Productivity, Recent Article, Self-awareness

Focus series: Mindfulness challenges

Mindfulness is trickier than we might think. It’s more than concentrating. It’s more than simply ‘being present’. Mindfulness is about engaging your whole being in the moment—your attention, your physical and emotional bodies; your psychic energy. We become so invested in the moment; we lose conscious awareness of the need to invest. We let should, would and could fall away, and simply do. You can imagine the benefits… Why then aren’t we mindful all the time? What holds us back? Why is it easier said than done? Challenges at work We spend so much time at work. It can be the joy or bane of our lives—sometimes all at the same time. 🙂 For most of us, it would seem to be the perfect time to act mindfully. So why is mindfulness still approached with some scepticism in the workplace? Following are a few observations: ‘Should‘ takes prime position How…

Affect, Productivity, Recent Article, Self-awareness

Focus series: focus is a Process

The ability to focus is about to become more important than ever. The world is changing. Within ten years, thanks to new technologies, jobs, livelihoods, and the way we engage with the world will be unlike anything we know now. As will the skills needed to negotiate it. In a 2015 report on Australia’s future workforce prepared by CEDA (Committee for Economic Development in Australia) found that 5 million jobs that exist now will be gone in 10 years—most losses due to automation.  And to think, we’re already two years down the track.   To remain valuable in our economy … you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things.    ~ Cal Newport, Author of Deep Work   You’ve heard the words before … ‘Get on with it! Concentrate.’ The core problem is many of us don’t know how. We weren’t taught the how. It was just assumed…

Productivity, Recent Article

Sleep better. Back to sleep helpers to aid productivity.

It’s no surprise that lack of sufficient sleep is a productivity killer. Lack of sleep affects our thinking, recall, the ability to focus, visual sensitivity, reaction times, and mood. At an organisational level, it impacts unplanned leave, can result in suboptimal or poor behaviour in individuals and teams, which ultimately impacts workplace culture. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, approximately 1 in 3 people in Australia suffer from at least mild insomnia. It bears repeating … 1 IN 3 people. Whether you’re seeking to manage your personal productivity or a leader in an organisation, this is HUGE. Your subconscious Insomnia can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes worry keeps us awake. Sometimes worrying about not sleeping keeps us awake. Other times our subconscious sidles in, keeping us hung from the rafters in a noose of wakefulness. Your subconscious is trying to work through complexity—things you’re not yet even aware of….

Productivity, Recent Article, Spiritual

GTD contexts: aligned to purpose

David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is used by productivity nerds, and others, world wide. There’s a reason. It’s clean, clear, and practical. In short, GTD makes managing the stuff of life easier. Contexts are an important part of making the system work.  In the five years I’ve been using GTD to get things done, I’ve learned a lot.  Contexts help you group tasks together, either by location, like thinking or agendas—tasks associated with a particular individual or group. Contexts make moving between tasks easier. They are oil for the GTD machine. At first, I used contexts as suggested in Mr Allen’s book, with a few small tweaks to suit my lifestyle and work habits. Later, I included a couple of energy based contexts. For example, I included ‘full focus’ for those tasks which required concentration, and ‘dash’ for a task which would take ten minutes or less. I have to admit,…

Productivity, Purpose, Recent Article

What I’ve learned about Getting Things Done (GTD)

Recently I realised it’s been five years since I started using David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD for short) methodology. Then… I started looking for help with managing all the stuff of life when I was contemplating going back to Uni to do a Masters. As it happens, it would be almost another two years before I started uni because—you guessed it—the ‘stuff’ of life got in the way. Actually, at the time that stuff was pretty serious. To-Do lists just weren’t cutting it anymore, and I needed help. Thanks to Mr Google, I stumbled upon Getting Things Done. Liking what I heard, I downloaded the book (and then downloaded it again as an audio book in 2015). Let me say right now, thank you Mr Google and thank you, Mr Allen.      [*No relation BTW 🙂] I’d started slow, applying GTD to just one aspect of my life. When I…

Productivity, Self-awareness

Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Book Summary

Finding Flow, The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life is one of those books that you mark up with stickies and tags. A few weeks ago I found myself coming back to read it again. I’m glad I did. This is one good book! Named by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, ‘flow’ is that state when you’re ‘in the zone’. When a person is in flow, they are completely engaged in an activity; absorbed, energised, without feeling self-conscious. In flow, a person is likely to lose time—or rather, time because distorted and an hour can feel like a moment. Have you experienced flow? When? How? The book expands on previous work in as much as it provides an insight into daily activities and explains how you and I can find flow in everyday tasks; how happiness isn’t enough for a ‘good life’. Flow is the key. Csikszentmihalyi makes the point that while we (generally)…

Creativity, Productivity, Self-awareness

Mind Mapping. Time to get creative.

Not too long ago I wanted to revisit my goals and the guiding principles that help me orientate my way through life as was reminded of the benefits of mind mapping.   Mind mapping gets things out of your head and in front of you, where you can see them. Mind mapping is a great way to get ideas out of your head an onto a page. Not only that, it’s quick and easy to learn and to do. Start with whatever idea is holding your attention and throw it down on a page, onto a whiteboard or into a mind mapping software tool. As you focus on that first idea, your mind will automatically generate other ideas linked to it. Write down whatever springs to mind. Don’t judge (you can do that later) just write. And write more. Get creative. Keep going until everything is out of your head…

Productivity, Purpose

On Purpose. Staying focused.

Not too long ago Melissa (we’ll call her Melissa) asked me about living my purpose. ‘You do all this stuff. Honestly, I don’t know how you get it all done.’ I don’t think I do anything more than anyone else. I work, I have a wonderful family whom I love, and I pursue my interests. We weren’t dissimilar. We’re about the same age. Melissa has a family and worked a full-time job. She runs around on weekends getting the kids to sport and doing chores she finds no time for during the work week. “Think about your life,” I said. “When you were seventeen, you were very clear about what you wanted to ‘do’. You’d chosen your path.” “Yeah,” she said. “Got off track somewhere along the line.” “Did you?” I asked. I remembered her wanting connection; wanting a family. She agreed. Family was—still is!—vitally important to her. “The challenge is staying focused….