Vigilance And Attention
Gordon Wainwright is an independent management training consultant. He has written several books on management communication skills, including 'Read Faster, Recall More' (also published by How To Books) and runs courses for a wide range of organisations, including multinationals and government departments.
It is very easy when you are learning and developing new techniques to take your eye off the ball, as it were. You need to guard against this. In particular, you should be watching for any tendency on your part to procrastinate or to take the view, ‘Why leave until tomorrow what I can safely leave until the day after?’ You should also be looking for any backsliding into old headless-chicken habits.
No one can do this for you. You have to maintain your focus on your ultimate objectives and not be distracted from them. Your attentiveness to carrying out all the guidance and advice you are given in this book will determine how successful you have been in transforming yourself into a laidback bear who copes with everything without strain or stress or panic.
Maintaining effectiveness and efficiency are easier if you are alert to the possibilities of things going wrong and if your attention is given fully to the task in hand.
Other ways of maintaining good levels of concentration, and therefore of performance, are:
- 1.Spend a little more time on obtaining feedback, but bear in mind what you have already learned about this.
- 2.Increase the flow rate slightly, just enough to put a little extra pressure on yourself, but not so much as to make the cure worse than the disease.
- 3.Stick more closely to deadlines.
- 4.Pay more attention to anticipatory scanning techniques.
- 5.Make sure you are concentrating on the key features of every situation.
- 6.Take more frequent rest periods, even if they are of shorter duration than normal, as these will help to keep you refreshed and alert.
- 7.Always remember the value of imaginative and intuitive responses and the fact that these can occur when you least expect them, perhaps when you are just dropping off to sleep and are really relaxed and stress-free.
- 8.Seek out the times and places where you know from experience you can maintain good levels of concentration. For many people these are places like libraries, and early mornings or late evenings.
- 9.Pay attention to the next chapter, which is about speeding up and slowing down appropriately.
- 10.Check that you have enough of the right kind of activities in your reserve bank.
- 11.Review your flexible performance strategies.
- 12.Always analyse your performance critically along the lines set out in Part 1, Chapter 12.