What do you do when you finish a meeting? What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? How soon do you turn on your device?
I often wonder how much more effective, focused and calm we would be if we paid attention, made choices from a place of clarity and prioritised our tasks, habits and practices more effectively.
Based on my coaching with 1000’s of leaders globally, I have realised that transitions are underestimated and poorly utilised. I’m not just talking about big transitions like changing roles/careers, buying a new house, the birth of a child or going through a divorce. I’m talking about micro transitions between meetings, tasks, the many things we do in a day. Our tendency is to rush, to push and try fit in as much as we can with the result that we are often overwhelmed, frustrated, blunt in execution and ineffective in how we spend our time and energy.
We underestimate the small and ever-present opportunities to recalibrate, recharge and refocus. These micro transitions offer us an edge, the ability to get back in the zone and be impactful. In the same way that the top professional tennis players (and many other sports stars) are able to use micro transitions to get back in a point, a game or a set through their habits and mindset practices, we to can build micro habits into our day to become more attentive, impactful and effective. If we see it working in sport, why not use the same principles in work and every day life.
Here are a few practical ways to optimise micro transitions-you can choose one and track it over a week, notice the impact then add another as you build these habits to become more effective:
· Walk slowly between meetings, greeting people, observing your breath and choosing to be present. Honestly, how much can we really get done in 2-3 minutes on our devices, while walking, downstairs, not looking where we are going!
· Take a few deep breaths while in a meeting to clear your mind and refocus your attention rather than staring at your laptop, while trying to appear like you are paying attention
· Take a 3-5-minute walking break between tasks and get a glass of water rather than starting on the next task
· Between calls, take 30-60 seconds to breath deeply into your stomach watching the rising and falling of your stomach and/or push your chair away from your desk to get some perspective by staring out the window doing nothing in particular
· Work on one task at a time as our brain actually doesn’t multitask well at all. Yes – even women can’t actually multitask as the brain is only wired to do one thing properly at a time
· Have lunch away from your desk (with a colleague or two)
· Use the stairs rather than the elevator
· When you stop at a traffic light place your hand on your stomach and notice the rise and fall of your stomach. You can then use traffic lights as anchors for breathing and paying attention
· At the start of your day take 3-5 minutes to focus your mind on your intentions, top 3 priorities and who you can appreciate in your life/team/family
· At the end of your day take 3-5 minutes to reflect on what went well, what you are grateful for and what you learnt
In this way, you can operate differently in micro transitions and ensure that you consciously chose where to focus your attention, decide what you want to do next and how you want to think/feel while doing it.
Ultimately the more effective we become in our micro transitions, the more we will optimise our energy, focus and impact, thus becoming better leaders for ourselves and others.
It’s time to build your micro transition superpowers and be the super hero you have secretly always wanted to be😊