Hints & Tips Blog

Developing good habits to navigate change

Our recent business insights have looked at the importance of adapting to changing circumstances and how a constant barrage of information can leave us overwhelmed and, at times, unsure about how to move forward.

Rolling news, social media, new internal communications channels increasingly used in the pandemic, not to mention the usual daily influx of emails, can all impact on our ability to identify and focus on the messages that really matter, and to prioritise how we will address them.

So how can we fight back?

Luckily, mother nature has given us the perfect weapon, if we know how to use it. We all have a Reticular Activating System (RAS) at the base of our brain. Our RAS acts as a filter against all the data that’s around us. Which is fortunate, given at any one time there can be up to two million pieces of data – from sounds, tastes, images, words, colours, documents, data feeds etc – and there is only so much data our brains can process.

Our RAS works by only letting through the things it thinks are important. Some of these will be primitive basic needs, for example it will let through data that signals danger. But most of this data is not basic, especially in the working environment, so how does our RAS know what is important and what to let through?

It does this by identifying what we focus on most, and then shows us the things that give us more of that or prove that this is true. This is where the importance of developing good habits comes in. If we tell ourselves we are not good at managing time and there is too much information to be able to effectively analyse what is really important, our RAS will show us things that support this belief, compounding it further.

By changing our mindset to look at the situation more positively, our RAS will also quickly switch to looking for data that supports this.

So, by changing our perspective and adopting different habits, we can give our RAS a helping hand to let through the important data we really need and weed out the rest.

For example;

  • I can become more efficient by spending 10 minutes each morning identifying what is important for me to focus on today, and what I should ignore.
  • I will set my social media parameters to follow only relevant feeds and identify what themes and data are worth considering.
  • I will set a time limit for core activities, conversations or meetings, and assess if the results represented a good use of that time.
  • I will allow myself a set amount of time at a specific time to check emails, social media, other data streams, note any relevant data to schedule for action and immediately discard the rest.
  • I will quickly and proactively give feedback and advice to prevent larger issues developing that will require much more time later.

In times of change the amount of data we are exposed to increases, and as much of it is new to us, it can feel even more complex and difficult to process. By setting ourselves clear objectives and developing positive habits, we can reprogramme our RAS to focus on what will really help us deliver results and filter out ‘the noise’.

Our team at BHP Consulting have all successfully run businesses, and we understand that every business is unique. Our practical approach to supporting our clients enables us to share our real-world experience to positively impact on the performance of your business. To arrange a call or an exploratory face-to-face meeting, please click here.