Posted 22 October 2009 by Chris Farmer
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Time wasters: The Butterfly mind
Last week, during the Effective leader manager course, in Birmingham, we discussed this important time management question:
"What personal habits do YOU have, that causes you to waste your OWN time?"
One delegate, Toni answered:
"I have a "butterfly mind". I keep losing my mental focus. My mind wanders off what I supposed to be doing.
What can I do about it, Chris?"
"Let us look at the facts....
Losing your mental focus can mean one of two things two things:
- The "Day dreaming problem"
- The "Multi track mind problem"
1. The day dreaming problem
This means that you cannot keep your mind switched on.
You go into a daydream about unrelated issues.
For example; you should be thinking about your work, but you are thinking about your family problems again.
This is common.
2. Multi track mind problem
This is common too.
You begin thinking of one work issue and start work on that first thing.
But that task reminds you of a second similar task, which then makes you remember a third task; then that spills over into fourth task... and so on.
Before you know it, you have six things on your desk-top simultaneously, and you are making practically no progress on any of them.
If this seems familiar, do not worry. There is a solution.
The solution to both problems is the same.
There is a simple six-step solution to both forms of the Butterfly mind problem.
Here it is:
Decide to make controlling your mental focus a definite issue to get to grips with.
List all the benefits you will see IF you gain control over your own mind.
Make a "to do list" and work out the six most valuable tasks that you could do today, (whether you enjoy doing them or not).
Put the six tasks into priority order one through to six.
Take a single sheet of paper and write in GIANT letters the name of "job number one" and pin the paper where you MUST see it continually as you work.
Get to work on "job number one".
Within fifteen minutes you may realise that you have "Job number one" written on the paper in front of you, but
- you are now doing something UN-related or
- you are now thinking of your family problems again.
Kick yourself in the rear, if possible, and get back to "job number one" until you have pushed it as far as you can.
When you have pushed "job number one" as far as you can, throw the first sheet of paper into the nearest bin, take a fresh sheet of paper and write upon it:
"JOB NUMBER TWO".
Keep on - keeping on, until you tire, and then stop.
Visit the Corporate Coach Group website for more information about our Time Management Training Course