How much attention do you give to your customers, project team members, clients, friends and even family when you engage in conversations? Do you read emails at the same time that you’re talking on the phone or on a conference call? Do you sit in front of a Television while you eat dinner, in order to “kill two birds with one stone?”
One of the biggest challenges we face in today’s world is dealing with distractions! Several things seem to demand our attention at the same time. In order to satisfy these multiple needs, we resort to what we proudly describe in business as multi-tasking. Unfortunately, it has been scientifically proven that multi-tasking is only a myth. We don’t seem to be aware of the switching costs in our brains when we move our focus back-and-forth between tasks. In fact, brain science estimates that when you multi-task, your IQ level drops by 10 points. Interestingly, when someone is stoned on marijuana, his/her IQ level drops by only 5 points. That is amazing! We become dumb-and-dumber when we multi-task than when we’re stoned!
The science of “Mindfulness” deals with purposefully maintaining our full focus and attention on whatever we’re experiencing at the moment. It is sometimes referred to as “Centering.” Even though there is a very extensive and complicated science behind “Mindfulness,” in simple terms, it means we must accept the fact that “yesterday” has already happened, and “tomorrow” is not yet here. Since “Today” is the only guarantee we have, it would pay to give all our full attention to it.
When someone is speaking to us, it would be good not to start thinking ahead about our response. Let’s practice good listening by focusing on the person and the message and if possible, play it back and ask if we clearly heard what the person was communicating to us. Imagine how you would feel if you were talking to someone and that person didn’t seem to be paying full attention to you. That is exactly how others feel when you treat them in that way. Let’s challenge ourselves, for the next 30 days, to practice doing only one thing at a time!
Author: Dr Joseph Amanfu, PMP, CCP, MBCS, CTM, CPC, ELI-MP, ACC, PhD
PMI Tallahassee Chapter, Past President & Certified Leadership Coach