We are all looking for that perfect day at work without lots of tasks and stress that pull us down instead of lifting us up to achieve the best that we can. Unfortunately, the days where we are able to achieve all our goals without feeling a bit burnt out aren’t as common as we’d like them to be. Instead of leaving work with a fresh mind for our personal life, we carry that weight with us and make it a habit. But it’s time to change that! Let’s make new habits - in a mindful way. We’ve collected a few tips and tricks for a more balanced and mindful work life that you can realize right away:
Make sure to start your day right
Digital detox isn’t really a thing in the office but at home, you have the chance to switch off and focus on yourself instead. Don’t start your morning with a phone in your hand and try to wake up without distractions. Take some time for small morning rituals and enjoy a slow breakfast. Your morning will set the mood for the rest of your day, so make it happy, enjoyable and mindful.
Start your workday with a plan
Don’t let your tasks overwhelm you. Plan your to-do’s first thing in the morning and make it realistic! Count in some pauses and delays and prioritize your tasks. A long list can be quite intimidating and will cause stress - so split it up into smaller pieces. Start with your top priority list of urgent to-do’s before heading over to the lower priority tasks. Make sure the goals are reachable. There is no point in writing a long list of tasks that you won’t be able to finish and that will make you feel unaccomplished. Be real with yourself!
Take your time-outs
No one is asking you - or rather giving you permission - to take out your yoga matt at work and start your 30 minute practice or meditation session. At work, it’s all about compromising. A five minute break will and must be granted by every supervisor or team leader and will improve your productivity and mindset. Take a short time-out, listen to your playlist, take a little walk after your lunch break. Move around - slowly. Forget all the super urgent to-do’s for a few minutes and focus on yourself, your breath and calm down. Once you’re feeling calmer, get back to your tasks with fresh motivation and a clear mind.
Are you still looking for your perfect time-out playlist? Have a listen to this!
Avoid negative distractions
Procrastination might have become a trend everyone is following at the moment but we don’t have to do what everyone else is doing! Being focussed 24/7 isn’t possible or healthy, true. As relaxing as it may sound, 8 hours of doing nothing substantial instead of working aren’t only a reason for a very serious conversation with your boss but will also bring you down personally. We aren’t made to stand still. We want to be proud of ourselves and the effort we’ve put in. And when was the last time, you were proud about spending that hour on Instagram - except for those working in social media, of course - or the hours staring outside of the window? When we say “don’t procrastinate”, we are not saying that you shouldn’t take breaks. On the contrary! But make them worth your time.
We don’t have one grand solution for the mean p-word but we can show you a few tricks that are working for us:
Let your colleagues know what’s okay and what’s not
If you aren’t the source of distraction yourself, we have a very simple hack how you can let your colleagues know which work mode you are in and if they are welcome to interrupt or come back later. A simple door sign with clear instructions will let everyone in the office know, if you are available, busy but up for a chat or totally into the zone and not to be distracted. If you are in a shared-space office, the sign works perfectly as a desk sign. Download it here for free, fill in your work states and get into the workflow!
Get some help from tools and apps
Just opening a new tab to search a relevant article or new document and oh, the “recently visited websites” are looking very tempting and Pinterest is already waiting to be clicked on. Concentration? Gone. Don’t let the temptation win or just get rid of it all together with this simple and free browser add on:
Momentum - When opening a new tab, you won’t be greeted by your recently clicked websites but will see a lovely photo of a landscape, the time and your current to-do list.
Big tasks trigger big pressure and just starting seems impossible. But someone has to do it! Set yourself very small time slots of focussed work rather than facing the entire project at once. To eliminate any phone-related distractions, we can recommend the following app to you:
Forest - Alone or with the entire office - set a time frame in which all of you will work on their tasks fully concentrated and start growing your own little forest. The tree on your phone will grow in the set time frame until someone on the team leaves the app. Once someone has closed the app or checked anything else on their phone, the tree will die for everyone on the team. The person responsible for the poor dead tree will have interrupted their own focus, will have to live with a guilty conscience and hopefully be more motivated next time!
5 minutes of focussed work turn into 50 and after a while, you’re totally in the zone! Once in, it’ll be easier to work on your tasks highly concentrated without wanting to get distracted. It doesn’t work all the time but it’s worth a shot!
Find the sources of stress and name them
“It’s been super hectic and stressful at work today.” “Yeah, same here.” This is a perfect example of how we don’t want our after work conversations with friends and family to go. We aren’t only putting our inner stress onto our loved ones, but are receiving their stress as a little bonus on top. This vicious cycle of being stressed and annoyed needs to end now because that conversation is not what we need after eight hours at work. Instead of talking about it, let’s face the stressful situations at the same time as they occur: at work. What exactly is the cause for this situation? Outside influences like loud colleagues, time pressure, work overload? The more precise you can name them, the easier it is to do something about it. Noisy colleagues and loud surroundings can be disarmed by getting yourself out of the situation and by putting on your headphones, a couple of minutes of conscious breathing or simply asking for some quiet. If your workload is the main cause for your high stress level, prioritize your tasks and ignore all the not so urgent ones until it’s their turn. Sure, not everything can be ignored but once you’ve found the source of why you’re feeling so stressed, it’ll give you an opportunity to work on it. Being annoyed and stressed all of the time is neither bearable nor will it get you to a solution - no matter how much we like to complain about stress at work.