I bet you thought “no” when I asked for your undivided attention or maybe “yes but only for a minute.”
We rarely give anyone or anything that kind of focus.
I really notice it when I’m stuck behind someone looking at their phone while climbing the escalator, walking down the street or getting off the tube. These are quick basics – get from A to B, yet they are totally distracted.
It’s worse in the office. I tell every person I coach to turn off their Email Pop up. Many don’t listen; they think it’s essential that they’re connected.
These are the same people that talk about feeling overwhelmed with the amount they have to do and not finding much satisfaction in their job.
The correlation is clear.
Get with the Flow
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi discovered the concept of Flow in his research. He described it as the mental state where a person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the activity.
Flow is characterized by complete absorption in what you are doing.
You are unaware of time, all your thoughts are channelled on this one thing.
The state of Flow is thought to produce the highest sense of satisfaction in what you’re working on.
A lot of video gamers say this is the joy they feel when they are totally immersed.
So, back to the email pop up. If your eyes flit to the corner of the screen and your brain briefly engages in each new email, you will never be in a state of flow. Ever.
You’ll never get that pleasure, that amazing sense of losing yourself in the task.
We work in an era of thought driven, creative innovation. We work on strategy and ideas; creative thinking is the hallmark of today’s jobs.
It’s the kind of work that lets you get in the Flow. It demands your undivided attention for you to be good.
You have to be willing to give it your full focus.
People need it too
I was headed to work and saw a woman walking with her 4 year old, her daughter was dawdling behind. As she walked, she was staring intently at her phone. She snapped her fingers and gestured hurry up, without ever looking up from her screen.
I’d bet when her daughter is 14 and her mom wants to talk, the daughter will motion “later” and walk away texting. Mom will be seriously annoyed, not realizing she taught her this.
That little bit of attention is so valued.
Do you know someone that always stops what they are doing, looks you in the eye and really listens to what you have to say?
It gives you a little jolt of energy, they make you feel important, they have time for you. You are more important than anything on their many screens.
Experiment with this
Give someone your undivided attention, how did they respond?
Ask for someone’s undivided attention, how do you feel?
Unplug from the outside world. Set aside 2 hours to work on something and don’t check your email, Facebook or texts.
The real pleasure in life is not in multitasking and I’m sure it isn’t on your phone screen.
Give something your all.
Find your Flow.