Some typical work habits and distractions
With a third of our lives (and usually around half of our waking day – or more) working in our job, looking after the children, family or clients, it makes perfect sense to fantasise as to how somehow we could find a life ‘recipe’ with less effort but better quality and experience of work. These fantasies tend not to be about spending more but about spending less time at work and more having fun, being with those with love, or perhaps doing something pleasurable. Do you find yourself doing that? I do and it is quite catchy. But that is just a fantasy right? It’s just one of those distracting thoughts we may simply have ahead of a pile of admin on our desk on a Monday morning (or still there by Friday maybe as other ‘more important’ things take priority), or ahead of a difficult meeting, or when facing a challenging colleague or customer, or maybe at those times when we would like to (…and may be at times can’t help to) be very honest with our boss or employee (or just carry on fantasising about it!). Then, very often we land back into reality or find yourself dwelling in regret or sorrow, therefore adding negative evaluations and thoughts on top of were initially pleasurable fantasies. Where does this lead us? Usually to spending less and less time in the here-and-now and spending longer and longer being absent from what’s in front of us.
If distractions were less, would spare time be more?
Picture for a few moments: what if you could be spending less time at work (This may particularly apply if you are one of those typical working adults always arriving early, staying later and putting yourself last on the to do list)? And what if, while at work, you would be able to notice and therefore catch yourself from drifting into fantasy or worrying thoughts? What if you could be more productive, make less mistakes, love more what you do (admittedly that doesn’t just mean liking everything all the time!)…and what if you could practice and manage being less pressured by work (and life in general) and you could, as a result, be able to lead both more productive work and also personal lives, and therefore turning fantasies (about working less but getting more) into reality?
Why mindfulness in the workplace?
Mindfulness is becoming an increasingly sought-after set of techniques in the workplace. Word leading provider Rasmus Hougaard, founder of ‘The Potential Project’ has developed a throughout and in-depth understanding of the application of Mindfulness approaches to organisations including American Express, Nike, IKEA, Carlsberg and many more. If it is good enough for them surely it is good enough for us? So what if there is a chance we may just be able to get ourselves ‘One Second Ahead’ (as Houggard and colleagues suggest) of all (or many more of ) our work-related challenges…but how?
First of all, it is important to be aware of and understand there has been a shift in the past century from (predominantly) human ‘beings’ to (incessant) human ‘doings’ has contributed to us having P.A.I.D. a high price:
- Pressure is now the norm: there isn’t one moment in a busy person’s day at work (and same at home) when we have to be physically or cognitively active (just with our head: thoughts, lists, analysis, comparison, remembering, predicting, etc. etc.).
- Always on: with this constant doing with are a bit like a pressure cooker with the fire always on, below it…building up thoughts, building up plans
- Information overload: at this point, it may feel a little like driving your car with the hand-break on: trying harder to accelerate only to burn the engine out (physically and psychologically)
- Distracted: as we are overloaded with information, start working harder and make our brain fill threatened (believe it or not, the chemicals going through your body will be the same as those going through your body when being chased by a lion – just a lot more subtly and a lot more often – slow poisoning in a sense. Thus, the brain will (in an attempt to protect us) in automatic pilot – lead us into distraction (pleasant or unpleasant – remember the fantasies above?) thoughts, fantasies, behaviours that may help us escape the ‘information-overload lion’ (…ever had a pressing deadline but not being able to focus on it, found every excuse or behaviour to avoid it, such as eating chocolate, doing unnecessary phone calls, having unnecessary snacks, …do you have any others?)
In turn, this P.A.I.D. experience leads us therefore to being more distracted, less productive, therefore less focussed and less able to perform our duties. Do you recognised having P.A.I.D. the price? If so, don’t despair. While adaptation to the P.A.I.D. reality is a normal reaction, in the next articles I will start by offering you small insights and invites to incorporate quick habit-releasers to start getting a ‘refund’ from the P.A.I.D. reality. Stay tuned in