Stay on track by boosting your energy and mood with these expert tips from a meditation and mindfulness teacher.
Even as restrictions begin to lift, working from home is here to stay for many of us while we shift into new ways of doing business. However, when we’re not at the office, there can be more distraction, and our days can become even longer as there is no set ‘finish’ time. So as we navigate the new normal, how do you keep focused and stop mindlessly scrolling your socials to have a productive day?
According to Harvard psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert, we spend 47 per cent of our waking hours not paying attention to what we are doing. This means half of our day we aren’t present or productive, leaving us wide open to error and impacting our overall happiness. While it can feel challenging to keep your mind on track, here are six beneficial mindfulness tools and tactics to help keep you focused and master your day!
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Start your day off right
We are most susceptible to input first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, so while it’s tempting to roll over and check your phone, emails, social media and the news when you wake up, it has a tendency to have you worried about future events, give you a dose of FOMO, and trigger your stress response before you’ve even had your morning coffee. Keep your phone out of the bedroom, (there are some good analogue alarm clocks available) and begin your day with a good morning routine in place and spend that time on activities that will set you up for a positive mindset.
While this will be different for everyone, moving your body, breath or meditation practice, journaling, or even just having a healthy breakfast and spending time with your kids before you get on the tech will leave you feeling more uplifted and ready to tackle your work ahead.
Set your day up with intention
Where your attention goes your energy flows, so set your day up with intention. What is important for you to complete, create, and even ask yourself how you want to feel, then consider what you need to do to allow this to happen?
A little bit of planning can go a long way to inspire and motivate you throughout your day, and my recommendation is to write down at least three intentions, work or personal, that will have a significant impact on your overall outlook, if you fulfil those as the day closes. This will also help you make the conscious positive choices for yourself that you need to be able to stay on track.
Make technology work for you, rather than the other way around
While technology has given us incredible advantages, we are also addicted to our devices; one study says that we touch tap, click or swipe on our phones 2,617 time per day!
Turn off the alerts on your email and social media, so your attention isn’t drawn away every time a ping hits your inbox, then check your socials and email in your own time frame, when it’s not going to interrupt your important projects. Every moment you lose focus and shift your attention, you waste time and energy, in fact, they say it takes 64 seconds to refocus on the task at hand.
If you check your emails every five mins, that adds up to a significant amount of time over your week, eight and a half hours in total which is an entire workday! Use your time wisely.
Have a dedicated workspace
Even if it is just moving from the couch to your dining table, have an area where you go to ‘work’. While it might be tempting to stay in your PJ’s (or at least the bottom half), having a shower, getting dressed, even if it’s just your better pair of leggings, and sitting down to your home desk is going to have a significant effect on your state of mind.
I also recommend having a time when you ‘finish’ your workday, put your computer down and shift your energy. Change your clothes again, light a candle, put on some music; something that will signify that the workday has now finished so you’re not tempted to keep checking your emails consistently through the evening.
Keep your energy and focus up by getting out of the house and going for a quick walk (without your phone), or taking a short break for a cup of tea. While it may seem productive, especially if you’re on a deadline to keep at the computer, your mind can actually become dull and foggy. Taking a short break gives your mind a much-needed reset, and you will come back to your desk with an increased ability to focus, and the possibility to be more creative and innovative.
Getting out of the house, having a little bit of exercise and daylight, also gives you a serotonin boost, the feel-good hormone, that helps your learning and memory, creates a positive mood, and even helps you sleep better.
Meditation has come into the mainstream these days and for good reason, it helps you train your attention so that you can become more mindful and focused in your daily life.
Taking time to sit, even for a short meditation, can shift your mood, help you feel calmer, decrease your stress levels and give you more clarity. Particularly if you practice daily, over time you will experience significant benefits, including improved wellbeing, better concentration, a higher resilience to life’s challenges and increased productivity. If you’re looking to get started or delve deeper embrace Happy Melons online offering HM Live to enjoy a virtual meditation class each day.
Sacha Stewart is a certified meditation and mindfulness teacher, and the meditation team lead for Happy Melon Studios. She holds a double diploma in kinesiology and mind-body medicine and is a qualified wellness coach. You can follow her on Instagram.
More essential coronavirus reading:
Read up on what the government lockdown means for you, understand why Aussie doctors are up arms, be aware of the ‘hidden symptom’ of COVID-19 carriers, prepare yourself for the long-term mental health effects of the pandemic, get your sweat on at home with these free online workouts before reviving your over-washed hands with this DIY balm, and then console yourself with these unexpected joys.