Whether we practice it or not, most of us know that it’s important to try to ‘be in the moment.’ In other words, to be present, in real time, ready to act in any contingency.
But, especially in this age of technology, and with all the demands on our time, it seems nearly impossible to always be present with our co-workers.
It’s particularly true when we’re managing the unforeseen fires that ignite as we try to run a high-performing business aviation organization. So how can we balance technology, last-minute demands and our fast-paced lifestyles to live more ‘in the moment’?
If you’re like most aviation professionals, it’s a rarity to not feel torn in 50 different directions at any given time!
For instance, it wouldn’t be uncommon for an aviation director to be interrupted during a conference call because the corporate aircraft in New Delhi has a mechanical problem, and the crew cannot get the chairman to his tightly scheduled meeting in London.
As a result,the director would miss his scheduled leadership team meeting and then leave the office late, having only accomplished one or two tasks on his ever-expanding to-do list!
So how does being in the moment impact your professionalism, performance and relationships with your employees and colleagues? It takes real mental discipline to block out distractions that compete for our attention, and, foremost of us, they’re a constant, spur-of-the-moment occurrence!
But being able to tap into that mental discipline isn’t something that happens in a special place or under unique conditions. As professionals, we must be able to master the mental discipline to keep us in the moment whenever and wherever it’s necessary.
But the question remains, how can we manage our demanding lives and still be in the moment? Following are seven techniques that just might help you get there!
7 Techniques to Be in the Moment
In order to communicate effectively in business meetings or on conference calls, eliminate as many potential distractions as you can. Mute your phone(s), shut off the pop-up email icon that says ‘you’ve got mail’ or –better yet – close your laptop and give your undivided attention to what’s happening.
When you’re with someone in person, watch their body language and interpret the context of what’s being communicated. The only way to ‘pick up’ on subtle body language cues is to be in the moment, and, to do so, you need to stay focused.
2. Make Eye Contact
When meeting with colleagues and/or employees, do you look them in the eye and pay attention to them? Or do you often get distracted, glancing at papers and notes and generally look away?
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who acted in this way? This ill-mannered behavior is a detriment to any exchange, and oozes unprofessionalism.
In fact, it can be viewed as downright rude! Looking someone in the eye is a key if you want to be in the moment. If you aren’t paying attention to the individual you’re interacting with, it’s truly a disservice to your colleague and to yourself.
3. Stay on Point
Staying ‘on point’ is harder than it might seem. In many conversations,the focus or direction can become completely lost. We see it all the time; pleasantries can lead to side conversations and small talk that take us on a winding path away from the point of the discussion. If the conversation is headed elsewhere,the speaker may find it difficult to bring it back around to the subject matter.
Choosing a singular, dedicated topic for a meeting will keep you focused, thus minimizing the time required to address the issue. A fine balance exists between giving the speaker the freedom to lead the discussion in his or her own way, and remaining focused on the topic. Our ability to keep the conversation on point will keep the conversation focused on the task at hand.
There’s an art to helping the speaker reconnect with the original topic thread. You must learn how to gently and politely bring the conversation back to its original intent. A simple suggestion or reminder can often serve as a helpful transition back to the point, and back on track.
4. Take a Few Notes
I don’t know about you, but I have some challenges these days with remembering everything in my workday! During conversation or throughout the day, jotting down a few notes about the core issue(s), action items and follow-up topics will help. A few days down the road when you question what it is that you need to follow-up on; your notes will be there to save time and improve clarity moving forward.
5. Increase Efficiency
Let’s face it—we all would like more time in our schedules!Some of us might believe that focusing on a task minimizes time efficiency. After all, haven’t we been told that multi-tasking is the way to get things done? Oh contraire!
Focusing maximizes our time efficiency. Tasks that might have taken an hour to complete can be accomplished in less time by staying focused, on point and getting the task at hand completely done—right now!
6. Create Accountability
If you make a practice of always following up in a timely manner on action items, project statuses and personal tasks, do you think you might be perceived as a professional and responsible leader? You bet you will! Being accountable for your part of any job or project will earn you a lot of respect and, in the process, will help keep you and everyone else on track and increase the overall team responsiveness. Put the things that you’re responsible to do in an Excel document, or schedule calendar reminders to help you create accountability for yourself and others.
7. Accelerate the Operational Pace
Want to do more in less time without sacrificing quality? By combining all the aforementioned points to stay ‘in the moment,’ you can effectively push up the operational pace you or others might have set for a particular task.
You’ll begin to see meeting times shortening and, in addition, you’ll experience more clarity in follow-up discussions with colleagues and employees – discussions that can often get bogged down in unnecessary details. It will be clear what actions need to occur and how you can keep the pace moving ever so successfully forward.
We’re all adults and professionals, so let’s be candid: if you want to soar to new heights of professionalism and deliver more value to your business aviation organization, enrich your interactions with colleagues and employees. Offer them your complete, undivided attention without interruption!
Your behavior will say to each each person you interact with: You are important to me.
Your presence will reap untold benefits for you and your business, trickling into your colleagues’ and employees’ behavior to create opportunities for open and honest communication. Talk about powerful. This could be the start of a well-integrated team, and a solid approach to advancing your business!
What it boils down to is maximizing the return on the time you invest in every single area of your focus. When interacting with your colleagues, commit100 percent of your focal energy to them, and then note the change in the quality of your interactions.
Next, watch how that positively impacts your entire operation. And remember, time is your only non-renewable resource. So make the most of it!
Have you found that being in the moment is virtually impossible? Or do you implement practices to help you stay focused in meetings or on tasks? We welcome your shared experiences and insights in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!