Stay calm and stay focused


It’s 4.30am and I can’t sleep. My mind is working overtime; churning through thoughts and feelings and yet not really going in any direction. Have you ever felt a slight feeling of panic, as if you are not quite in command of things? It doesn’t happen overnight but over a period of time. It’s subtle. Rather like putting on weight, you gain a pound every day until you suddenly look at your body in the mirror and exclaim “Bloody hell, how did that happen?!”

On the surface everything is fine. Work is going well and is throwing up some new and exciting challenges. I have also returned from a very enjoyable holiday with my family. And yet despite this, I feel agitated and uncertain. There are also visible clues that reflect these inward feelings. I would never claim to be the most structured of people but my office is messier than usual. They, (whoever ‘they’ are), often say that a cluttered room reflects a cluttered mind and in this instance they are spot on. This reminds me of my interview with Jim McCarthy, the CEO of Poundland, when he was describing how one of his bosses only had one piece of paper on his desk that he would focus on each day. I too have one page but one for each day of the year and all on the same desk…

So, what to do?

The first thing, as recommended by the Warwickshire Business Entrepreneur Denys Shortt, is to “stay calm and stay focused”. It is important to recognise these feelings but not to panic about them. The next thing is make an inventory of the tasks that need to be done, prioritise the most important and then take action in a calm and measured manner. In the case of the disorder in the office it is also important to do more than simply tidy it up. Disorder doesn’t require any planning but maintaining order requires systems and a degree of discipline.

And finally, it is to appreciate that we are never fully in control of things even though we may kid ourselves that we are. Like a ship in the ocean, it is important to set a course but then the tides and winds may guide us in a new and exciting direction…


2 thoughts on “Stay calm and stay focused

  1. Would have liked to have tweeted this mate but you don’t seem to have the facility to do it – or if you do it’s not obvious. Oh, and I hope you’re having a lie-in! I was still up at 4.30 the night before and it’s going to take a serious gym session and 20 mins in the steam room to put it to bed. D


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