We don’t need to tell you how vital energy is to the well-being and success of your organization. Energy is that hard-to-define feeling that grants any given individual the motivation and willingness to push forward with passion and a drive to succeed, and is key to our long-term sustainability, both as individuals as well as a collective unit of workers and professional colleagues.
With boundless energy, we show excitement for our work and it feels like the sky’s the limit when it comes to what we can achieve. While we can get work done without energy, that work is often pulled out of us rather than being given willingly, which leaves us feeling demotivated and–over time–leads to burnout, mental anguish, and organizational distress. So how can your organization keep your team energized and working together happily and passionately?
Tackle one task at a time
One of the biggest cognitive deceptions humans have is our ongoing belief that we can multitask successfully. Countless people claim to be fantastic multitaskers that benefit from working on multiple tasks simultaneously, but plenty of research shows that our brains are just not wired for that–splitting our focus makes us less productive at each individual task, while the mental cost of switching between tasks repeatedly while multitasking drains our energy levels.
That’s why it’s so important to really Be There for our highest-priority task at any given time. Being There means not just showing up for work and for your team, but showing up with your energy and focus directed entirely towards the task at hand. Working with the intent of accomplishing as much as you’re able on one task before moving on to the next–rather than switching back and forth endlessly–will not only save you mental stress, but reinforces the neural pathways that allow you to focus in the first place.
Make space for play
We know, we know… you’re here for advice on focusing, and being told to stop what you’re doing and Play likely seems totally counterintuitive. We get it! But have you ever done your best work and maintained total focus after a full 8 hours of non-stop work? We don’t know your life, but if we had to take a guess? Almost certainly not.
Mental and physical breaks from work at regular intervals–such as playing a game, taking a walk, or having a non-work-related conversation–give your brain and your body the rest they need to return to work with a renewed focus. Taking 5 minutes out of every hour to disconnect from work tasks and really enjoy yourself is a fantastic way to ensure that the rest of that hour is spent attacking the task at hand as your best, brightest, most-refreshed self, which can set you up for a successful work day.
Remember: focus is a team effort
While we’ve been focusing mostly on what you can do to maintain your own focus, it’s important to remember that every aspect of a successful workplace is influenced by having a supportive team that all help and uplift each other. Try as we might, motivation can’t only come from internal stimulus–the people and environment around us have a huge effect on how well we can work and focus.
That’s why it’s so important to engage with your team and your coworkers and Make Their Day. Whether that’s a workplace treat they can enjoy during their aforementioned playtime or even just simple words of affirmation that they’re doing a great job and to keep going, little moments of support and acts of kindness go a long way to motivating people when they need to just sit down and get the hard work done. And if you do it for them, they’re more likely to return the favor when you need your own motivational boost to stay focused!
Focus on your mood, not just your work
It’s easy to think of focus as entirely dependent on whether or not we like the work we’re doing. We tend to turn it into a binary, where it’s easy to focus on work we enjoy, and hard to focus on work we’re dreading. But like most things in life, it’s more complicated than that! If we’re in a bad mood–maybe we’re annoyed at a coworker for missing a deadline, anxious about our kids at home, or even angry at ourselves for not focusing better–that can deeply affect our ability to focus.
So rather than just trying to brute-force focus on our work, it can be helpful to turn our focus inward once in a while and check in with how we’re feeling. If we can identify emotions that may be keeping us from being fully present and take a few minutes to tend to them in a way that helps keep them out of the forefront of our mind, we can return to work with a renewed focus and fewer mental distractions.
Ideas to Reflect On:
- What takes you out of “the zone” when you’re trying to focus? External stimuli (conversations, phone calls, text notifications, etc)? Physical stress? Internal emotions and distractions? What can we do to minimize their impact?
- Are you taking regular breaks during the work day to relax, clear your mind, and refocus your energy? If not, can you set an alarm or calendar alert to help you remember?
- Does your team help each other maintain focus? How can we all make each others’ days in a way that ensures everyone is doing their best, most focused work?
Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!
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