Running with your head cut off and the wonders of focus

Running with your head cut off and the wonders of focus

You know that feeling, when you start realizing you’re running around with your head cut off. You panic, you hurry and, most of all, you pile-up stupid mistakes.

This is what happened to me at work today. I had a first request, then a second, then a 3rd and so on. Before realizing it I was doing everything backwards, correcting mistakes I had done after correcting other mistakes. There was no ending to this!
I was getting grumpier at myself and at the people asking me to do things, was reacting more and more on impulse. There needed to be a break.

I started to visualize myself like this running chicken with no head, an English expression I like a lot. It was so true and representative! I started to draw it in my little notebook where I note every inspiration I have for this blog and more and added “Need some change”.

When all of this was over, instead of again fulminating on how crappy my job was, I tried to take the “grow” approach (the one I am striving to keep now that I have decided to continuously learn and Inspire others). I came back to my chicken picture and realized that my head was not missing, it was actually in another place, the place that it was in before receiving the first request, I was busy reading a very interesting blog written by Leo Babauta I was trying to get the most out of.

As I considered the request to be trivial and that I was going to be able to complete it quickly to be able to go back to my first activity as soon as possible, my head simply staid there.

The chicken image does look even more accurate after that isn’t it?

My body and part of my brain were running on automatic mode to get rid of the new tasks on the spot, while my head was still elevated to another level. When it came to concentrate on double-checking my mistakes, it did not come down and I missed all of it (double-checking for typos and other trivial but important features require an amazing amount of focus, much more brain power than one would think).

Which leads me to my point, focus.

Multitasking can be an option when your brain is divided between very simple tasks that you are extremely used to and you can screw-up without that much impact (getting a glass of water while watching TV or talking to a friend). And even though, sometimes you can have it wrong (spill it all when the movie gets surprisingly loud while filling the glass for instance). All in all it is not recommended as it too often makes you lose more time than you can earn (try correcting the endless mistakes you make).

The way to go is to focus on one task at the time. It is better when it is a trivial task, it is compulsory when it is an important task, especially interacting with others.

Few of the amazing benefits are:

Now a lot of you are like me and they multitask without even realizing it.

Focus is not a given and is something you acquire by training and making changes in your environment.

I recommend the following tricks to begin with:

And don’t forget to allow switching time from one activity to another. After finishing a report, go have a hot tea, focus on the warmth of the cup in your hand, empty your brain and allow the good stress to go down a little.
Too much energy may very well negatively influence your next move. Such as, after finishing a chapter of a book, you end-up writing a novel to your dry-cleaner, who just wanted to know at what time you would pick-up your shirts.

After cooling-down, you’ll be fresh and ready for your next task to go!

In order to Inspire, you have to do great things. This is becoming excessively more simple when you practice focus.

Multitasking does not allow to create or perform, it allows to survive when no other option is at hand.


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The Traps

This is an evolving post. Please come back and check it out once in a while. Going through the quest of inspiring others, you’ll get caught in traps that will pull you down. It’s fine, and completely part of the process. Learn from your... Continue →