An interview was going on. In the final round, the interviewer asked candidate to choose between two; 10 very simple questions or 1 really difficult question. Candidate promptly selected second option and went ahead with 1 really difficult question. Interviewer asked the question: what came first? The Hen or The Egg?
Candidate didn’t take a minute to think on it and gave the answer: Hen. Interviewer was surprised with his confidence and asked further, why?
Now candidate smiled and said, you cannot ask me another question as you agreed to ask only one difficult question.
No need to say that he successfully cleared the interview!
He could do it because he didn’t panic in that situation and could think calmly and take action accordingly.
This was nothing but his presence of mind!
So we can define presence of mind as having self-control in stressful situation along with the ability to think and act calmly.
Presence of mind is tool to deal with difficult situations. It is not like that you will get the solution quickly with this but it will help you to take correct decision, correct step.
Whether it is to work with your personal affairs or at your workplace, you need to be focused and calm. Lack of presence of mind can lead to serious problems.
Everyone is not lucky to have presence of mind as a natural skill (as we say it’s God’s gift!). Most have to cultivate the quality for presence of mind in them.
Here are some tips to develop the presence of mind.
Listen intently like this is the last time you are hearing it. Don’t just start judging by hearing a few words. When someone is talking to you, they are not just sharing their opinion but valuable information too. It is very essential for you to do something.
Concentration and focus are key factors for presence of mind. Lack of focus and distracted mind leads to low presence of mind. If you know that you need to be able to replicate the action done by someone, you have to observe them carefully. Every time you cannot deal with the situation in same way.
If you are not an expert at multitasking then its better that you avoid it and perform a single task at a time. Because it is possible that when you are engaged with one activity, you are thinking about another job also. Due to this, you do not pay enough attention to the task in hand and put that job at risk.
Priorities your tasks:
Start prioritizing your tasks if you are not doing so already. If you have something very urgent or important then try to complete it as soon as possible, as otherwise the thought of it will keep nagging you all the time while doing other tasks.
Switch between high and low attention tasks:
Switch to a low attention task for some time while doing the high attention task. For example, if you are working to create project plan for a large project, just switch to another job like housekeeping documents for 5-10 mins. Then switch back to task of creating project plan. It will give your brain rest and you will feel more energetic after it.
Take short breaks:
You can be master at focusing but you cannot continuously work for 8 hours. That definitely affects your power of concentration. You need to take short breaks in between. The best way is to divide your jobs into small chunks of 1-2 hours and take 5 min break between 2 jobs.
Make sure that you are comfortable with your surrounding environment. If not then adjust it as per your comfort level or get adjusted to it. if you are not comfortable while doing something, you will later on try to find excuses for not being able to focus on important things.
Best way to keep your mind still is to keep your body moving. You might have seen people who just keep walking here and there while reading something important or while preparing for exams. It’s just because it helps them focusing in what they are doing.
Everyone has a personal life and hence personal problems. Sometimes these problems takes full control of our mind that we cannot think of anything else or cannot concentrate on important jobs. When personal problems start interfering into your professional life, it can be dangerous for you. You need to learn to keep your personal life separate from professional life.
This takes a bit of work and discipline on your part. You have to practice it daily, make it part of your life. Get habituated to it and one day you will master it!