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Thought Leadership Series by the Professor: Being Present

By: John Regan

In today's world, we are all in a constant state of juggling priorities, people, and time. We believe we have all become master multitaskers, being able to simultaneously give a portion of our attention to the current meeting we’re in, a portion to the next item on our to-do list, as well as a portion to the outside distractions of life.

Science tells us that it can take us from 23 to 27 minutes to get our focus back from an interruption according to The New York Times and other publications. These interruptions can take place in many forms, such as a digital notification or a loud meeting space.

In a world full of distractions, being fully present and focused during your daily interactions is one of the most valuable habits we can create.

So how do we get focus back? I have a few very simple guidelines that we can all implement.

  • Turn off unnecessary notifications on your apps – we all have important reminders throughout the day but being able to limit the amount of times you’re tempted to reach for your phone or glance at your smartwatch can have a significantly positive impact on productivity and focus.

  • Block time on your calendar for high level thinking and strategic activities. If you set an appointment with yourself, write it down, and have an agenda, you’ll be able to get into the flow more quickly.

  • Find your offsite focus location. This could be an unused corner conference room, a local coffee house, or the lobby of a hotel. Getting away from the interruptions of the open office allows you to focus and execute on your priorities.

  • Practice mindfulness of some kind. Choose your app, podcast, or practice. There are many options available to guide you through getting your mind re-trained to focus in the present and to defend against the background noise of distractions. A daily mindfulness practice will help you to make your focus razor sharp.

Here’s to becoming focus masters and driving our business results beyond the distractions!

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