Grant Leboff: One of the challenges, I think, for any business leader is... there are hundreds of things going on in any one day, in any given week. Obviously, being able to focus when you were at a meeting or when you're with a member of staff, or whatever it is. So what are the techniques a chief executive can use to make sure they stay focused in any one time on the task in hand, as it were?
Nicci Roscoe: Well one of the areas that I love to talk about, when we talk about being focused, is that we can have so many things going on in our head, all in one go. Our business leaders, they've got they've got so many different areas that they're dealing with and things coming at them from all different angles that it's, literally, like having spaghetti in our heads. It's like wow! what do I do with this spaghetti? I remember working with a group of business leaders and I said to one of them - he was a lawyer - he said to me, Nikki it's great that we're talking and we're meant to be focusing on certain areas, but when we have so many things going on, and the phones buzzing because people want me and I'm being pulled in all different directions, and I'm getting e-mails, what are we supposed to do?
I said first of all turn the phone off! First thing to do, whenever you're in a meeting, turn that phone off, because then you won't be able to focus on anything that's going on. If you're giving a talk, whatever it is you're doing turn it off. Then, how can I then get rid of all these things that are going on my head? What can I do to get rid of the spaghetti? So just for a moment, I'd just love you to imagine that you have different boxes. You know if you're moving, and everything goes into a different box and then you label it, when you're moving, and it all goes into the centre of the room, then the removal van arrives and it's in the middle of what am I going to do with this so now? Every box is labeled, so you to take that box and you place it in different areas of the room.
Now what I'd like to do, and what I help business leaders do, is label the different things that they've got going on in their head and imagine that they are their moving boxes. Put them around the outside of their head, rather than have them in their mind being all fuzzy, like that spaghetti. Use those boxes with labels to shut them and close them down. And when you're ready - just like when you're moving and you don't want to have to open everything all in one go - only open the one box that you need to attend to at that moment. So you don't have your phone on. You don't have your p.a., or your secretary, or anyone running in and out saying they want you to do things, you make sure this is my time, I don't want the phone ringing either. This is it. I'm here. I'm in the boardroom or I've got a meeting and I'm focusing on this meeting. And you put everything in those boxes, you label them and you allow yourself just to focus, and listen, to who you are talking to.
Grant Leboff: Can that technique work? You talked about not having the PA running in but sometimes, in business, you are sitting in an office and people are coming in and out and all of those other things, but can that box technique work anyway, just to maintain focus and make sure that, at anyone time, the task in hand is the one that's occupying...
Nicci Roscoe: There's another little technique that I always use and obviously you're not going to have anybody in business doing this, but you're putting your hand on your chest and you can practice this when you're away from everybody. You put your hand on your chest and you say I'm taking care of me and my focus is over there. I'm taking care of me and my focus is over there. The more you repeat this and practice this, you know that that is where your focus is. So as soon as the secretary of the P.A. comes in and interrupts you, you're then able to then go straight back on to your focus. The other thing that you can do is imagine a red traffic light. What happens at red traffic light? We stop. So you see that red traffic light and stop and then, when you're ready to carry on, green light comes in on this go. Right I'm going to carry on, I'm going to focus, everything's away in the boxes. Secretary, P.A. gone out. If it was an emergency - we all have emergencies, something may happen - we have to factor that in, but how are we then going to get back the focus? Get those boxes shut up again, get back into your own focus and just stay on track with that.
Grant Leboff: So in many ways it's kind of a nice time management technique.
Nicci Roscoe: Very much so. Yeah. So you can see where you're going and what you want to do. You draw the line and this is where I am, I'm on that line. I'm actually not coming off the path. I'm not going anywhere else. This is where I'm staying for now. And then in one hour's time or 30 minutes time, whatever it may, be may even be 10 minutes or 15 minutes, then I'll turn my attention to something else. But right now my attention is only on this.
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