Strategies For Flow During Your Work Day
How many times have you said:
“I can’t believe how fast the weeks are flying by!”
I would find myself shocked at how fast time was passing, and simultaneously getting down on myself for not getting as much done as I’d hoped, or even sad that it would be Sunday night and another week would be starting again. I felt like I was just getting by. And although I enjoyed my job, day to day my time was sucked up in an office, only a few hours with my kids and husband, and tired with too many ‘things to do’.
I have worked hard to uncover what was leading me to feel this way, and how I could regain control over the direction that I wanted for my life and family.
By incorporating strategies - that I still use all the time - I’ve helped myself to be more mindful and more tactical so I can have more flow in my work day.
Becoming mindful of your day, your thoughts, and your actions, will lead you to see how time is merely ‘dissected’ in your mind. That you can still lead the career that you love and spend time with your family. It’s not about having it all. You already have that. I define it as having it as you NEED it. Designing your life, and directing it.
Build in More Meditation to Your Day
If you do not regularly meditate you can start by taking 5 deep belly breaths as soon as you wake up in the morning. Sit up right, close your eyes and count those breaths. Then move up to 10.
Eventually you will crave to give yourself 10+ minutes of quiet time in the morning before everything starts. It’s a beautiful way to start your day and also spoil yourself by sitting in stillness.
Meditation is the same latin word as medicine! Meditation reduces stress. When you are less stressed you are less clouded and don’t lose track of time.
Research from PNAS shows that ‘mind-wandering is not only a common activity present in roughly 50% of our awake life, but is also associated with lower levels of happiness’.
So, breathing in stillness is a simple way to bring more happiness into our lives! Start by using an app with guided meditations. My favorites are Inscape and Inside Timer.
Simple Breath Work Between Tasks
This is an extension of your morning meditation.
Take time to breathe between tasks - before you jump from one email to the next, or one fire to the other. Breath intentionally in between. That means stop. Close your eyes. Take in 3 deep belly breaths. Then stretch. Continue with the tasks.
Every task will go smoother and be completed more efficiently with that simple 10 second stopping technique.
Your heart rate will regulate. You’ll be more focused and you will be more efficient.
More efficient = less running around forgetting things and leaving your work on time to get home!
Take Small Breaks
While taking a break, go for a walk.
Does your office span multiple floors? Take the stairs to another floor to go to the bathroom. The 3 minutes longer it takes to do so will not affect your timelines, it will make you more productive, and once you are more productive you are able to leave work on time!
Avoid the Negative Chatter
If the negative chatter is coming from your own brain, first start by being aware of it. Once you’ve caught yourself - challenge yourself to re-frame the thought. What other story could be true instead?
Aim to Improve Your Communication
If someone isn’t understanding what you are communicating, realize that that is an opportunity to become a better communicator! How can you improve your communication? Slow down. Share the big picture. Go over details with examples. Take responsibility of your communication and the next time you are faced with this, you will be able to succeed in a greater way, making your work day smoother.
Prioritize your week:
Create a high level view of your week on Sunday - think about what you want to accomplish by the end of the week and make space for it. By doing this you won’t be left scrambling or surprised on any given day. Some tasks (personal or work-related) will have to happen on specific days, others need to flow through the week, so this view is not so much as filling up your calendar as it is staying on top of your tasks. Being in control of which tasks you want to complete in a week shouldn’t allow for too many new ones to sneak in.
Prioritize the day, the night before:
Which 3 things are the most important to complete that day? Which items will generate income? Which ones will make your life better? This is a holistic approach that incorporates health, wellbeing and wealth building into your day.
Fuel Yourself For The Marathon
You don’t have time to feel crappy!
Fill your day with healthy foods. You don’t need your beautiful body and mind to be run-down with food spikes and crashes. Plan on arming yourself with snacks that are healthy, give you energy, and feed your soul. I won’t leave for work without my apple slices, walnuts, and raisins. For the days that I know I have a lot of back-to-back meetings, I bring my low-glycemic protein bar. Note: not all brands are low-glycemic - meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar - contact me if you want to know my favorites.
You can shape the relationship you have with your work-life. It takes a decision to want to improve it. After that, you are implementing how it can take shape.
You train the people around you how to treat you - that includes your boss, clients, colleagues and your kids.
Be honest at work, “I will finish x & y today and will respond to z by _(date)_”. This trains clients and colleagues to have realistic expectations. And with everything prioritized for the week, it should be a fair estimate.
Implementing change also requires a change of behavior on your end. If you decide to shut down your email by 6pm and you don’t check it again until after the kids are in bed then you need to stick to your own boundaries.
Start by incorporating one of these strategies at a time and then another. Let me know your favorites!