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…

Recent Article, Self-awareness

Book summary: HBR’s 10 Must Reads – On Managing Yourself

HBR’s 10 Must Reads – ‘On Managing Yourself’ is a collection of articles produced over the last thirty years.  Unlike ‘The Affect Theory Reader‘,  recently reviewed, ‘On Managing Yourself’ is one for the favourites list. Structure and inclusions I enjoy a good self-help book. This is hands down one of the best I’ve read.  It includes articles by academics such as Clayton Christensen, Daniel Goleman, Michael Porter and Peter Drucker. While it perhaps doesn’t have the immediately engaging quality of a book by, say, researcher and story-teller, Brené Brown, On Managing Yourself is still fascinating. Read about managing your energy (not your time); about distractibility and impatience; how to realise moment of greatness, and drive great performance.     At first glance, a few of the articles might appear dated. However, they stand the test of time. Peter Drucker’s article Managing Oneself, originally published in 1999, is a case in point. So many…

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….

Recent Article, Self-awareness

Focus series: Still making apologies for mindfulness at work

We’re still making apologies for mindfulness. Have you attended a team meeting and watched as a leader apologises for attempting a mindfulness exercise? Mindfulness is fast gaining acceptance by individuals, but practice within Australian workplaces is lagging. A mindful practice is still considered something you can do ‘in your own time’—unless you count token flag-waving during mental health week.   We still hesitate to talk about emotions at work, despite the fact that we are emotional beings who can learn much through reflective and mindful practice. Mindfulness surely sits neatly with discussions on compassion, ethical decision-making, and self-management. However, too few organisations promote mindfulness as a real tool to support employee well-being. Or if they do, it’s flavoured with an apology rather than modelled and thoughtfully implemented.   We shouldn’t feel like we need forbearance for promoting a mindful practice. Our workplaces benefit from having team members who are present, aware…

Affect, Recent Article

Book summary – The Affect theory reader

The Affect Theory Reader, released 2010, is edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J.Seigworth. A collection of essays, the volume aims to contribute to the field of affect studies and theories.   I have to admit when I stumbled over this book and added it to my To Be Read list, I was very excited. As someone who is keen to explore where and how affect, productivity, self-awareness and spirituality intersect, this is just the type of book I would expect to explore these four elements and how they mesh. I called out to the book: ‘bring it on!’ Things began well. For instance, I loved this line about ‘in-between-ness’ from the opening paragraph…   Books of this type can usually be relied upon to include vivid essays, which promote deep thought or inspiration. Perhaps time is a factor (The Affect Theory Reader was published seven years ago), but I…

Affect, Recent Article, Self-awareness

Focus series: Once upon an Affect

Once upon a time… April thinks back to the first time she consciously linked emotions to performance—to her ability to focus on the task in front of her. It was senior year; she was sitting down to block exams. First up? The Ancient History final; which is worth a considerable percentage of the final grade. Hold up! Have you ever sat down to slog through a tough problem at work or sit an exam and wondered what the hell you were doing?  Have you ever sat down and thought, god, I’m just not smart enough to do this? A clever person would have figured this out already because smart people know how to concentrate. Smart people focus. Me too. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember being taught how to focus at school, at University, or at work. The expectation was simply that you could.  And would. Hats off…

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,…