I’m a very professional person when it comes to doing things whether it's part of my career or as part of a hobby, I relish the chance to improve.  I can’t help wanting to learn and importantly, improve in everything I do continually, but there’s one major obstacle I always face personally when I try to improve that holds me back all too often.

For some people, improving at things they do professionally or personally comes very easy to them, and they’re genuinely the lucky ones.  I’ve often been quite naturally good at things I’ve pursued in my life, but the real challenge comes when I need or want to improve in that particular role/task. As a professional trainer, I know an awful lot about effective learning and development methods such as feedback, reflection etc.  The use of many different ways really helps us, and when they are tailored individually, they work well, but it’s when we have to show then something new or to a higher level that I struggle.  I often thought about the reasons why and I eventually worked out that my brain doesn’t compute very well with new things while performing the other parts I still need to maintain.  You see, I become extremely task focussed thinking so much about the new part or the improvement, I discard the rest which means that my overall development falls. Being task focussed when I’m always trying to improve in everything I do, isn’t exactly ideal as any dip in overall performance can be extremely costly in so many ways.  With a tendency to become task-focussed, I’ve come up with some personal coping strategies that might help anyone else that becomes task focussed like me:

Think of the bigger picture – I try not to concentrate all of my efforts on just the areas for improvement in the feedback (if I have any).  I carefully consider the other things I’ve been doing well and focus myself on not just thinking about the individual thing I’m trying to improve.  I also try to reflect on the bigger picture now rather than individual parts, which does help; we can get entirely caught up on individual words and feedback if we let ourselves.

Use other learning methods to help you – In this day and age, there are some fantastic resources around that can help you learn and improve.  Use those resources if available to see the final standard or result required with consideration of the bigger picture (as above).  As a predominantly visual learner, I like to see images and videos which helps me.  Also seeing others perform to any required standard can be a huge help.

If you tend to get task focussed like me, I’d love to hear what coping strategies you use? There could be something you can share that might help me and others to improve in an easier way!

Scott Fraser is a Master Trainer at Target Training and delivers our PTT Train the Trainer courses and our Advanced PTT Train the Trainer courses.  You can read more about him here.