Organize Your Mind, Boost Your Job Performance
An Organized Mind Means Greater Effectiveness on the Job: Tips from Coach Meg
For many years, “multitasking” – being able to juggle a variety of tasks and activities simultaneously – has been an attribute that has been sought out in potential employees and valued in office settings and on resumes. But is multitasking really an effective way to get things done?
Trying to focus on too many things leaves us prone to mistakes and sloppy, unfinished thinking; we retain information poorly as well. On the contrary, when we focus on just one task or conversation at a time, “our brains operate at their full potential to be organized, creative, connected, and productive.” Studies now show that the brain accomplishes tasks more quickly, efficiently, and with better quality work when focused is applied to just one thing at a time.
Margaret Moore, better known as “Coach Meg,” is the CEO of Wellcoaches, a school of coaching for health professionals, as well as Co-Director for the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. She is the co-author of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to get More Done in Less Time. According to Coach Meg, the secret to better organization, increased productivity, and less stress lies in first changing the activity and focus of our minds. She provides several useful tips on how to slow down, focus, and improve both job performance and relationships.
It is very clear how improved mental functioning can dramatically improve one’s performance on the job. Distraction and lack of focus causes brain drain and depletion, which is detrimental to the therapist or caseworker-patient relationship. “A distracted, tired, and frenzied mind is lousy at connecting with patients quickly, warmly, and meaningfully.” Whereas an organized, focused state of mind leads to resilience, creativity, and improved performance.
Coach Meg gave Amramp some specific tips and exercises that you can use to stop the noise and re-focus:
- Take a few deep breaths to mark the stop of one task and start of the next; remind your brain of the heartfelt intention of the next task.
- When frenzied, name the emotion you are feeling; this will allow the thinking brain to acknowledge it and let it go.
- The brain can’t hold a positive and negative thought simultaneously, so when a negative one creates frenzy, shift attention to something pleasant, like a loved one or favorite vacation spot
- Schedule one-task-only focus periods throughout the day.
- Take brain breaks of 2 to 20 minutes – enough to recharge your brain.
- Don’t check email/texts before starting an important task in case something worrying arrives and impairs your focus because you don’t have time to think it through
- Create a morning ritual to prepare your brain for the day: exercise, meditation, enjoying a cup of coffee and allowing your mind to wander, puttering tasks, or some combo of these.
If you want to help your patients improve their mental focus, too, the best place to start is always to be an example – in this case, of an organized mind. But “suggesting that a better use of the brain would reduce stress and improve performance and health is a great idea” too, says Coach Meg.