I woke early this morning around 5am. I couldn’t fall asleep again. Sadly I missed the much vaunted early productivity because I was distracted by life these days.
A Clean Mind Policy
Most organisations have a clean desk policy. For productivity and for security of information, desks should be cleared regularly. As someone who likes to work in the inspiration of piles, books and mess, clean desk policies haven’t always been comfortable. However, I recognise the value of a mindful approach.
Now that we are forced to work from home, we need to take the same care with our mindfulness. A clean mind policy can contribute to our health, happiness and productivity. We can’t empty our minds (not least in these circumstances), but we can acknowledge thoughts and put them in their place.
My tweet above was tongue-in-cheek, but there is value in a clean mind policy:
- End days by spending 5 to 10 minutes planning to clear the anxiety and set up the start of the next day
- Start days with some priority-setting to know what must come first and sift the important from the urgent
- Take breaks to reset your energy and be ready to work again.
- If other challenges need your time, stop work.
- Don’t multi-task (if you can avoid it). Disruptions ruin productivity. It’s better to stop completely than shift back and forth.
- Breathe. Meditate if you can. If you don’t meditate to improve mindfulness, at least take some deep breaths to reset your focus.
- Postpone worry. Focus on what you can do now. There will be time for consequences later. It’s never too late to worry. Worry is never about now. Don’t mix crisis and work if you can.
- Celebrate the end of tasks. Give your mind the reward of progress.
- Laugh. The responses to the tweet thread above completely reset my mood and enabled me to enter the day more productively.
Lastly, and most importantly, forgive yourself some anxieties, some lack of focus and some challenges in these times. The power of a clean mind is seeing life as it is, not as it should be. We can only work with what we have. Anything else is just a messy thought looking for a bin.