Written by Andrea Lieberstein, Bestselling author of ‘Well Nourished: Mindful Practices to Heal Your Relationship to Food, Feed Your Whole Self and End Overeating’, Faculty at eMindful, Speaker, Mindfulness and Mindful Eating Coach, Trainer
Ever have those days when there are just so many things to do, it’s hard to focus or know where to start? Or, once you’ve settled on a project or task, and look one thing up, you become distracted by the Internet, email, texts or phone calls? Or, perhaps you don’t feel clear and rested on a day where it is crucial you perform well? More and more people are turning to mindfulness. Mindfulness practice trains us to focus our attention in the present moment, to notice when our mind has wandered off-task, and to reengage with what is most important in each moment. These abilities help us to navigate the temptations of virtual or other distractions and to up our performance with greater focus and ease.
Explore these mindful strategies to Up Your Performance:
Inspired Focus First – Begin your day with a practice of mindful focused intention to help direct your mind to what’s really important for that day. Begin with a few minutes of focusing on your breath to settle the mind. Then, gently invite in a project you may be working on, a problem needing to be solved, or the important elements of your day. After a moment or so, let your focus go, and allow the mind to remain relaxed and aware, while free-associating for a few minutes. This practice opens up access to more wisdom and creativity, which actually leads to using our time more effectively. You’ll likely find new insights, perspectives, and creative ideas emerge.
Set Your Day – Determine your most important projects to work on and plan to do them at the optimum time of brainpower for you. For many people, their most creative and productive time is in the morning, but you may find other times that work well too. If you don’t know your optimal times, mindfully check-in at different times of day and notice your creativity level, focus and problem-solving abilities. Within a few days, you’ll likely see a pattern that can help you set your day for optimal performance.
Self-Care Time – Plan time for self care and rejuvenation so you can be your best self. Mindfully check into to what you need. Get that glass of water, get up and stretch your body, eat a good nourishing lunch. If time allows, schedule in time for walk, trip to the gym or yoga class. Perhaps have a fun activity planned to look forward to at the end of the day as a reward.
Reengage and Recommit – Mindfully check-in frequently throughout the day to notice if you are on track and sticking with your goals and schedule for the day. If you find yourself distracted, ask yourself if this is helpful or not. Is the distraction much needed and replenishing self-care? Or are you mindlessly distracted and can use a course correction? If you need to rejuvenate by all means do so. By taking some time to replenish before recommitting, you can avoid burnout, wasting time with meaningless action, and you will come back to the task at hand more resourceful.
Say “No” to Say “Yes” – Saying “No” is a crucial part of staying focused and being effective. Once you’re clear on your priorities, it is easier to know what will bring you closer, or take you away, from what matters most. Keep in mind that saying “No” to distractions (web surfing, low priority errands, requests that aren’t urgent…), allows you to protect your time, attention and energy for priorities. It can help to reconnect to your priorities throughout the day as a guide for what to say “Yes” and “No” to.
At eMindful, our team will be focusing on how we can be our best selves with focused effort and ease. We’ll explore the way we can optimize our performance and effectiveness in different situations, including how we schedule our days, prepare and show up for important projects, success in relationships and much more. Join us this week in our live Mindful Daily Practice Sessions as we redefine the inner quality of our performance to be as important as the more usual outside markers of success.
Also published on Medium.