How many times have you set out to complete a specific task and something, or someone, distracts you from your goal and, although the new distraction can be fun, intriguing and all consuming in some way it is what it is: a distraction. How many windows do you have on your computer as you are reading this? How many times have you responded to a text within seconds of it’s arrival or a telephone call that did not need your immediate attention? Why?
Our habits, our unconscious response to situations, are why we so often fail to complete the most basic of tasks. We find it hard to say no to the needs of others. Particularly those we have a degree of professional, social or emotional responsibility for. I’m not saying don’t engage or adapt to challenges as they arrive. To do so would be to advocate coldly efficient process over warm humane interactions.
It is our compassion for others that often creates suffering and stress for ourselves. Professor Charles Handy coined the phrase ‘proper selfishness’ as a vital tool to create balance and productivity in our lives and organisations. By this he means that whatever we do there absolutely must be a gain for all parties. Sometimes that gain is material or emotional. At other times it can be an intellectual or spiritual gain.
What I would suggest is to check in with yourself and others regularly, to the right degree and using the right means just to make sure that you are on track and can adapt quickly to the emerging reality.
Every one of the five elements of the Butterfly Model are there as touchstone to truth and common sense. We need to return again and again to these five value creating principles if we are to build organisations, relationships and lives of value.
So, today, make sure that you have time to check that you, others and the world you are part of is benefiting from what you are saying and doing. Take time to complete a task before jumping into the next one. Stop and check in with yourself and others. Breathe.