How to Achieve the Focus of a Jungle Cat with HIIW

How to Achieve the Focus of a Jungle Cat with HIIW (High Intensity Interval Work)

The physically active among you are probably familiar with the term HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training. For the uninitiated, there is a compelling body of research that supports the concept that several short bursts of ‘as hard as you can take it exercise’, followed by short recover periods at a much lower effort rate, will fast track you to significantly improved fitness levels. Superior results comparative to hours of exercise at lower intensity levels in a fraction of the time!

Poor Business behaviour: Why the inability to focus holds us back.

The inability to fully focus on one task at a time is the business behaviour that really holds us back from achieving significant results every day. Sitting at your desk and being constantly distracted by incoming emails, social media pings and uninvited interruptions is the equivalent of going to gym, checking out the weight lifting equipment but not using it, cycling slow motion on a stationary bike and having chats by the water cooler. Yes, you have been to gym but to what end?

If this sounds familiar there is a simple and highly effective time/task management tool that is easy to use and implement that will take you from just being at your job to becoming a fine tuned work warrior, slaying tasks and conquering your day.

The HIIW (Pomadoro) technique.

Time ManagementA friend and colleague Ulrika Pretorius- Executive and Business Coach of the Birkman Technique, recently pulled out tomato shaped kitchen timer, thereby introducing me to what is known internationally as the Pomadoro (Italian for tomato) technique.

Any timer will do, there are even Pomadoro technique Apps. Mine is a Lady Bird.

How it works: you set the timer for the desired amount of time, during which you apply single, fully focused, intense attention on ONE task.

 You are not allowed to do anything else while the timer is ticking. I mean nothing else! No checking the email that just popped in your inbox, no making coffee, no checking status updates. While the timer is ticking only the task at hand gets your full attention.

Once the timer has stopped you take a well earned short break to clear your mind. When you are ready, reset the timer and repeat.

I use my Lady Bird several times a day moving from high intense work focus followed by a short recover break. I do not use it the entire day, just as I wouldn’t work out at gym all day, but goodness, when I do my productivity takes a leap forward.

Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Start off with short times and gradually build up. Just as you wouldn’t start with the heaviest weights in gym, think of focus has a mental muscle that needs building gradually. Persist consistently and over a relatively short period of time you will have the mental focus of a jungle cat.
  2. Use the timer to complete or take a step towards accomplishing tasks you don’t like or are hard. Trust me; it is the only way my tax returns are being compiled.
  3. Educate the people around you (colleagues, children and friends) when the timer is ticking you are a ‘No Go Zone’.

Short, intermittent periods of high, intensity focus gets job done in minimum time. As Douglas Kruger says in his excellent book –Is Your Thinking keeping you Poor-“You and your goals are not separated by a number of years but by a number of actions”.

 Let’s get Ticking!

Janine Carley-James

Corporate Chameleon– business etiquette and personal style workshop.

  • Friday October 14th 2016
  • Thursday November 10th 2016

Excellent business practice and etiquette can lead to enormous success in life. Your conduct can make or break business deals and determines the quality of all your relationships and level of achievement in life.

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