There’s no doubt about it: the past year has been extremely challenging in so many ways. From worries and anxieties about our health to improvised homeschooling and uncertainty in business, we’ve been put under a lot of pressure.
But how does that constant pressure affect us? Well, our natural instinct is to distract ourselves. A recent study revealed that 58% of people reported that they struggled to stay focused at work, making it easier to get locked into negative thinking patterns.
Many people in the business world are weaving mindfulness exercises into their everyday routine – and for good reason. Organizational psychologists have proven time and time again that these exercises can boost cognitive flexibility, reduce your stress levels and actually help you be more effective in your work. So, how can we get started? Try taking 5 minutes out your day to use Headspace, Calm or Simple Habit. These simple apps help to clear your thoughts, focus your mind and calm your body. If you’d rather stay off-screen, try taking a walk, listening to a relaxing podcast or getting moving – anything to give yourself that physical breather.
Did you know we receive 11 million bits of information each second, but can only really process 40 in the same time frame? Although we can’t always decrease the amount of information we receive (think about your inbox!), we can optimise how we tackle that information. Try using time blocking techniques to focus your attention on one task a a time. When you stop trying to multi-task and try “deep work” by setting aside separate time for emailing, admin, projects and meetings, you’ll see your productivity increase by up to 40%.
When you take a positive approach to your work, psychologists say you’re more likely to be able to adapt to new situations and feel like you have some control over your environment. It’s all about putting energy and motivation into your work, even when the going gets tough. The good thing is, we’re all in this together! So, surround yourself with positive people who can help spur you on in your career journey (the Dweet Slack Community is a great place to start). When you start to build lasting relationships with your peers, you’ll feel more supported and connected, which will in turn lower your stress levels.
Our culture tends to celebrate resilience as how much we can take before we feel exhausted. But it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s about how well you can recharge. In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington wrote “We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity, but ironically, our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we spend at work, adds up to 11 days of lost productivity per year, per worker”. That’s a lot of stress we’re putting ourselves under. If you really want to build resilience, you can start by strategically stopping and re-adjusting your work-life balance. Perhaps it means taking a mental break every 90 minutes to recharge your batteries. Maybe it’s deciding you’re no longer cramming in work on evenings or weekends. It could even be as simple as building in some tech-free time into your day.
Change and challenges are constant throughout our careers, whatever path we choose. When you focus on building resilience and know how to boost your morale, both you and your clients will feel the benefit.
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