The 5th Habit to Becoming Highly Organized: Situational Awareness
A series exploring 5 habits to help you learn H.O.W. to Make it Happen
H.O.W. Habits will find more time in your day so you have more time for you. They are secret weapons of organization to fight against whatever makes you feel stressed. Adopt one or adopt them all — whatever works for you to show busy who’s boss.
You can call this the power of perception, channeling your inner Sherlock Holmes, or just paying attention. I am constantly scanning my environment for clues. I notice the inflection in people’s voices, a new pair of glasses, or a slight change to the way they wear their hair. I can spot a new engagement ring from 100 yards away. I read the fine print, the news, and a plethora of signs — both cosmic and construction. I notice just about everything. (My children hate this.)
The connection between situational awareness and organization may seem a bit tenuous at first blush. But recall that one of the primary goals of being highly organized is to have more time. Consider when you missed an exit sign on the highway because you were distracted. How much time did you then have to spend to get back on your way? A constant focus on key pieces of information will help you find time, not waste it.
Why bother with this habit? The more data and details that you can observe, process, and catalog — in virtually every situation — the better you will be able to sift through the noise and find what’s critical to you, your life, and getting things done. The more you are aware of the situation that you are facing right this minute, the more you will be able to quickly access the tools in your arsenal. I refer to these tools as “scan, scrutinize, synthesize.” Just try not to scowl and pinch your eyebrows together like I do.
How can you develop this habit? This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like a muscle; you need to stretch it and exercise it regularly to maintain it. Start by practicing in a familiar setting. At your next meeting, listen intently to whomever is speaking. While you’re listening, your eyes can glance at other attendees to take in their reactions, level of interest (or disinterest), and mood. Even better, pay attention as folks walk into (or log on) the meeting before it even starts. You’re asking your brain to be both listening to capture the words being spoken and seeing what’s happening around you. You are scanning the room, scrutinizing your team’s reactions, and synthesizing that information to guide what you’ll do and say (or not do and say). Your enhanced level of perception will help you determine a course of action more quickly.
Situational awareness will focus your energy and intellectual capital to calmly cut through the chaos.
Simply stated: scan, scrutinize, and synthesize.
Armed with these 5 habits, you are ready to become highly organized!