You’re a busy techie with non-stop projects, demands from your manager, slack messages, planning meetings, interviews…always inundated with multiple things and pulled in all kinds of directions. Your open concept workspace doesn’t help either, you can’t find a moment of silence to focus or be uninterrupted. Not to mention any personal life stuff that’s going on. The text messages and DMs constantly nagging at you.
All of this can leave you feeling frenzied, tense, and stressed. When you’re on a screen all day it keeps your mind thinking about the future – the work to be done, the message you don’t want to forget. Or you feel numbed out with that distraction a screen can provide — the mindless scrolling and swiping. It leaves you exhausted by the end of the day and still feeling not quite sure what you accomplished. Luckily, there are some simple tools to help you stay in the present, calm the clutter in your mind, and improve your performance at work.
In mindfulness circles these are called “informal mindfulness practices”. The research on mindfulness has found powerful benefits for your cognitive performance, concentration, anxiety and mood. Practicing just these few quick techniques can make a big impact on your day and your health.
Here are my best tips on how to easily incorporate mindful moments in to your daily life:
- When you walk in to your office at the start of the day, pause as you put your hand on the doorknob. Take 3 deep breaths before entering. This will help you get present before the start of a whirlwind day. If you work from home, take 3 deep breaths before opening your computer at the beginning of your day.
- If you find your mind churning on your latest project and just can’t turn your mind off when you need to be focusing on something else (a meeting, interviewing a candidate, etc), make a quick note of the idea you have so you know you can come back to it later. Then say to yourself “I have done all I can do on this project for now, I can let these thoughts go”.
- Make sure to actually take a lunch break, even if only a few minutes is possible. Get outside of your office, if you can be in (or have a view of) nature even better. Practice eating mindfully without any distractions. No screen time or phone calls. Just observe the environment around you quietly. Savor each bite of your meal. Challenge yourself to do this for at least 5 minutes, but the longer the better.
- If you’re in a tense meeting and you start to feel overwhelmed, bring your attention to the sensation of your feet touching the ground. Really notice every small detail of the sensation as you take 5 deep breaths. Say to yourself silently in your mind, “the ground is stable beneath me. I am stable and strong”.
- At the end of your day when you get home, give yourself at least 10 minutes of no screen time. No phone, no laptop, no Netflix, no TV. I know, I know, it sounds horrible, but you can do it. Do something screen free that you enjoy and really savor it. Enjoy the view out your window, listen to music and really appreciate it, drink your favorite tea…whatever it is that you enjoy. Do it mindfully and with full presence. This will give your brain time to unwind from the stimulation of the day. I know this may sound uncomfortable at first, but begin to gain more comfort with time away from screens so you can be more efficient and productive in the long run.
In addition to these quick tips, I also recommend everyone practice mindfulness meditation on a regular basis to help train your brain to be present and get the most benefits from mindfulness. Just 3-5 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Check out the Calm or Headspace app as great mindfulness meditation tools.
If you’d like to dive deeper in to mindfulness, please reach out to me or a therapist near you to schedule an appointment