Just a Minute

Dr. Anthony Paustian

I first met Dr. Anthony Paustian when I was in the West Des Moines Leadership Academy.  I have kept in touch with him and he has given me some guidance on a few items.  He does a great job speaking so I decided to take some time away from work and see him present his keynote at DMACC West Celebrate Innovation week.  He is keynote was entitled “Just a Minute.”

Dr. Paustian started talking about how busy our lives our and that we use mulit-tasking to complete more tasks in less time.  To make this point he showed us a short video he created to spoof a 5-Hour energy commercial where a guy does an immense amount of stuff in 5 hours.

It shows him doing way to many things at once until crash! He hits something with his car.  He then details the Happiness Function:

Happiness = f{Expectation | Reality}

Our own happiness is determined by our expectations for our life in relation to our actual reality.  He pointed out that how if we spend to much time on Facebook reading post of fun things our friends and family are doing we become frustrated with our own life.  He calls this “Facebook Image Crafting”, this is where we only post our cool photos of our lives.

He pointed out too that we can not really do multitasking, but in fact what we do is switch tasking.  Where we are constantly moving between tasks and do those task with low quality and mental acuity.

Next he shared with us  his Tony Tips that will help us bring more focus to our lives.

1. Pen to Paper.  The simple act of putting pen to paper can slow down the brain and help us focus on one thing at a time.  I would agree with this and I try this everyday with my notebook I carry with me to list my activities.  He also pointed out his friend Colonel John Hinck, who also spoke at the conference, has used a notebook for many years to collect his thoughts.  Colonel Hinck has taken those notebooks of thoughts and ideas and turned them into numerous books.

2. P.E.E. Daily.  This of course got a big laugh from the crowd.  Dr. Paustian detailed that P.E.E. stands for Plan, Execute, and Evaluate.  We need to plan each day we have and using paper is best.  He stated how if we use electronics our list of activities can be buried and is out of sight and out of mind.  Execute our plan by carrying out the activities, this can sometimes be difficult, but if we have a plan we can start.  Evaluate how we have done fulfilling our plans and where we fell short.  Learning from our mistakes and experiences is very important.  He shared with us another function of Fear:

Fear = f{unknown}

Our fears our derived from our fear of the unknown, but if we start planning we can tackle those fears and achieve our objectives.  He also pointed out when we plan we need to proactively under-schedule our day, as we know things will come up.  This reminds me of a post from Michael Hyatt where he speaks about creating margin in our life.

3. Unplug.  Remove the numerous digital distractions from your life.  Keep your life as simple as possible and be like Syd, his dog.  Syd does three things and only one of them at a time.  He also spoke about a problem with target fixation where we are only looking for one thing and we miss out on other things in our lives.   He referenced this video where we are supposed to count the passes from the team with white shirts.

4. Simplify.  Dr. Paustian talked about how we can remove unnecessary choices in our lives.  He spoke about how he always eats at Subway.  They know him there and what he wants.  One suggestion that I know I need to try is to turn off notifications on our phones.  If we allow things like Facebook and Twitter will update us every time we get a message.  Each time we get distracted we are using some cognitive functions that will wear us done and stop us from our optimal performance.

5. Slow Down.  We are trying to do so much activity in our lives we need to slow down and complete those important tasks.  We can be easily distracted by the many shiny objects in our lives.  Dr. Paustian then detailed a way to re-evaluate our activities over the course of the day.  Take out a piece of paper and divide it into four parts with three vertical lines.  In the first quadrant is the activities would should increase(>).  What do you want to do more of?  The next section is interests we want to add(+).  What do you need to add to your day?  In the next section is the things we want to remove(-).  What do I want to remove from my day?  The last column is items we want to do less of(<).  What do I want to do less of?

Dr. Paustian had another great address that challenged us and made us think!  I am looking forward to seeing him speak again soon.

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