Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to stay focused!

Some recent personal experiences pulled me completely off track.  A silly church - politics spat blew my deadlines and wasted valuable time and energy. It made me think hard again on how we deal with such issues and stay productive.  While we can’t run away from situations, it is important how we tackle them effectively.
Prayer and meditation are strong tools to avoid distraction and stress (my wife is a big advocate on this). I always have the intent, but fail many a time. One old theory on the topic is that meditation is just like exercise: it trains the brain as if gray matter were a bundle of muscles. You work those muscles and they get stronger. And the results are clear: it's not wanting to meditate but actually meditating that improves your brain's performance. So next time, we blame on meditation, please look inward and ask the question; have we done our part correctly?
Yet another way to deal with the situation is avoid multi-tasking. While multitasking may seem to be saving time, psychologists, neuroscientists and others are finding that it can put us under a great deal of stress and actually make us less efficient. Studies by David E. Meyer, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, and his colleagues found that for all types of tasks, the participants lost time when they had to move back and forth from one undertaking to another, and that it took significantly longer to switch between the more complicated tasks. In a 2005 Harvard Business Review article, Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform, Dr. Hallowell wrote that attention deficit trait “springs entirely from the environment”. “As our minds fill with noise — feckless synaptic events signifying nothing — the brain gradually loses its capacity to attend fully and gradually to anything,” he wrote.
Can we manage our situation and stay focused? The answer is, yes. For that, we need to “recreate our boundaries” and “train our mind”. That means not looking at your messages every 20 seconds, switching off the cellphones in meetings, and not looking at your emails while talking over the phone. Sleeping less to do more is a bad strategy. We are efficient only when we sleep enough, eat right, exercise, and meditate. Focus on single tasking and avoid distractions. Finally, the result depends on how sincere you are with yourself.
See you next week!


R S said...

Dear Saju,

I have been following your weekly messages. It is quite thought provocking and good. One point on multi tasking in todays article is quite relevant. These days in an attempt to develop a lean structure, companies tend to look for man power reationalisation and eventually multi tasking is resorted to. Though sucess in the same has been acclaimed, more ofen the man tends to break down due to reasons given by you.

Saju Skaria said...

Dear RS, thanks for your sharing. We miss all the charm in life when we aplit our time for multiple things in a given point. In retrospect I realise that I could not give quality time to my kids because I was too busy with too many things!

Thanks again for the encouragement!