A leader’s most precious resource is not their time. It’s their focused attention. Time merely passes, while focused attention makes things happen.
And achieving intense attention to a project at hand, requires managing your emotions.
Psychologist Victor Johnston describes emotions as “discriminant hedonic amplifiers,” meaning that they boost various signals in our mental landscape, drawing our attention toward certain issues and events and away from others. In other words, emotions are attention magnets.
There are a few things you can do to build your emotional intelligence:
Recent research indicates that meditating for just a few minutes a day, spending just one hour a week in nature, or jotting down a few reflective notes in the evening has a noticeable impact on well-being.
You must make an investment. Don’t simply work super hard and then burn out:
High-performing professionals often enjoy success early in their careers by virtue of their ability to forego activities like this–they cut back on sleep or go without exercise for extended periods of time. But while those sacrifices temporarily expand our capacity for throughput, they actually diminish our capacity for focused attention. And while more senior leaders like my clients continue to work hard, what allows them to add value isn’t the extra hours spent working, but rather the quality of their focused attention while they’re at work.