A new way of thinking, by Stewart Russell
It would be an understatement to say 2020 has been an unusual year. We have learnt new phrases, such as “pre lockdown” and “contact tracing”. Meanwhile, hand sanitiser sales have gone through the roof. During these times we have had to completely rethink the way we live our lives and the way that we do business.
This year, more than any other in my career, we have had to adapt and be flexible and be resilient in the face of adversity.
Last week, several of us attended the annual PKF New Zealand conference. The 13 firms from around the country got together, shared experiences and learnt from each other.
A sign of the times was that instead of riveting sessions on the latest developments in tax and accounting law, this year was all about health and wellbeing.
Positivity and resilience are the key. If we feel more positive about something, we have more energy and drive to succeed, to complete the task. The challenge sometimes is looking for the positive but if you can find it, it will give you that extra spring in your step. It is also infectious, your positive outlook, demeanor and attitude can be “harvested” by your colleagues and whanau, which improves the mood within the workplace or home. How does a smile or giggle make you feel?
A new idea we were introduced to at the conference was the importance of resilience. We often hear people refer to this as the ability to bounce back. When faced with adversity we should learn what went wrong, adapt and change our behavior. This year we all had to deal with change - how we adapted affects our outcomes. Bouncing back can be perceived as returning to where we were. Instead we should aim to “spring” forward and grow from what we have learnt.
One factor which can affect our resilience is trying to do too much in one go. This can lead to confusion or getting muddled between different tasks. If you feel yourself getting into this state, try to focus on the most important.
Take a few deep breaths, slow your heart rate down and then focus.
As a male I already know that I am unable to multitask, my wife tells me this regularly! But the reality is, it is more efficient to perform one task at a time. If you don’t believe me, write the numbers 1 to 20 twice, as quickly as you can and time how long it takes. Now repeat the exercise but have two separate lines, so you write 1, 1, 2, 2 etc. I suspect you will find that the second time took a bit longer - this is because your brain is constantly switching between the two lines of numbers.
Scientists tell us that you can’t work at peak performance for more than approximately 90 minutes. After your 90 minutes, take a quick break - a brief stroll in the sunshine, or grab a cup of tea or glass of water. This will give your brain a break from concentrating and reset the clock. You will be able to work more effectively after a nano break.
The world is forever changing and our challenge is to be resilient and adapt to these changes.
Stay positive and keep smiling.