Have you ever been in a meeting where when you are just about to elaborate on why we really need to solve that particular problem, a phone starts buzzing.
It is set to mute and its owner leaves it lying buzzing on the table without answering it, but what happens to the rest of the people in the room? Everyone will pay attention to the phone with both eyes and ears, and not focus on you.
Multitasking without actually getting more done
We tend to do this in several other areas as well, wouldn’t you say? In order to navigate our way through an increasingly intense working environment with focus and concentration, we select, plan, fix, tune in, tune out and turn off.
However, we are playing it safe. We are doing something else simultaneously whilst we are sitting there anyways. We throw an eye on the next thing we are going to do before we are done with this one. The device is almost turned off, but not completely.
Focusing both mind and action
These days I think a lot about prioritizing wholeheartedly. What I mean is that what I decide to do, is the only things I want to focus my attention on at that moment. Call it mindfulness, minimization of distraction, or whatever you want.
I have had such vivid experiences of how the purpose of prioritization is completely lost when I do not focus entirely on what I have prioritized. Let me give you three examples of what I have previously done which I no longer want to do. Since “I think I speak for everyone here”, I will express myself in terms of us.
Do not do this
- Tweet during a lecture — We attend a really exciting lecture and we would love to share it with those who follow us on Twitter and our Facebook friends. It would be nice with a picture on Instagram too, so we take one. After a while, we look up from our phone and feel as if we joined halfway through the movie. “What is he talking about now?”. We were so occupied by comments, likes and tweets that we almost missed what we actually wanted to do now — listen to the lecture.
- Leave the cellphone on during a meeting, even though it is muted — We turn off the sound on the phone when we go into a meeting, but only the sound. There is not a “have the cake and eat it ” when it comes to silent-mode and vibration. Sure, when the phone rings it does not really ring, but it buzzes in your pocket and we will still be distracted. We take a peek to see who is calling and perhaps even answer to say that we can not take the call right now.
- Working on non-prioritized projects — We decide which X number of projects we are going to prioritize in the coming months. We focus extra on these but also continue to work on the others as well instead of actually pausing them while working on the prioritized ones. All in all, we work more after we prioritized than before — extra on the prioritized projects and as much as before on the other projects. And yet we thought we would work less and with greater focus.
One thing at a time
If we prioritize wholeheartedly we gain focus and concentration. We get to enjoy the pleasure of having prioritized, which to me is for instance the feeling that I am currently doing the absolute best thing I could possibly do right now. In the next few weeks, this is what I will practice. Will you try doing so as well?
How do you prioritize more wholeheartedly?
Does any of this sound familiar? Yes, absolutely? Not at all? If so, what everyday situations would you like to prioritize more wholeheartedly in? Leave a comment and let us know!