Last week when I discussed this with one of my Coaching Clients, he was surprised and ended up asking me if there is something called as a relaxed Workday at all. Well my intention is not to disappoint many of you but there actually is one if we can manage to find it. Most of the people I interact with as clients and as friends are overwhelmed with their respective workdays. This is one of the reasons why Stress is such a big factor in our lives. Hence here I am typing away on a salubrious day in Bangalore to share ways to create a more peaceful workday. One where you can allow yourself to be more relaxed and happy.
The first step is the realization that you are in control of your day. You can create the perfect workday if you’re willing to start from scratch
For some people that may mean taking some tough steps if their boss or their workplace is very controlling about how they do their work. For example you might talk to your boss about restructuring your workday. It might also mean looking for a new job that’s more flexible if you’re not happy with the way things are. It could just mean picking up the tips below that work best for you and living with the least amount of stress. Do what works best for you.
For me a perfect workday incorporates many of the tips below but never all of them at once. I use a combination of strategies as always to ensure that most of my days are fairly relaxed. Do I still get stressed? Undoubtedly,but it’s a far less frequent thing than in the past. You can pick and choose which one works for you
Prepare the night before: An evening routine is essential to starting your day right. This might include things like choosing your three Most Important Tasks for the next day. You will then know what you’re going to do when you get into work. It might mean even a simple thing as getting your clothes ready for the next day. I have always noticed that how you begin your day will go a long way in creating a positive road map for the whole day. This will take a couple of minutes before you retire for the night but when you program at the sub conscious level the results are dramatic the next day.
Do less: It’s 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. I always make sure I choose three important things to achieve each day as I’ve said before. Those are the three things I can do today that will have the most positive impact in my life going forward.
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 some quiet working time. For me it means getting up at the crack of dawn and practicing my Yoga for an hour or so. For others it might be a good run or a walk round the park. Its important to create your morning routine since this is something which will put you into a positive frame of mind for the whole day.
Get in some morning exercise: I don’t get to do my Yoga exercises every single morning but I try do it on most of the days for sure. At times a nice morning run is a wonderful thing for me. It relaxes me while giving me a sense of well being and accomplishment. I believe that the best time to do any kind of exercise is always early in the morning for the simple reason that you are on an empty stomach. if you are done with some kind of exercise early then however your day is you will not have missed working out. Some ask why I insist on some kind of exercise. well to be frank I have seen both sides of the coin and exercising makes a world of difference to a persons well being.
Work when it’s quiet: I loved to work early in the mornings when everyone is yet to get into office. For others it might be late at night (which is a dangerous trend catching up of late in the workplace). When I was working in a regular office, I liked to get in before everyone else so that I could get in some decent work before things got busy. I would also work during lunch while everyone else was out — I just liked the quiet area around me. Getting in early also allowed me to leave early so that I could spend time with myself either working out or indulging in a good swim.
Create a clutter-free environment: This is key for me as you might also know by now. I like my desk clear of any clutter. Right now the only thing on my desk is my laptop (I’m paperless now). it’s OK to have a couple of family pictures or some artifacts but too much stuff is just visual distraction. Clear your walls of everything but a nice picture or two. Clutter-free surroundings create a peaceful positive working environment
Cut back on your commitments:Evaluate all the things you’ve 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. What I have observed with people is that most of them over commit which does not help them in any way.
Cut out meetings: If you have the ability to opt out of meetings, please do so. They are generally a waste of time. Sure, it’s possible that a meeting is the most productive way to do something, but it’s rarely done that way now. Usually the point of a meeting could be accomplished with email or an IM. Cutting out meetings could free up a lot of time and make your workday more relaxed. Sometime I had quick meetings with my respective business heads standing so that it would get over in 10-15 minutes flat. Be creative and see if you can come up with something precise and to the point.
Single-task: For me, focus is everything. Bringing up this article would take twice as long and be much less peaceful if I was constantly interrupted by switching between this and email/ surfing the web/other tasks. I like to focus on one task at a time and really lose myself in the writing. I keep my distractions to the minimum. At times I do not answer calls to stay focused at do one thing at a time.
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, walk up to someone and give a positive compliment. Make his/her day more meaningful. I would never shy away from giving compliments to people around me.
Go for a walk: I also like to take a break and go for a walk. It helps me to get a different perspective and most importantly when the environment changes so does the thought process. If you have not tried this, just go for a walk outside your workstation when you are trying to think of a solution to a pressing issue. Also not to mention that going for a short walk every hour or two helps in blood circulation and calorie burn.
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 as it goes out. This always helped me to center myself no matter what is going on with work. Some of my Clients have learnt to do this in their cars or conference room and swear by it as to how much of a difference it has made to their productivity and focus.
Learn to focus on the present: Basically 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. 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.
Flow Like water: There will always be things that go wrong. What is important is how we react to them — do we go all Drama Queen and get stressed out? Or do we 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 realize 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.
I do hope that some of you would have figured out your own answers or learnt something new through my words. By the way you can do me a favor by sharing this amongst your friends,contacts or even team members.If it helps someone then why not share it is my ideology.
If you do not agree with my thoughts or want to reach out to me do mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org or you could also drop a line at my Facebook page.