The Triple-Focus-Rewards

Dread and joyful anticipation.

That sums up my spirit as I picked up the current issue of TIME magazine.

Does anyone still go to TIME for news?

But its current cover story on The Mindful Revolution prompted me to buy my first issue in over a decade.

Dread and anticipation.

I believe in mindfulness. Mindfulness practices have been around since the dawn of time. I mean, really, truly, did we need a cover about the latest neuroplasticity research to be convinced that being mindful works?

Dread and joy were confirmed as I flipped through the pages of TIME. Joy prevailed.

I am interested in an energized workplace. Let us focus on mindfulness at work.

Misunderstanding #1: Mindfulness = meditation. You know, sitting quietly, eyes closed, observing the wanderings of the mind. The TIME cover cliché.

I’m a great believer in meditation. But we don’t need to meditate at work to be mindful.

Misunderstanding #2: Multi-tasking works.

Your boss may consider it a desirable skill. You may, as well. Research, however, consistently shows that multi-tasking dilutes the effectiveness of the tasks we perform.

We confuse motion with achievement, journalist Mike Barnicle said in response to the TIME article.

Spot on.

Instead of our relentless focus on achievement, why not focus on the art of focus?

Mindfulness at work is exemplified by our ability to focus. More specifically, our knack for doing the triple-focus:

Focus 1 – Our Mind

Moment by moment, we stay conscious of our thoughts, and the beliefs and emotions that fuel these thoughts. As we engage with a colleague or a task we perform, we consider the possibility of shifting thoughts that inhibit our ability to be effective.

Focus 2 – Our Task

We give our rapt attention to a task we perform. We choose to immerse ourselves in the challenges and joys of this task. Fully. We refrain from incessant distraction – email-checking, texting, web-surfing, hallway chitchatting.

Focus 3 – Our Surroundings

We stay aware, at all times, of what is happening around us. Unlike the airport-traveling-zombies with heads buried in their smartphones, we remain alert. Alert to people walking past us. Alert to shifts in our environment. The supportive energy of fellow humans.

Our triple focus assures that we get things done. It assures we do so without becoming rigid or myopic. It invites self-correction if that were helpful. It prompts us to stay connected to a larger collective spirit.

Yes, our triple focus celebrates the complexity of each moment. It fosters the possibility of joy.

Be a triple-focuser this week. Reap the triple-focus-rewards.

And have fun as you focus.