“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” – Lily Tomlin
Are you a bit overwhelmed by your workday? How about some ways to create a more peaceful day? One where you can allow yourself to be more relaxed and happier.
The first step is the realisation that you are in control of your day. You can create the perfect workday if you are willing to put in the effort.
Here’s how you can do it…
Do less. It is very difficult to have a relaxed workday if you have too much going on. Instead, learn to reduce what you do, but choose the most impactful tasks and projects — the ones that will mean the most over the long term. Choose the three important things to achieve each day. Those are the three things you can do today that will have the most impact on your tomorrow, and the rest of the week.
Create a morning routine. And make it a relaxing one. That could include some of the things below, such as exercise, a hot bath, or quiet working time. It could mean getting up earlier so you aren’t rushed, having a quiet cup of coffee, or journaling. Choose things that will ensure you start the day perfectly.
Prepare the night before. An evening routine is also essential to starting your day right. This might include things like choosing your three Most Important Tasks for the next day, so you know what you are going to do when you wake up. It might mean getting your clothes ready or getting a jump start on preparing your lunch.
Start the day with a relaxing shower. A hot shower can not only rejuvenate you, but it can be a perfect way to start off the day. It gets you in a relaxed mood, which is much better than starting the day stressed out.
Get in some morning exercise. You don’t have to do it every single morning, but if you can fit it in most mornings it is a great start to your day. A nice morning run is a great way to energise you and gives you a sense of well being and accomplishment.
Work when it’s quiet. Whether you go in early or stay late, use the quiet time to focus and get heaps done without the interruptions. Starting work early can also mean you have the opportunity of finishing early if your workplace has flexible working hours.
Create a clutter-free environment. A clutter free desk can help you have a clutter free mind. Only have the things you really need in your line of sight. Too many items can cause a visual distraction. Clear your walls of everything but a nice piece of art or a family photo. Clutter-free surroundings create a peaceful working environment.
Turn off the distractions. That means phones, email notification, instant messaging, anything that will break into your focus and make you jump from one thing to another.
Cut back on your commitments. Evaluate all the things you have got going on in your life, and see what isn’t essential. This means choosing 4-5 essential things in your life and trying to eliminate the rest over time.
Cut out meetings. If you have the ability to opt out of meetings, do so. They are generally a waste of time. Usually, the content of a meeting could be accomplished with an email or an Instant Message. Cutting out meetings could free up a lot of time and make your workday more relaxed.
Single-task. Focus is everything. Constant interruptions or switching between tasks wastes time. So, focus on one task at a time for productivity and efficiency.
Take breaks and stretch. While focusing on one task at a time is important, it’s also important to take breaks when you can. Get up, stretch, get a glass of water. Massage your shoulders, neck and head. It keeps you relaxed throughout the day.
Go for a walk. Taking a walking break can help you gain a refreshed perspective. It gives you time to think and to get a better overall picture of your workday. Plus it gets the blood circulating.
Eat lunch how you like. If you are a social person then catch up with friends or have a lunchtime meeting. But if you are the quiet type, don’t be afraid to take time out with a book, meditation, or reflection.
Do mini-meditations. This doesn’t require a mat or a temple or soothing tapes or anything. Just sit where you are, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing — on your breath as it comes into your body, and then goes out. This can help you to centre yourself, no matter what is going on with work.
Learn to focus on the present. Instead of worrying about what you have to do in the future, and reliving things you did in the past, focus on what you’re doing right now. This can be difficult, as our minds have a tendency to wander to other things, but it’s simply a matter of practice – be aware of where your mind is, and when it drifts to other things, gently bring it back to the present. This helps keep your mind in a peaceful place all day long.
Roll with the punches. There will always be things that go wrong. What is important is how you react to them — do you go all Drama Queen, and get stressed and upset? Or do you accept what has happened, and make a calm decision about what to do now? When things get overwhelming, take a step back to get some perspective, and realise that in a few months, none of this will really matter much. Then take steps to eliminate the non-essential and focus on what’s really important.
“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” – Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes