Crack that and you’ve cracked 90% of your work stress, says Uevolve career coach Lucinda Harlow
I don’t have to explain plate-spinning, right? We’re all under pressure to keep so many in the air – the career, the kids’ homework, the holiday arrangements and oh dear God it’s almost Christmas…
The answer is to run faster and faster around every obligation, giving everyone a tiny slice of your attention before haring on to the next one, right?
Wrong. So, so, wrong, as I tell my clients every day.
Not wobbling but drowning…
At the heart of our manic spinning, juggling – whatever we’re used to calling this stress overload – is the idea that those who spin/juggle more, achieve more. We tend to feel inadequate around them. We have shedloads to do too, but feel a bit swamped.
Ask yourself this:
aren’t they, really, just buzzing about like the legendary blue-arsed fly?
Pardon my French, but isn’t that closer to the truth? Whizzing about looks super-busy and important but does anything ever get finished and finished well?
So to the Big Secret.
Stop spinning and apply some focus, some proper attention.
Attention is our personal gatekeeper. It controls what we see and what we screen. I use my psychological training to help clients who need to understand how their brain works.
To pay attention it’s not enough to see what’s in front of us, we have to read it effectively.
When we multi-skill (juggle, spin…) we divide our attention and that can only lower our performance. Though we are very busy, our speed and accuracy are affected. Research proves that plate-spinners strain both their attention and their memory.
Spinning: the solution
Take one plate at a time. Sounds simple but takes practice. Try applying selective attention – focus on specific information when you are completing a specific task. Don’t let your attention be hijacked by the other musts on your ‘To Do’ list. Then you get to put those plates away before more are thrown your way…