I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I used to make them, and like most people, I never kept them longer than a couple of weeks, so I stopped making them years ago. However, this year, I kept hearing people talk about setting a New Year’s intention instead. I liked the idea and came up with one I wanted to set instantly – and that is to really focus on being present. Being present at work, at home with my family, while working out or even while running errands… wherever I may be, really being there and being in the moment instead of thinking about my to-do list, the next place I need to be, the next thing I need to do, etc. I’ve been thinking of ways to apply this intention at work, and I’ve come up with a list of four specific things I can do to be more present during the workday:
- Leave my computer and phone behind when going into a meeting. It’s way too tempting to take a peek at email, send a quick text, or sneak a glance at Facebook when these devices are nearby.
- Like many office environments today, ours is an open office – which is fantastic most of the time. However, when I really need to focus in order to create a plan or draft messaging, a press release, etc., it can be a bit distracting. So, in order to truly be present with the task at-hand, I again need to lose the phone, turn off email, and find a quiet place where I can work uninterrupted. Not only will this help me truly immerse myself in my work, my hunch is it will help me be faster and more efficient, too.
- On a similar note, when I have to tackle something that may not be my favorite task, rather than simply grin and bear my way through it, I can stay present in the moment by making the moment more enjoyable – perhaps with music, or by lighting a candle or diffusing a wonderful scent. Or sometimes, turning off the bright lights and working with just a soft lamp. Or maybe even all of the above. I may not love the task at-hand, but at least I can love the space in which I’m working on it.
- Finally, being more mindful of not jam-packing my schedule each day. This one is often easier said than done, but it will be a lot easier to stay in the moment if I’m not frantically racing from one commitment to the next with barely enough time to breathe in between, let alone arrive at each one feeling calm and prepared.
These ideas may not be revolutionary, but applying them in the rush of a busy day or week takes a concerted effort. My hope, though, is that in doing so, I will be more present this year – and maybe, just maybe, while I’m sure 2016 will still fly by, perhaps it won’t do so in quite so much of a blur. If you have tips or tricks for staying present – at work or otherwise – please do share. I’d love to hear them!