In the previous article – 6 Powerful Reasons Why You Should be Practicing Mindfulness in Your Workplace, we talked about the benefits of practicing mindfulness at your workplace.
Now that you know how mindfulness can make your work life easier, enjoyable, and more meaningful, let’s discuss how to use mindfulness and meditation to achieve work-life balance:
How Mindfulness Can Help You Achieve Work-Life Balance
To many of us, the phrase ‘work-life balance’ feels oxymoronic. That’s because, in a world of 24/7 connectivity and extreme multi-tasking, work feels more and more overwhelmingly omnipresent.
While that may be so:
An extensive research study conducted by Harvard University discovered that of the 15,000 participants they examined in the study, almost all of them wandered off in thought when engaged in most of their tasks.
The study also showed that people tend to be around 20% happier when they live in the moment compared to people who do the same task with a wandering mind.
Maintaining work-life balance is a challenge because most of us wander off in thought while engaged in personal, work, and home chores. Most times, this inability to stay focused and present on tasks limits our ability to complete our responsibilities on time.
That is detrimental because when we fail to complete a task on time, it eats up the time we need to complete another task. In the end, it jam packs our routine, and we end up feeling overwhelmed.
Mindfulness can offer an escape from the problem by helping you become one with the moment. This, in turn, allows you to focus on the task at hand, do it effectively, and complete it on time. When you do this, it becomes easier to relax when it’s time to relax. By creating this symbiosis, it becomes effortless to separate your personal and professional lives. And in turn, this can help you achieve that much sought after work-life balance.
Now that you know how meditation and mindfulness can help you achieve work-life balance, let’s discuss mindfulness meditation strategies/tips you can use to work towards this ever-so elusive state:
How to Achieve Use Mindfulness Meditation to Achieve Work-Life Balance
The following mindfulness-based tactics will help you create balance in your personal and professional life:
#1: Live in the moment
The reason we find it hard to live in the moment is that we give past and future worries a chance to steal our present. This explains why work-life balance feels so unachievable.
Luckily, you can combat this issue by training yourself to live in the present moment.
Here’s how you can do that.
- After every 10 minutes of work, tune into your thoughts. Doing this will help you become aware of the ideas that occupy your mind most of the time.
- When a chore worries you, or whenever a thought like a dinner date captivates your awareness, with kindness and gentleness, acknowledge this mind wandering.
- After this, gently remind yourself of the task at hand. You can even say, “Although the dinner date is important, right now, I need to complete this project report so that I have enough to prepare for a romantic, relaxing night. I will give this report my complete attention.”
- Take a few deep breaths, re-center yourself, and then slowly realign your focus to the task at hand.
- Pay attention to the smallest of steps involved in the process. For instance, pay attention to how you research the topic, how you compile the information, how you prepare a draft for the report, etc. Connecting with the smallest of details will ensure that you take one step at a time, which will increase your awareness and involvement in it.
- As you work on a task, you will wander off in thought many times, which is okay. Whenever that happens, re-center your awareness to the task at hand.
- When you return home from work, use a similar approach so that you can focus on your home-life activities, and disengage from work.
Practice these steps consistently; that is how you train yourself to be mindful of the present, focus on work when at your workplace, and relax once you get home. By making this practice habitual, you will gradually achieve work-life balance.
#2: Block it all out
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center discovered that 26% of people are usually on their mobile phones, and about 43% are online multiples times a day. In another study mentioned in the Entrepreneur, data shows that, on average, we spend a minimum of 2 hours daily on social media.
The study and survey prove that distractions are around us all the time. And unfortunately, all these make it hard for us to focus on work, leisure, family, and personal pursuits at the right time.
A good way to manage this is by blocking these distractions out. Here are a few approaches you can use to do that:
- Delete all addictive social media apps that keep you glued to your phone. As you do that, which may be emotionally painful, focus only on how this move will give you clarity, calmness, and work-life balance. These reasons will keep you from re-installing the apps.
- If deleting apps is too much for you, sign out of all social media apps so that you have to sign in every time you need to use them. This will create a demotivating obstacle that will reduce how often you use these apps.
- Create a 1-2 hour time window that you use to check and respond to your emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media notifications. Every time you feel the urge to use your phone, go online or scroll through social media outside your dedicated time window, remind yourself of the tasks at hand and the time window dedicated to those tasks, and re-focus on what you were doing.
- When doing office work and when spending time alone or with your family at home, place your phone away from you. Switch it off or hide it in a drawer. If you do this a few times, you’ll soon build a habit of it, which will make you better able to disengage from meaningless distractions that keep you from maintaining work-life balance.
Start working on these remedies today. How good you feel about your life in a matter of days will surprise you.
#3: Know your priorities
If you don’t know your priorities, you are likely to struggle to experience balance in your work and personal life.
Prioritizing is the art to understanding your responsibilities and then creating a schedule that allows you to tend to your high responsibilities and tasks first. Clear priorities, both related to your work and personal life, help you know what matters most and then pursue it actively to balance your life.
Here are a few strategic steps you can take to master the art of prioritizing:
- Write down what matters most to you in your personal and professional life, then create goals based on those reasons.
- For every goal, identify your most important task.
- Create a schedule where your high priority tasks come first, and start tending to them mindfully, one at a time.
- Once your work hours end, pack up your work, leave it at your workplace, and go home intending to relax deeply.
- Similarly, when your work hours start, leave your worries at home and tend to your work schedule actively.
Using mindfulness and meditation to achieve work-life balance takes consistency and time. As you work towards it, keep reminding yourself of why you must be mindful. That, and reading positive quotes, will increase your commitment to these practices
In my book – How To Be Mindful Of Thoughts: Steps To Achieving Mindfulness And Living In The Moment (Buddha on the Inside Book 3), I discuss various other approaches you can use to increase mindfulness. Get your copy and see your productivity at work increase rapidly.
Written with beginners in mind, It will teach you:
- The basics of mindfulness, including what it really is, what it entails, how it works and more
- Why you need to nurture mindfulness
- How mindfulness and leadership coexist
- How to transform your life with different mindfulness techniques
- How to observe your thoughts, manage your emotions and feel good with mindfulness-based meditative techniques
- How to make mindfulness part of your everyday life to derive all its benefits
…And so much more!