Are You Giving Your All?

 In Leaders, Personal Insights

Remember when there was 1 TV in the house, the family gathered around watching one show from start to finish?  Remember when there was one phone in the house and it was probably in the kitchen?  Remember when there was zero technology at the dinner table?

Okay, admittedly those might be realities that are too distant for most of you to remember, but it is a fun exercise to name all of the technology developments that have occurred in your life time, no matter when you were born.  The pace of technology advancement is exciting and impressive.  I personally love being an ‘early majority’ adopter.

So, forgive me while I lament one of the biggest problems I see in our techno-capability.  From my living room chair today I can… write this message, post it to my LinkedIn, website, and Twitter, take a picture of myself with my phone, post that picture to my Facebook page and send a text message to my Mom.  I can do all of this while watching TV, engaging in a text-conversation with my teenager, and playing “Words with Friends” to take a mental break.  Oh yeah, and my husband is talking to me about the last Red Sox game.

I imagine this one is not a difficult scenario for any of you to picture, right?  Some call it multi-tasking.  But, I wonder.  Although none of these very unrelated tasks are highly taxing on my brain, the question is am I doing ANY of the tasks with ‘ALL’ of me?  Clearly not.

When is the last time you focused on only one thing at a time?  When is the last time you participated on a conference call without your email open and working?  When is the last time you were (slightly) offended by someone you were talking with who proceeded to respond to an incoming text message?  (And, don’t think everyone can’t tell that you are multi-tasking!)

I am as guilty as the rest, but I am on a mission now, starting with myself.  I remember when I learned what a luxury it was to focus:  In a 13-week series of conference call-based training sessions; the facilitators asked us prior to session #1 to totally focus on the call — turn off computers, cell phones, free ourselves of all distractions to focus on one thing — the learning experience.  I was not sure I could do it, but decided to try.

Of course, at first, I was panicked about what I might miss during the 90-minute sessions.  I was afraid I would miss that very critical email, urgent text message, or entertaining Facebook post.  But, I committed and I followed-through.

And now I am still clearly seeing the benefits!

Not only am I learning more than I ever would if I was being my typical ‘multi-tasking’ self, but I was surprised to feel the difference.  I cannot believe what a relief it is to have the ‘quiet’ that I need to focus on the learning.  My mind is literally more quiet as I listen. My stress level goes down.  I can feel it.  It is a luxury to focus.  It is a luxury to pay attention to one thing and one thiing only.

I highly recommend it!  I am on a mission to use my technology to the fullest, but at the same time to protect the brain space I need to do all things well, one task at a time.

When can you commit to 100% focus today?  In what situations are you easily distracted by technology?  I encourage you to give-up just one of those times and fully commit to turning-off the distractions.

Your brain and your body will thank you.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Carol

    Good post. And oh so true. One has to wonder if we are truly more effective today with so many resources at our fingertips, are we really more productive? I think not. And certainly the way we communicate with people in our lives, personally and professionally has evolved…or has it?

    • DocHabelow

      Carol, I could not agree more. I don’t believe we are more productive. We might be busier and we might be more stressed because we have too many places that require our attention and action now, but I do not believe we are more productive (i.e., getting the most important things DONE). I am constantly struggling with how to teach these things to my kids who have grown-up with this technology everywhere. Having one on one time with someone when you are 100% present with JUST them is becoming as valuable as gold!

  • Wendy

    This is so true. I’ve read about it before so thanks for the great reminder. I’ve also found that when I multitask, usually things take longer and the end product is less than stellar.

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