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News & Blogs: Rising Above the Middle

Distracted at work? How to get focused

Tuesday, February 9, 2016  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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By Lisa Martin

Let’s speak candidly. You have priorities outside the office. Big priorities. And sometimes thoughts of those things seep into your consciousness as you’re leading a meeting, giving a presentation or shaking hands with a new client.

You’re human. It’s all good. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

Having said this, it’s helpful to be able to “wrangle” your thinking. And by wrangling, I mean gently, compassionately coaxing your mind to focus on the moment at hand. Are you adept at this? How must time do you spend in the present moment, undistracted by other things?

Check out these five statements. How true is each for you?

·         When I’m working, I gently turn down thoughts of other things.

·         When someone at work speaks to me, I calmly focus on what they are saying. I don’t plan my response as they speak.

·         I let problems at home leave my mind when I’m working. 

·         I can sit in an hour-long meeting without checking the web or email.

·         I can focus on a task undistracted for an hour or two at a time.

If you confidently answered "true" to four or five these statements, you’re often in the present moment as you’re working. If fewer than four of these statements are true for you, distraction is likely limiting your ability to focus.

Trust me, you’re not alone. Take action now to improve your mindfulness. Pick one the statements and commit to practicing it for the next 30 days. Don’t worry about slip-ups along the way — just keep going.

At first mindfulness comes in small, almost imperceptible steps. But even in its smallest doses, it’s potent beyond belief.

Lisa Martin is the creator of the Lead + Live Better™ programs, author of five books (including the bestselling Briefcase Moms), and a seasoned speaker. For the past 15 years Martin has invented and delivered leadership programs for PwC, Time Warner Cable, HSBC, TELUS, Vancouver Canucks, Rogers Communications, UBC and many others.

Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.

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