Don’t feel so overwhelmed at work: you can be more mindful
Work is an important part of life. Necessary not just for income, but also for self-expression and personal fulfilment. Work life can be very rewarding, but for many of us it’s also one of our major sources of life stress.
At work many of us get caught up in ‘driven doing’ mode. We lose touch with ourselves and the present moment. We push our bodies and minds too far and then end up exhausted and stressed at the end of each day.
Slowing down can feel counterintuitive at best, but in some ways, it’s the kind of recharging you need most to get even more done.
1- Pause before beginning your day
Before you start your work for the day, take a moment to pause and observe. This might be a few minutes at home with a cup of coffee, a moment set aside before starting your car, or a short time at your desk before waking up your laptop.
Pay attention to your breathing and your surroundings. Notice the small things you normally ignore—the temperature of your drink, the material in your desk, the smell of your office. Moments like these can seem silly and unproductive for professionals used to busyness.
2- Do Your Work with Purpose
In the same way that you’re present and proactive, you need to tackle your tasks with purpose and determination. There’s no reason it should take two hours to slug through your correspondence. Think about how you spend your time. Does it take you forever to complete tasks because you’re distracted and uninterested? You’re not pursuing your assignments with purpose. You’re getting by with the bare minimum, and it’s eventually going to show up in your performance. View each job as though it’s essential. Pretend that your performance review rests on every task, and go after it with a vengeance.
3- Remember that It’s Not a Race
Certain jobs shouldn’t take forever. Referring again to correspondence, there’s no need for it to take up a quarter of your day. With important projects, however, remember that it’s not a race. Always keep your deadlines in mind, but don’t rush through the things you have to do just to finish up with them. That’s not how you bring purpose to your daily duties. Do your best, explore your creativity, and give each task the time it deserves. You’re not racing your co-workers in the time it takes to get something done. A polished result means more than finishing first.
4-Put reminder stickers around your workplace
Place a few small stickers on your computer, phone, or desk. Every time you see the stickers, use them as a reminder to pause and bring your awareness back into the present moment.
5- At the end of the day, return to your breath
If the mind is elsewhere, focus on your breathing and congratulate yourself for your mindfulness. Importantly, set the intention to leave your work behind you for the day. It’s finished. Carry your mindful attitude home with you so that you can truly enjoy your recreational activities and precious time with friends and family.