You know that feeling you have when you are thoroughly engaged in something and time seems to stand still?
You are so focused and engrossed. It’s fun, it feels good, and you’re very productive!
Then something happens, like the phone rings or an email pops up or something else interrupts your attention. It’s hard to get that feeling back.
This feeling of engagement is called many things including “flow” or being in “the zone”. Whatever you call it, it is about being in the NOW.
There are two main difficulties being in the NOW.
1) Our thoughts interfere with being fully present and engaged. Thousands of thoughts go through your mind during the day; which thoughts you regularly listen to determine your success.
While discussing the concept of being in the NOW with one of my real estate clients, he remarked:
“I’m never in the NOW! I’m always thinking about what I have to do, what I should or could be doing, or what I’ll be doing next. Then I feel bad because I am so busy listening to my thoughts that I’m not paying attention or hearing what the person is saying. I always feel like I should be doing something else.”
And because of these thoughts, he is quite pressured and stressed and has a hard time relaxing. His relationships suffer and it is probable that his physical health is suffering too in some way.
Your thoughts impact your productivity. If you’re not in the NOW, where are you? This client’s thoughts are about the future. Many people, however, focus on the past. Anger, storytelling, drama, complaining - these are all things that are in the past. The NOW is the only place you can enjoy happiness, the only place you can get things accomplished, and the only thing, really, that you have.
How much of your time is spent in the NOW? If you could learn to spend more time being fully present, how much more do you think you’d be able to accomplish? How much more effective would you be? How much better do you think your relationships would be? And how much happier do you think you’d be?
Coaching tip: pay attention to your thoughts. Thoughts drive all of your behaviors, your feelings, your moods, and your communication. Awareness is the first, powerful step toward change. You cannot change what you don’t know exists. Pay attention to what you say to yourself and what you say to others. Then start to take control by choosing new - and better, more effective - thoughts.
2) Lack of control of your environment including interruptions and distractions make it nearly impossible to stay focused. When you do not have a good handle on your time, when you have not defined your priorities, when you don’t have the systems in place to allow you to do your best work, then productivity suffers.
Coaching tip: pay attention to your interruptions. What’s interrupting you? You will probably need to develop new boundaries for your time. Once aware, you can start to create new systems for getting your work done, eliminating interruptions, and minimizing distractions. Your environment needs to support your success. The only thing that should interrupt you is something that is of greater priority than what you are currently doing. This means, you need to know what your priorities are.
Learning to fully immerse yourself in what you are doing at the moment, identifying and living by your priorities, and creating an environment that supports your success will allow you to enjoy your work while you get things accomplished - the things that matter most.Your partner for success,