Summer mode is here, which means longer days, warmer weather, and motivation dips at work as a result of wanting to be outdoors. With many of us still working from home and taking vacations, it can be difficult to find the motivation to power through and be productive; therefore, we wanted to share some tips for being more mindful during working hours.
1. TAKE BREAKS!
Too often do I hear “I don’t have time to take a lunch” or “there aren’t enough hours in the day”. We think that if we work longer, straight through the day that we can get more done. However, research shows that taking breaks allows us to be more productive.
While it may be hard to remember to take breaks, schedule an alarm on your phone, or a calendar prompt for you to get up and get water, or take a walk outside. Getting up and moving our bodies is good not only physically, which can reduce pain from sitting, but it also helps reset us mentally.
2. SPEND THE FIRST HOUR OF YOUR DAY NOT LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE
When you wake up in the morning, do you grab your phone and look at the news or your work email? This can often stress us out, or start the day on a negative note before you’ve even left the bed. Try leaving your phone for the first hour (or 30 minutes if that feels undoable) and use that hour to set the tone for your day. That could look like enjoying breakfast—technology-free, taking a morning walk, finding time to work out, sitting outside enjoying your coffee or tea, or even trying mediation. This will allow you to start the day on a more positive note, so by the time you are ready to start the workday, you are in a relaxed state of mind.
3. EAT LUNCH AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER AND PHONE
Closely tied to #1, taking breaks is essential. Our lunch break is the regular set time of the day where you are expected to be eating instead of working. Do you know that being in “rest and digest” mode can help lower stress and can even help you lose weight? When we are resting…or digesting… (i.e.- letting the body perform sleep and eating without interruption) it puts us in a parasympathetic or calm state of mind.
By taking a time out and being mindful, slowly eating our lunch, focusing on the food and our surroundings, not only gives our minds a break from work, but it helps our digestion. Oh, and don’t forget to leave your phone in the other room. Scrolling through social media or the internet while eating doesn’t count. 😉
4. FOCUS ON ONE TASK AT A TIME
Do you have 7 screens open on your desktop at one time? Are you trying to work on a presentation while taking phone calls? It actually takes more of our brainpower to switch from one task to another. Have you ever been caught going back to something, thinking “what was I working on?” or “what did I need to do with this?” Try focusing on one task at a time, and wait until you complete it to move onto the next. This will allow you to feel more productive actually checking things off your list, and will also help your concentration.
5. ALLOT SPECIFIC TIMES FOR TASKS & REWARD YOURSELF AFTER COMPLETING THEM
Discouraged from doing that tedious weekly report? Try and work on it earlier, rather than leaving it until the last minute. It will allow you to feel better once it’s behind you. Then throw yourself a reward for completing it. I.e.- I like to treat myself to my favorite take-out restaurant after work (sushi!) or go get a massage. By doing something you enjoy after completing a task, you are recognizing your work and giving yourself something to look forward to. Being kind to ourselves helps our confidence, attitude, and outlook—all positives—both in the workplace and in our personal lives.