If you feel like there is no way for you to focus on your job right now, you aren’t alone. It’s perfectly sensible to feel like you’re unable to focus on pressing through normal, routine tasks when things feel so… abnormal.
A few years ago, Marie Kondo introduced the concept of “tidying up.” Research tells us that cleaning up your physical space produces a clearer mindset that leads to productivity.
The same thing can happen when uncertainty is surrounding us and we’re not sure how to move forward.
In times like this, we must learn how to “declutter” our mental space.
Let me be clear, though: exhibiting emotional intelligence during uncertain and stressful times does not mean ignoring everything that is happening. It means taking an honest inventory of what is happening and sorting or organizing accordingly.
One tool that can be especially helpful in helping you sort your mental and emotional space is the Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
Let’s start with the Circle of Concern. Right now, it is very likely many things are in your circle of concern. These are things you care about but don’t have direct control or influence over. Perhaps you’re concerned about how COVID-19 may impact the physical and financial health of our country or what specific decisions our political leaders may make during this time. Spending time and mental energy focused on things you can’t impact will drain you and keep you feeling stuck.
The Circle of Influence is made up of what you can personally influence and control in your life. It’s very possible that right now you may feel like there is nothing you can influence or control, but that is simply not true. You can choose your attitude, your mindset, the way you respond to what is happening around you, and the way you lead and encourage your team during uncertainty. (Check out this blog for an additional resource.)
Focusing on those things you CAN impact will create a sense of empowerment and will allow you to use your energy wisely to keep moving forward. Ultimately, the more you focus your time and energy on the things inside this circle, the more your influence will grow. Here is a video that explains this idea in more detail.
Don’t just consider these circles. Spend time writing down the things that are occupying your mind and determining what is not and what is within your control. Start each week, perhaps even each day, with this practice.
Over time, you’ll see you have control over more than you thought!
About the Author
Ashley serves as a full potential coach, helping team members connect their strengths with their passions in order to reach their highest personal and professional goals.