Guest contribution from Wendy Quan
Do you habitually check your email or social media messages? After all, the messages we receive are entertaining and may also make you feel important. But when does this habitual checking become disruptive to your life, productivity or focus?
Speaking from past experience, I remember when at the end of most work days, I didn’t know where my time had gone. I knew I was sitting at my computer a lot, but what did I have to show for it? My to-do list certainly wasn’t getting done.
Once I came to this painful realization, I put my mindfulness knowledge into action. I immediately noticed a boost in my productivity and my ability to stay focused on what was important throughout my day. Here’s how you can create this same awareness.
Notice the urge. Make a choice.
Mindfulness teaches you to be more aware of your thoughts and even cravings. When you get that urge to check your messages just because you feel like checking them, pause and observe that urge. This takes only a second or two. Recognize that urge and make a choice. Do you honestly need to check, or would you rather stay focused and productive?
Notice derailment. Make a choice.
When you do decide to check your messages, you may feel an immediate urge to act on your messages. Before you know it, you’ve spent 10 minutes composing a response that wasn’t even urgent. You’ve even forgotten what you intended to work on before you checked your messages – you’ve been derailed!
As you read your messages, take a moment to mindfully notice your urge to act on it now. Make a conscious choice as to whether acting on it now or later is the right thing to do.
Practice checking your urges and you will likely enjoy the freedom from this habit and see an improvement in your productivity.
Wendy Quan is an industry leader in helping organizations implement self-sustaining mindfulness meditation programs to create change resiliency. She is the founder of The Calm Monkey, the first and only online and in-person training and certification of its kind, which turns experienced meditators into Mindfulness Meditation Facilitators in the workplace and community.
Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley and the global Association of Change Management Professionals and the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources. Her client list includes individuals from around the world and organizations such as Google and the government of Dubai. Her life’s purpose is to help people create a better experience of life.