Well, here we are in the first days of 2018. Another year has slipped through our grasp, and we’ve set about making plans for positive change and growth in the new year. But with newly laid, ambitious plans moving forward, where do we find the time to fit in personal growth on top of our existing responsibilities? While working to make a #NewMe to accompany the new year, we’re going to have to find ways to work more mindfully. While instinct may tell you to work faster to accomplish more, I’d argue that by slowing down, reclaiming your morning, taking the time to stop and think, and taking breaks, you can increase your productivity and find more time to accomplish all your goals for 2018.
Reclaim Your Morning
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone. While I am scrolling through the morning notifications, I can already hear the morning news reports blaring from my roommate’s bedroom. I have to wonder – why do we do this to ourselves? I don’t want to start my day buried in a Facebook newsfeed, or hearing about the latest Presidential tweet, but I do it to myself every single morning.
Here’s my radical idea – go screenless. No phones, no TV, just you and your thoughts. Think about what you want to accomplish for the day. Check in on your #NewMe progression. Maybe even put pen to paper and craft a plan for the day ahead. Reclaim your morning, and begin your day with a clear headspace. You’ll walk into work feeling brighter, and ready to take on the challenges ahead.
When starting a new task, it is easy to set your sight on the end goal without giving yourself time for proper planning. I recently jumped into an interview with one of PCL’s field engineers about our use of a Robotic Total Station to assist in self-performing concrete on a high-rise apartment tower in downtown Orlando. A few minutes into the interview, I realized I understood almost nothing about what this engineer was saying to me. Slab edges, concrete forms, established controls, placing sleeves…I was lost. By asking a lot of questions and taking diligent notes, I got myself through the interview, but afterward I thought to myself, why didn’t I Google “pouring concrete slabs” and “Robotic Total Stations” before going into this interview?
The lesson here is: slow down. Take some time to stop and think about what you know and what you need to learn before going into a new task. If I had pumped the breaks before initiating the interview process, I could have spared myself the embarrassment of some truly naïve questions, while ultimately saving time for myself and my gracious interviewee. Stop and think. Do your research. Google is your friend.
Take a Break
Don’t let your goal-oriented mindset get in the way of taking care of yourself throughout the work day. Sometimes walking away from your task at hand is the best thing you can do for yourself to reset and return to work with a clear and focused mind. Literally walk away. Get up and move. Your Fitbit is begging for it. Take a quick walk outside, or a lap around the office, stretch those legs, and come back feeling refreshed.
Need a quick break but you already got your 10,000 steps in? Introduce some yogic breathing into your day. Even when meeting the demands of a busy day in the office, it is important to take care of yourself, to keep yourself operating at peak performance.
Despite our busy lives and the rapidly evolving world pushing each of us to constantly move faster, faster, faster – slow down. Think carefully. Be mindful. Know where you’re going before you’re on your way there. Protect your headspace, treat yourself to tranquil moments and plenty of breaks. With each passing year we navigate a path of continual self-improvement, but we can’t get where we are going without pacing ourselves. Take the time to give yourself what you need. Be patient and appreciate the journey. Slow down.
– Michael Porter, Marketing Coordinator