We live in a world where we are constantly under pressure to deliver, to be more productive and resourceful. A new approach to dealing with this is ‘Mindfulness’. So what is Mindfulness and how can it help you achieve your career goals and give you a better work/life balance in 2016?
Mindfulness is described as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts.” It’s about observation without criticism and being compassionate with yourself.
The one thing that’s had the greatest impact on our careers and our lives is new technology. We have super fast broadband, laptops, tablets and smart phones; everything we need to be able to access and process information instantly and constantly. Whilst we can see so many benefits of this we can also feel the disadvantages such as finding time to switch off.
If you are self employed, like me, it’s easy to start checking your emails late at night. Sometimes you can end up saying “yes” to everything because you don’t want to let people down but this can lead to feeling overwhelmed with deadlines and expectations.
When we go on holiday, the laptop should have a break too and be left at home, not end up on the beach with us.
If you are an employee you can end up taking work home with you or finding the company’s new technology becoming more of a stress factor than a help. Mass emails and being copied in to everything and anything, filing and prioritising them, scheduling appointments, reading important information and articles, working with complex online systems, intranets, digital forms and so on.
Mindfulness is about being in the present. Taking time to breathe. Not taking everything personally and bringing control back in to your life.
It’s a form of ‘mental training’ – looking at things from a difference perspective and putting yourself back in the driving seat. For example, scheduling yourself some ‘me time’. Time to focus on what you have achieved in your work – but not for the whole of 2015 – just today.
Switch your phone off for while and do something that will re-energise you. Exercise is a fantastic way to invigorate your body and your mind. If you’re feeling stressed or struggling to complete something, often the best course of action is to walk away from it and return to it with a fresh perspective.
Start to avoid negative thoughts when they appear. Look at things from a more positive angle. Rather than focusing on all those things you didn’t get to do this year and worrying about how you are going to achieve those goals for 2016 – just breathe and focus on making the very best of what you do right now!