This post was written by Hannah Morris, Director of Assessment & Advancement at The Latimer Group.
When tackling big questions and conversations, we often need to get out of our normal routines and surroundings. Amidst the clutter of our busy desks and with the frequent interruptions of our typical office flow, it is hard to find clarity. We need focus. We need space.
In our workshops, we talk about the value of mindfulness and the challenges of achieving it in our noisy world. To deepen our own understanding of this topic and learn more strategies to incorporate into our professional and personal lives, our team recently engaged in a Mindfulness workshop. The entire experience was highly rewarding; here are my two biggest takeaways: First, to be fully present, allow yourself to temporarily ignore the past and the future; and second, when your mind wanders (because it will), don’t feel annoyed or defeated, just patiently steer it back. We expend a great deal of time and energy rehashing the past, worrying about the future, and chiding ourselves for our mindlessness. By minimizing those activities, we can greatly improve our ability to focus.
Focus alone, though, may not be enough when trying to achieve the higher level thinking required for complex topics. In these instances, we need to take the opportunity to step away and get some space. It can be as simple as drafting a difficult email, leaving it, and then returning to it hours later with “fresh eyes”, or it can involve seeking out a new environment for a project or conversation. When developing content or preparing for a workshop, stepping away from my desk and finding a different workspace is often the key to productivity and efficiency. Our team holds an annual retreat each June and I am always amazed by how much can be accomplished in these sessions. A highly productive group can become even more so when the day-to-day distractions are miles away.
The next time you need to dive deep into the big questions or conversations that drive your work or your organization, consider the roles these two factors play in achieving clarity.
Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?
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