There are two kinds of thinking: tactical and big picture. Tony explains the two types of thinking while touching on the areas of the brain. You have to train your brain to move quickly between one type of thinking and the other.
- As with all sources of energy, we get better at managing them through practice. So, how do you actually train your brain to be more absorbed as opposed to succumb to distraction? How do you train specifically tactical or narrow attention versus big-picture attention? The key to training attention is building into your day periods during which you are 100% absorbed, or at least making the effort to be 100% absorbed without distraction.
And the key to that is designating a start time and a stop time. The anxiety of thinking that you have to be fully absorbed indefinitely will overwhelm your ability to do that very quickly. So, one of the most important strategies that we have given to people, and it's one I've had in my own life as a ritual for over 15 years, is to do the most important thing first in the morning for a designated period of time no longer than the 90 minutes that we're capable of paying attention in an absorbed way.
That's our limit as a regular dose, and then taking a rest. There is enormous power in being able to gain control over your attention, and we've known this for thousands of years, and this is what meditation at its most basic level is all about. Particularly concentration meditation where the goal is simply to focus on one thing at a time. That's actually the definition of meditation, the ability to focus on one thing at a time.
So, one of the really good ways to train your attention is to build a little meditative practice, or to build an attention control practice if that makes your more comfortable. And one of the things we've discovered is success comes best from biting off just a little bit at the start, because the mind we know has a mind of its own. What we know from the research is that in 60 seconds it is possible to completely clear the blood stream of cortisol, which is the most insidious of the stress hormones that tends to get aroused over the course of a day.
This is the issue that people bring to us as the most problematic in their lives over, and over, and over again. Big picture attention is not just the ability to step back from what you're doing and look at it in a broader way, it's also introducing originality. When I'm thinking about a new problem, I just open a notebook and I let myself write freely.
And I don't try to order it, and I don't try to sensor it, and I will write as long as it takes to discover, to get to something new. But again, the critical element of training attention is that you take a task and you do it repetitively for a defined period of time, and you will get better at it.
In this course, thought leader Tony Schwartz shares his tested and unique framework for fueling productivity through energy management. He explains how to tap into your potential by regularly renewing your four core energy needs: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. By learning how to more skillfully manage each dimension of energy, you can bolster your own productivity, and enhance your success as a manager by tapping into the true potential of your employees.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Learning about energy management
- Managing your physical energy to improve work performance
- Avoiding the survival zone emotionally
- Taking more control of your attention
- Finding a balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself