Scott Stein (pictured below) is a leadership and productivity specialist and author of Leadership Hacks: Clever shortcuts to boost your impact and results. In this guest post, Stein looks at the bad habits we all need to ditch to get our lives motoring once again…
Do you ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day to finish everything that needs to be done? You’re always running late from commitment to commitment with no time to catch your breath? Or maybe it’s your friend looking at you in frustration because you were checking emails on your mobile phone – again?
Everywhere you look the hectic pace of life has gone into warp speed and many of us are looking for ways to get back on track. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 trends impacting work and home—and strategies you can use to stay on track.
- Digital overload – we can’t keep up
The internet was supposed to make our life easier—but now if constantly invades our lives. Email messages, Facebook posts and a relentless stream of digital communication bombards us 24/7. It is becoming more and more challenging to keep up with all the information because of the speed it is coming at us.
We need to start taking control of our digital devices—rather than them controlling us. Stop yourself from checking the next email every 15 minutes. Create a game that fines anyone that checks their mobile phone whist eating a meal together. And if you have kids, turn off the devices and play a board game that gets everyone involved together.
- Distraction management – lack of focus
The constant barrage of numerous activities, options and choices grabs our attention making it tougher to focus on what matters. n his book, Focus, Daniel Goleman calls this the era of unstoppable distractions and argues we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to contend with, let alone thrive in a complex world.
So what should we do about it? We need to start focusing and prioritising the things that are important to us—and start putting time and effort into them. Start by writing down the things that are important. Then make time in your schedule to do these things. Also make an effort to eliminate other options that come up that can distract you.
- The busy syndrome – gotta be busy
Our society has become so highly strung that we need to be constantly occupied. And worse yet, it does not matter what it is we are doing – as long as we are busy doing it!
Sometimes we need to take the time to stop and take a break. Look for ways to grab a short break, go to a movie, read a book, or walk on the beach. Life should be less complicated and allow you to catch your breath, without feeling like you are constantly running from one thing to the next.
- Lack of awareness
As humans we fall into unconscious patterns of behaviour. Sometimes we move through our day on mental autopilot, just going through the motions without really noticing the world (or people) around us.
We need to start looking around us and take the time to start making some conscious choices about the type of life we want to live. We need to look up from work and take a look around and remember why we are working. When you spending time with your loved ones and family be fully present and look for ways to laugh and enjoy the time together.
- Increase in fear and anxiety
Everywhere we look the news and headlines are constantly filled with negative themes and stories: natural disasters, riots, murders, and crime constantly barrage our minds. This can easily put fear and anxiety at the forefront of our thinking.
Starting paying attention to the news and stories that you listen to. Look for the positive things that are happening. Ten-year-old Jack Berne from St John the Baptist Primary School in Freshwater heard about how the drought was financially and emotionally crippling farmers across NSW. He started the Fiver for a Farmer initiative to encourage people to donate $5 to help make a difference to others. In the first five weeks, he has raised over $1million to help these families and helping ease some of their anxiety. We need to also share more positive stories (tell others about Jack!)
If you can take a few moments to focus on what is important you can get back on path. More importantly, your family and friends will thank you.