Do you use your cell phone as an alarm clock? I used to. This was my morning routine for years: Cell phone alarm goes off, I turn it off, and immediately start looking at emails, text messages, calendar items, to-do lists, social media posts, and a million other alerts. My heart rate increases, stress levels spike, and I start worrying about all the things I have to do. I jump in the shower, eat breakfast (sometimes), and rush to get in front of my laptop. Then, off to the races — a hamster on that “electronic wheel” — spinning, running, working. Going nowhere. Getting nothing accomplished. Panic sets in…
A recent study showed that we look at our smartphones, on average, 150 distracting times per day. Some look at their phone a whopping 1000 or more times per day. 60% of adults with a smartphone are connected to work 14.5 hours per day — texting, emailing, messaging, exchanging voice mail, using other specialized work apps. That is a 72-hour work week. At least. This leads to very little presence. And completely distracted, ineffective leadership.
So how do we beat back this losing battle of e-Distractions? How do we gain the clarity and calm awareness we need to make the right decision and be a focussed and effective leader? The practice of Mushin (pronounced “moo-sheen”) shows us how. Mushin is a Japanese word that means “no mind”. It is a concept that evolved hundreds of years ago on the feudal battlefields of Japan when samurai warriors entered into combat with razor sharp swords. Life or death was decided in milliseconds. These warriors couldn’t afford to be distracted — their life depended on it. The Mushin Way is a practice of chiseling away at the fear and ego that lead to distraction. It is a practice that allows you to filter out the noise, distractions, guilt and obligation in everyday work and life. It is a state where, like still water, your mind reflects a clear, objective mirror image of your surroundings. Time slows down and becomes abundant. You clearly see that, no matter what the situation, you always have a choice. And from this state of calm awareness, choosing the right decision at the right time, becomes very easy. Because you are armed for decision-making battle.
30-Seconds of Action: Try This to Arm Yourself for Decision-Making Battle
- Turn off all automated “push” notifications to your smartphone and laptop. They cause unnecessary distractions. Instead, get into a habit of manually “pulling” information into your devices at a time and place that suites you.
- To manage your email inbox, practice the “4-Ds”: Do, Defer, Delegate, Delete. DO email tasks that will take 2 minutes or less. DEFER emails that will take longer than 2 minutes to complete. Be sure to schedule time in your day to handle this “busy work”. DELEGATE emails that others are responsible for. DELETE or file emails that are just information, spam, etc.
- To learn more about arming yourself for decision-making battle, consider purchasing a copy of my Nationwide Bestseller, The Mushin Way to Peak Performance: The Path to Productivity, Balance, and Success.
I no longer use my iPhone as an alarm in the morning. I practice The Mushin Way from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep. I have more presence, joy, and effective leadership then I ever could have imagined. Who wouldn’t want that?
If you have any questions, post a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @mpveltri. I’d love to hear from you! And if you liked the ideas presented here, please take a look at my leadership keynote speaker website where you can find more information about my dynamic and memorable keynote speeches, business transformation workshops, and peak performance consulting: https://michaelveltri.com/business-keynote-speaker