As we return to work after a much-needed summer holiday, now is a great time to set up a new routine to promote productivity and positive well-being. After a very challenging 2020, many of us are hoping for a better 2021. To set ourselves up for success, a key strategy is focusing our actions and intentions on aspects of our lives that we can control. This includes our schedule, our thoughts and activities. By also implementing daily well-being activities, we will be supporting our mental health and well-being so that when we are faced with challenging situations, we will feel better equipped to face these head on, rather than crumbling under pressure.
Give your schedule a face-lift
We thrive off routines, they provide us certainty, predictability and stability. When we have a daily routine, it allows us to gain a sense of control over our day and can boost our productivity. If your calendar dictated your life last year, take back some control over your schedule. Throughout your day, introduce mindful gaps, which will allow you to be mindful and present in the activity or meeting you are in.
Try setting your meetings to be 50 mins instead of 1 hour, or 25 mins instead of 30 mins. By doing this, you will give yourself 5 – 10 mins to reflect on the meeting outcomes and consolidate any actions, regroup, and set your intention and approach for your upcoming meeting. You will feel less rushed and more in control of your day. Finally, set aside 30 mins at the end of the day for admin tasks that might be pushed aside or forgotten during a day full of meetings.
Identify energy-depleting behaviours
In order to re-charge at the end of your day, be mindful of energy-depleting behaviours throughout your day and the costs of these behaviours. By taking responsibility for changing these behaviours, you will shortly see your energy levels increase and be more sustained throughout your day. Energy-depleting behaviours may include: working through your lunch break, late bedtime or a high caffeine or alcohol intake. By making small changes such as taking a lunch break, reducing your alcohol intake and limiting your coffee to one cup a day, you will be able to see the effects on your energy levels, regardless of the circumstances you are facing.
Switching off rituals
Ensure each day, you engage in switching off rituals to assist with winding down. While you are working remotely, aim to “leave work, at work”. At the end of a working day, often we can feel too tired to engage in non-work activities, so brainstorm activities you enjoy and schedule them into your day to commit to them. Write down all of the non-work activities that you enjoy, that promote feelings of relaxation, control and mastery. It may be cooking, exercising, spending quality time with your children, going for a walk with your partner or even engaging in mindfulness practice. While these activities won’t remove the stress in our lives, they will help us wind down at the end of the day and encourage rest and relaxation.
Strategise with your manager
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to sit down with your manager and set your targets and work goals for the first quarter of the year. Discuss what projects you are currently working on and the strategy that you will take to achieve the required outcomes. This is also a great time to discuss your needs and concerns for these projects including resourcing, flexibility or additional support.
As we return back to work, aim to make one of your goals for the new year to prioritise your well-being by implementing small, daily practices into your day.
Source: Centre for Corporate Health