Little Red Riding Hood and the Twigs
(or how to focus manage when working remotely)
First time working remotely?
Struggling to fit it all in with the extra distractions of working from home?
Perhaps Red Riding Hood can help….
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wore a red cape. She lived in a time where it became necessary to stay indoors and only venture out to support those who needed it. Life looked quite different from before, but she did want was right and followed the rules.
She was however a key worker, a support to her Grandma who lived in the woods. Grandma lived in a remote part of society, surrounded by trees, animals, and fields – her closest neighbour lived over 10 miles away, and she was an odd pale looking girl who had shacked up with seven dwarfs. So, they did not socialise often – Grandma did not approve of her life choices.
Red Riding Hood had a daily focus.
Her most important job was to walk to Grandma’s house, through the woods, with a basket of bread, milk, and cheese so Grandma could eat and stay happily in her bed – safe from the rest of the world.
(I am pretty sure most of you reading this – know what your most important job is in your workplace – if you don’t – you need to find out!)
Back to the girl in the red cape.
It was a fine April morning when Red stepped out into the wood, the birds sang, the trees swayed quietly created an aurora of peace. Red had a basket full of goodies for Grandma, including some discount 20p Easter Eggs. She had set her focus and was on her way.
Suddenly, as Red was halfway through her mission…
A crack as loud as thunder in the otherwise gentle woods.
A snap sounding like a break a bone.
The noise of a twig being cut into two rang into Red’s ears.
It was Red’s first encounter of “The Twig.”
Because as a human being, Red is hard wired to react to the snap of a twig. The same way we are hard wired to react to the sound of a knock at the door.
If you have read the book, you know that behind Red, was a hungry drooling wolf, with eyes as large as saucers and teeth as sharp as razors.
You know that the wolf wants to eat, and he isn’t looking at Red’s basket.
Human Instinct: what do we do?
Red, working on her base reactions has four responses:
Or become mates (ewwww – but yes, this is one of our basic human reactions)
So, what does Red do?
Because the twig has shattered her focus.
- a) Hope that 100metre record she held at school holds good and she can outrun a ferocious beast.
- b) Does she, channel her inner Tyson and go to fight a feisty wolf.
- c) Does she offer the food that was meant for Grandma?
- d) Let’s not even go there.
Put simply, if Red reacts to the hard wiring of responding to the twig – Grandma probably ain’t going to get her grub that day…
So, what are your twigs?
What is stopping you getting your focus managed?
My lovely and extremely loud three children,
The Amazon Man,
My obsession with trying to get a Tesco slot.
My email alerts.
I know my twigs – and I manage them into my diary to the best of my ability – so my focus and my goals are still achieved.
So I schedule my calls.
I turn off my phone when focusing on my most important tasks.
I set the kids up with activities and give us all time for breaks.
I switch off the evil email alerts – as they are the distraction of the devil.
I set an alarm for midnight for the Tesco slot (didn’t work)
I close down Teams and email my colleagues my timings for the day and check they work for them too.
I remove the twigs so I can be successful.
Well, Red also knows her twigs…
She knows there is a wolf roaming the woods.
She knows he will swallow her whole given half the chance
She also doesn’t have an issue with the pale girls lifestyle choices, so she goes to visit her with a basket of bread, gives some to the Dwarfs and asks if they will drop the food to Grandma on route to the mines in their wood worthy car, and pass the note that she will FaceTime her later.
She delegates giving her more time to crack on with her day job.
She eliminates the twigs and manages her focus.
She is successful, not stressed.
And the wolf was never seen again, and they all lived happily ever after…
Are twigs stopping you from working successfully remotely? Are you starting and finishing each day behind or with a to do list that is longer than your arm? Does your team need support?
Join me next week for a session on Focus Management During Covid19, and we can look at how to reduce stress and increase productivity.
The next session is Tuesday 28th April 2020 @ 10am – Link to join for free is here.