Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Little Steps for Meetings

In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes about Little Steps for Little Feet. You can use this technique in meetings to beat the boredom, defeat the distraction, and increase your ability to concentrate.

Meeting Example
Burns writes about how to apply Little Steps for Little Feet to meetings:

"Suppose your job involves attending lots of meetings, but you find it difficult to concentrate due to anxiety, depression, or daydreaming. You can’t concentrate effectively because you think, “I don’t understand this as I should. Gosh this is boring. I’d really prefer to be making love or fishing right now.”

Here’s how you can beat the boredom, defeat the distraction, and increase your ability to concentrate: Break the task down into its smallest component parts! For example, decide to listen for only three minutes, and then take a one-minute break to daydream intensely. At the end of this mental vacation, listen for another three minutes, and do not entertain any distracting thoughts for this brief period. Then give yourself another one-minute break to daydream.

This technique will enable you to maintain a more effective level of overall concentration. Giving yourself permission to dwell on distracting thoughts for short-periods will diminish their power over you. After a while, they will seem ludicrous. "

My Key Takeaways
I like the idea of using timeboxed breaks to sustain focus and concentration. I use timeboxing all the time for results, but I haven't tried deliberately interspersing day dreams in my meetings for better results!

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