In January, my colleague Olivia Ward and I took a new online course called Reset by Jocelyn K. Glei, who is also the producer of one of my favorite podcasts: Hurry Slowly. Reset couldn’t have come at a better time for me as Q4 2018 had stretched me to my limits. My so-called work/life balance was scattering like confetti in the wind.
The Reset course is about showing you how to find more meaning and creativity in your daily work. It focuses on resetting work in a way that’s intentional, energizing and inspiring. Over a four-week period, I joined Jocelyn and the first group of students through a series of video talks, reset rituals, meditations and live Q&As. It was a deep cleanse of ways I had been working that were clearly not working anymore.
I highly encourage others to sign up for the next course, as there were many “a-ha” moments of simple adjustments to learn. However, I want to share a few practices for “resetting” your brain at work.
Deep Attention vs. Open Attention
Deep Attention: Schedule time for deep attention tasks during your peak productive hours each day. Deep attention work typically lasts 90 – 120 minutes per day and should be followed by a 30-minute break. According to Jocelyn, top performers do a maximum of three, 90-minute sprints of deep attention work per day. When you add up these minutes it only equals 4.5 hours each day!
Open Attention: I realized most of my work day was dedicated to open attention tasks. This is why I found myself completing larger projects after work hours or early in the morning before my household woke up. Open attention work includes meetings, email triage, phone conversations and more. These tasks demand a lower level of focus while allowing you to remain available to other people.
- Key Practice: Align your attention with your to do list. Block your calendar and stick to it.
“Downtime” Brain & Time Scarcity
“Downtime” Brain: Jocelyn encouraged tapping into your “downtime” brain to increase self-awareness, confidence, and creativity. She shared that when your mind is “at rest” it is only 5-10 percent less active than when you’re consciously focused on a specific task.
Time Scarcity: No one wants to admit they are operating in a time scarcity. But when the time scarcity overview was discussed, I meekly raised my hand. As mentioned above, I was working in a constantly overwhelmed and over-scheduled state.
- Key Practice: White space can give you time to activate the downtime brain. Use and schedule “white space” in your calendar.
Active Rest: We are constantly bombarded with information. Turn it all off. That means don’t consume anything, especially all things digital. For active reset, move to a new space. Use your hand or body – take a walk, hike, meditate, fold laundry, etc. Often I come up with my greatest ideas while folding laundry or walking the dog.
- Key Practice: Build time into your calendar for active rest every day. Or plan a two-hour block once per week for unstructured thinking.
Again, I encourage anyone who needs a work reset to take this course. It offers rituals, additional information and ideas to help start the process of shifting your work style. A special thanks to Jocelyn for offering her insight, encouragement and time to this program and to the leadership team at GroundFloor Media for supporting me and Olivia in this program. To learn more visit: https://reset-course.com/
Amy Moynihan is a Senior Director of Communications at GroundFloor Media, where she leads the firm’s cause marketing for Corporate Social Responsibility programs. With more than 20 years of experience, Amy is a creative thinker, enjoys finding and telling compelling stories and has a passion for building long-term brand engagement programs for clients.