateful about.
- Find an activity that you enjoy in the moment.
- Practice focusing on your breathing.
- Surround yourself with people who matter most to you.
- Compliment people, once in a while and give them your full attention.
- Do not self-medicate.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.
In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!, Damon Zahariades provides tools and strategies to manage your ability to focus.
What is focus?
Focus is the concentration required to consciously block out the noise and the distractions while performing a task.
The ability to focus can be a natural talent. But for most of us, it is a built-in habit, a skill which means it can be learnt.
Why do you need to effectively manage your attention?
Focus can positively impact your life. A lack of focus will reduce your effectiveness and your work quality.
Lack of focus or mind-wandering is not all negative. It helps us get in time with our creative side and find solutions to difficult circumstances.
However, gaining better focus will help you finish all your tasks on time, make better decisions, solve problems, become more productivity, get a successful work/life balance, embrace failure and learn from your mistakes.
By improving your focus, you can reserve your energy for relationships, build stronger connections, become more present, increase your memory, achieve greater self-confidence, handle and overcome adversity.
Why are people so unfocused?
Nobody is impervious to distraction. People are easily distracted because they usually:
- lack interest, are unable to commit or stay engaged to a particular task.
- lack emotional intelligence and are submerged by fear.
- are disorganized and don’t structure their day.
- lack energy. They don’t sleep, eat or exercise correctly.
- lack control or discipline.
Creating an environment to focus
Designing the proper environment is the first way to zero in on your task and to harmonize your workflow:
- Light up your work environment and always take advantage of your natural light. A low lighting makes you drowsy, strains your eyes and decrease your learning abilities.
- Some people feel comfortable working with background noises while others enjoy silence. Experiment and find out which one works best for you.
- Consider your level of physical comfort. To do so, you can adjust your clothes, your stationary, your sitting position, your sitting time and your sight line.
- Monitor the temperature of the room. For example, a too warm room will cause you to sleep.
- Breathe clean air.
- Practice aromatherapy. Some scents have a direct impact on your mood, mind and effectiveness.
- Avoid social situations if you want to work. Human nature makes us drawn to people but interacting with people decrease your focus.
- Organize and declutter your workspace. Clutter affects your focus more than you think because it decreases your processing abilities, hurts your creativity and occupies your memory space.
- Monitor your time to measure your progress.
- Write down your ideas and tasks so they don’t monopolize your thoughts.
Strategies to overcome mind-wandering
There are several tactics to increase your focus, to relax and to avoid the biggest distractions in your life.
- As stated above, it is essential to monitor your time, to set realistic deadlines, to reward yourself and break down your tasks in smaller steps.
- Don’t set too many daily goals and limit yourself to 5 tasks daily or else you will feel overwhelmed and pressured.
- Identify the purpose for every task.
- Exercise first thing in the morning.
- Avoid ignoring the ideas and thoughts floating around in your head. Log them down quickly before you forget them.
- Identify “internal or external stimuli” that break your concentration.
- Record every task that you must undertake by putting them down via a to do list.
- To sharpen your focus, to enter the zone and boost your performance, listen to music or nurture silence.
- Take regular breaks and naps to refresh your mind, to refresh your mind and to avoid boredom.
- Restore your focus by taking a short walk instead of remaining at your desk.
- Multitasking is valued by society. However, attacking one task at a time will help increase your performance and your work quality.
- Pack all similar activities into one and execute them in a row while monitoring your time.
- Break down your day into several tasks and allocate the time necessary for each task.
- Stay away from internet.
- Spend less time in meetings or avoid meetings all together as they can clog up your day and as they hold little value.
- Set boundaries and expectations about your time and your focus.
- Turn off your phone for long periods of time.
- Observe how your energy fluctuates during the day and use moments where your energy is high to achieve high productivity.
- Mediate and take care of your inner peace.
- Stop checking your mails frantically. Instead, keep track of your inbox once or twice a day.
- Define a daily routine and follow it. Routines facilitates your life, enables ow brain processing. You can use that same brain power to accomplish your tasks.
- Stay away from perfectionism.
- Completely edit the first draft then come back to correct your mistakes.
- Stop “consuming too much caffeine” because it is unhealthy and reduces your ability to concentrate.
Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time! is a pragmatic, complete, quick and easy to read self-help book.
In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!, Damon Zahariades shares valuable tips on how to increase your productivity and your focus.
Damon Zahariades shares his preferences and also incorporates practical links and tools to enable your productivity.
It is a step by step guide, written for leaders, for people from all walks of life, for those who are easily distracted by social media, for those who procrastinate, who daydream easily and those with low productivity.
I like the fact that this books highlights the fact that so many things, concepts and institutions in life are purposely set up to distract us from reality: from the local bully to the background music in the stores to technology and internet.
All these distractions are the reason why most people procrastinate and never achieve their version of success.
When we lack a specific purpose, we become more susceptible to distractions. We focus on whatever our brains tell us to focus on, rather than the other way around. We become passengers rather than drivers.