Back to work: Three strategies for mindful working

Back to work: Three strategies for mindful working

The holidays are over, and it is time to get back to work. Monday arrived so fast and when you opened up your laptop, you got flooded with emails and meeting invites that will take days to catch up on. This can easily ruin that relaxing holiday feeling that you had before arriving at the office.

But it does not have to be this way. You can create new habits for mindful working and start your first day after the holidays doing a few things differently. Worst-case scenario, if it does not work - you have nothing to lose - you just tried something new. Best-case scenario, you will enjoy a great, productive day where everything is under control, including your own mind.

So, here are 3 effective strategies that you can experiment with - right after your holiday or any time you feel you need more focus and peace of mind.

1. Wake up with a “happy why”

About 16-18% of employees in the Netherlands wake up tired and unmotivated to go to work. Lack of motivation means lack of energy for all the tasks we need to do. It may eventually result in depression and even burnout.

To avoid those Monday blues, the first thing you should do when you wake up is think about 2-3 things that you are going to enjoy today. This can be anything, from going the extra mile to make your customers happy (that will make you feel good too), having a great lunch break with your teammate to spending extra time with your family and kids after work.

This way, you are going to boost your motivation and start on a positive note with a “happy why”.

2. Focus on one-tasking vs. multi-tasking

Our brain is designed to focus on one thing, one task at a time - according to the latest discovery of Harvard University. When they asked Harvard MBA students to multi-task they saw that their mental activity dropped to that of an 8-year old child’s.

So, when you arrive at work, give yourself the pleasure of doing one thing at a time, giving your full attention to it - without interruptions. This may mean you need to disconnect from the phone, ignore / block email notifications for a bit and let your colleagues know that you need 2-3 hours of full-focus time.

Every time you find yourself reaching out to check your phone or the email that just popped up - remind yourself that it will lower your brain performance, which means it will take you up to 40% more time to complete what you are doing. So, start one-tasking instead of multi-tasking!

3. Plan some switch-off time

Our brain is able to maintain its peak performance for about 1,5 hours. Afterwards, it simply takes more time and effort to keep going. This means you are running on low fuel, so what you are producing is not going to be your best work.

So, after you have one-tasked and been so productive, you deserve to get up, take a walk and catch up with your colleagues. For your brain to relax, you should switch from mental to physical activity and focus on something pleasant - like sharing the highlights of your vacation with your teammates.

Finally, the easiest way to ruin that holiday after-feeling is to stay up late, trying to catch up on your emails. This will prevent you from having a good night’s sleep and a productive day after, eventually depleting all the energy you built up during holidays - way too fast. So, work hard, but sleep well!

Make these mindful working strategies your new habits to stay stress-free, focused and at your best. You are in control of how you start, live and finish your day - so make the right choices and be mindful!

Do you have any other mindfulness tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Iryna Ivanova


Iryna Ivanova

Iryna Ivanova is a founder and instructor of IBY with focus on the stress release, energy and motivation boost, productivity and performance increase for the corporate world. Iryna comes from...

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