Pay Attention to What’s Important Now
Stress is entirely normal and finds its way into everyday life. All of the five pillars of personal readiness—physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and Family—can be affected if one does not learn to compartmentalize stress.
What’s Important Now
The brain likes precise and specific targets, making it important to establish and focus on what is relevant in the moment. What’s Important Now (WIN) directs an individual’s attention towards the relevant part of a task. If you’re splitting your attention between a task at hand and a stressful situation in another area of your life, you are much likely to perform poorly.
Research shows that when attention is split, people tend to make more mistakes. To limit your potential for errors and increase your performance, you can identify What’s Important Now.
If you find yourself distracted by a stressor, you can use a refocusing routine to direct your attention, thoughts, and energy towards the task at hand. Routines are personal so it’s essential to use a series of steps or skills that help you, as an individual, to refocus on what you need to do at the moment.
A refocusing routine can be done anytime such as before a job interview or a promotion board. These events are already stressful, but split attention can further detract you from performing at your peak.
Let’s say you’re experiencing distracting thoughts as you’re walking into a promotion board, your WIN routine could be:
- Pause - Take three deliberate centering breaths
- Cue - Say “I’m ready for this!”
- WIN - Refocus on “How I will introduce myself”
Like other mental skills like mindfulness, refocusing routines take practice. And when they are used deliberately over time, they will begin to happen automatically. A well-practiced routine can bring comfort and control to situations where you otherwise have very little.
Explore the Resilience in Focus section to learn about other mental skills and techniques.