Moving on and maximising energy
“Needs to work on transitions” was a comment on one of my son’s report cards. He was 7 at the time, I think.
“What does that mean?” I asked the teacher.
“Moving on from doing one thing and being ready to do the next. For example, not getting stuck in a literacy mindset when the class has moved on to maths. Or settling back quicker into classroom mode after playtime.”
Leaving one thing behind and being ready to jump into the next.
Shifting gears quickly doesn’t come easily to me either; I see where he gets it.
This column is a good example as it’s always written the same time every week and normally followed by karate training.
But I’d often spend the first half of the training mulling over what I’d written, coming up with a better turn of phrase and wishing I’d said something else. All too late as my deadline had passed, yet my mind was still in that game, not where I actually was.
It happens on a small scale, just moving between phone calls and e-mails, creative work, conversations. Particularly if I am flitting between them, a bit of this, a bit of that, my head can be all over the place and I struggle to get any one of them fully accomplished.
This is a growing challenge in our world of mobile working with never-ending alerts, instant communication and the ability, desire and pressure to multitask.
But as I learnt recently, if we are not transitioning well, this way of operating may be affecting our performance and also our energy levels, leaving us feeling drained and depleted.
The insight came from an interview with Bredon Burchard, performance coach and author of High Performance Habits — How Extraordinary People Become That Way.
Burchard explained that when we are constantly jumping between tasks that utilise different parts of our brain and psyche, such as admin mode, creativity, chitchat, we are literally “wrecking our measurable creativity and our long-term performance”, as well as losing vital mental energy in the process.
His suggestion to help transition well is to work on one thing at a time and, when you decide to move on to something else, definitively stop working on that, bring it to a close and then use this little technique: sit back, close your eyes and for a minute just gently repeat internally the word ‘release’. The idea being that we are releasing the tension and mindset from that last task, letting it go.
Then before opening your eyes, take a breath and set an intention for the next task.
What do you want to focus on next? How do you want that to be? What skills will you employ? What is your desired outcome?
This gears our minds to move into that new space, fully prepared and ready to work in that way.
And I don’t just mean work. Imagine doing this exercise before you leave the office to head home. Picture leaving the workday behind.
How you would like to be with your loved ones? What difference could that make to your relationships?
Meanwhile, I am personally in the midst of setting my own intentions.
All good things must come to an end and, after almost six years of writing this column, I am transitioning into other arenas.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience and have appreciated all the comments and support from readers.
I am continuing to write and publish, so stay tuned on Facebook: Pardon The Mess — People In Progress.
Release, release, release. As one door closes, other doors open. Wishing you all the best on your individual steps to success.
• Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact her on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com</i>