“I have to leave my mobile phone on in case something happens”, says Mr. Baumgarten, head of a medium-sized company, in a seminar room of a conference hotel in the countryside at 9:12 am in the morning.
We sit here together, a team of executives and I as a coach, and discuss the framework for the next two days at the beginning of the management team workshop.
An important point is: Focus – holding the focus on what happens in the workshop room, on your own reactions and not he owns of the whole team.
But keeping the focus doesn’t seem to be so easy any more.
Initial situation: being constantly available
It is a situation we are experiencing today very often: the condition of constant availability. Mr. Baumgarten’s statement makes it clear that focusing is complicated by many factors. Constant accessibility & availability seems to be a factor that we have become accustomed to in both our professional and private lives, and which is further strengthened by digitalization.
We have several tabs open all the time, writing simultaneously with several people, mostly mixed both professionally and privately. While participating in a meeting, we get drawn into another topic area by a message, which means that we might already be planning the next meeting or our evening activities, for example, the Facebook app reminds us of an upcoming event.
We are always in many subjects at the same time, even though we are physically in one place.
This reminds me strongly of our mind and spirit – it is also constantly busy with many different things. Only now, with digital identity, is another world open to us that requires our attention. More and more impulses are being generated to which we are supposed to respond and on- or offline events pop-up in which we are invited to participate. And just as it looks like today with the switch to digital processes in companies and the increase in online consumption, the use of apps and digital contact possibilities, this will not become any less so in the future. Digitalization is happening everywhere and it’s impossible to avoid it.
So the question now is: how do we deal with it?
Focus is the magic word, which is becoming more and more important in my coaching processes. The nice thing about focusing is that we don’t need much. We don’t have to hurry and buy equipment or take part in further training. We can, if we wish, start today and do so directly.
Self-management means focusing
A little exercise
Just interview yourself in this very moment and ask yourself: What is important at this moment? Try not only to ask your mind, but also your gut and intuition. What’s needs to be priority right now?
Ask yourself the question a few times and dive into a little self-reflection process with yourself. If your thoughts wander off, for example, to:”That’s bullshit.””What was again on tonight?” “Oh, crap, I forgot to answer the e-mail just before.” – come back to the question: What’s important at this very moment?
Analyze the question too much, just look at what comes to mind and stays as a thought. If you have found a satisfactory answer, follow it. Whether it’s something that involves a larger or smaller focus.
A smaller focus can be, for example:
- Finish the concept for customer xy before you deal with the just received email or whatsapp.
- Get some fresh air and supply your head with oxygen before you go back to your computer.
- Hunger! Eat something.
A larger focus can be, for example:
- Focus more on your body and try to return to yoga or exercise more regularly.
- How long have you been missing your friends? Plan another dinner with them.
- When was the last time you had some me-time?
What does your inner voice tell you?
Focusing means listening to the inner voice again
Through the possibility of being constantly in the digital world, a development away from ourselves is evident. In social networks, something always happens and there is always something to do. Development away from us means that we keep distracting ourselves and am looking for answers in the outside world rather than asking ourselves what would be right for us and our balance. Many of us go also beyond their physical limits by doing this, because they don’t know better.
At the beginning of my coaching processes, this is often shown in the following exemplary statements:
- I tend to overthink things, my head chatters incessantly.
- I don’t know what’s really good for me anymore.
- I’m there for the others all the time and keep losing sight of myself.
- I’m always tense and under stress.
- I don’t know what I want, there’s so much
- I can’t let go of work when I’m in private.
In addition, physical symptoms such as fatigue, eye twitching, shoulder or back pain, headaches, dizziness or digestive problems sometimes also appear. The body gives us clues as to where we have lost our balance.
Learning to focus on what is most important at that moment and in the current phase of life is the foundation of self-management. For that, it also helps to be able to read the body’s instructions.
Because when we learn to focus on the essentials, we know our sources of power and have a strong, alert mind, with which we actively draw our boundaries and live in conscious dealings with the online and offline world. Then we will know what’s good for us and be able to act accordingly.
You want to learn self-management and discover your own focusing strategies? Go for it! If you wish for any support you can contact me – I offer coachings or workshops on this topic.
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Photocredit: Gabriel Santiago