What would it take for you to be fully engaged throughout the day? By fully engaged, I mean paying full attention to whatever you are doing. You could be paying attention to two things at once if you are working through a repetitive task. But, that should be the exception and not the rule.
As I ask myself that question, I realize that full engagement entails a collection of ideas that I’ve grouped into hygiene factors (the basic things we need to get right), organization factors and the inspiration factor.
I. Hygiene factors
Sleep. Full engagement is tiring.
Good diet. Replenishing our energy store is important during the day. The better the diet, the better our energy in the long run. And, caffeine isn’t a long term solution. :)
An active lifestyle. Full engagement requires a high level of energy. And, it is hard to maintain high energy without an active lifestyle.
II. Organization factors
A solid week plan. I think a good week is structured like a music performance. It has its ebbs and flows (meeting days and deep work days) so as to allow you to push hard on some days and recover on others.
Clear priorities. Unclear priorities results in a lack of focus. I’ve also come to realize that clarity of priorities requires us to keep committing to re-prioritizing through the day as we get newer information.
A realistic to do list. Being overwhelmed isn’t conducive to full engagement. Keeping a realistic to do list requires us to say no to things we can’t get done in a day. This isn’t an easy practice. But, keeping our work schedule contained is an important practice for long term engagement.
III. The inspiration factor
Clarity of purpose. While the above ensure a certain amount of energy during the week, clarity of purpose is where energy and inspiration and come from.
Your list may be a bit different. Your ordering will likely be different. But, this collection of factors is likely to remain.
Regardless of what the specifics are, I’ve come to realize that asking ourselves the question – “What will it take to be fully engaged?” – is among the most powerful life process questions there is. For, attention and engagement is where love, growth and appreciation reside.