If you’re like most people, in the past you’ve probably thought something along the lines of “wow, I’ve been so busy all day, but what did I accomplish?” Right? So we all know that there’s definitely a difference between being busy and being productive. In fact, many of us are just doing too much—we aren’t focusing finishing on one individual task. Instead, we’re doing many things at once and not finishing any of them!
We need to keep up and keep going is driving people to do more, but actually live with less.
So what do we need to do to change this? We need to learn how to “recover” from our everyday life. Things like: work, technology, people, fitness, food, and simply being awake! When you learn to recover from each of these activities you’ll be more fully engaged in them.
Recover from work
The problem is that even over the weekends many of us have trouble recovering from work. Why? Because we’re not disconnected—it’s still on our minds. We leave work and we’re still thinking about all the things we have to do when we get back. We’re trying to think of solutions to the problems we’re having at work. Some of us may even sit down and do some work!
So how do we recover from work?
When you’re at work, be all there, give it 100% of your attention. When it’s time to go home, get work completely out of our mind and give your all to other areas of your life: family, hobbies, etc. Just don’t think about work!
It can be hard to do, but with a little mindfulness, you’ll learn to recognize when you begin to think about work, remind yourself that now’s not the time, and turn your attention back to the present.
Recover from technology
Admit it, we’re all kind of addicted to our smartphones. In fact, one study found that we pick up our phones and check them over 85 times each day (learn how to mindfully reduce that number here). We’re “always on” and not living in the present moment. This also doesn’t help us to disconnect from work either, since most of us get work notifications on our phones.
While it’s not fathomable to quit using your phone throughout the day, one thing you can do to help you recover from technology is to set boundaries for yourself.
Set a certain time in the evening during which you’ll put your phone away for the night. In the morning, set a time when you’ll allow yourself to begin using your phone again.
Set your “end use” time at least 1-2 hours before you plan to go to bed; any later can interfere with the quality of sleep you get. Set your “start use” time at least a 30-60 minutes after you’ve woken up, but a few hours is even better. But try to avoid mindless activities (like scrolling through Facebook) for 2-4 more hours.
Since you won’t be reaching for your phone straight away in the morning to check your email and social media, do something productive. Eat breakfast and then workout, learn something, or do something creative—do something for you.
And in the evening, do something to relax. Read a book, have a conversation with someone, meditate, practice yoga, journal… whatever relaxes you!
My biggest mindful phone tip: try to keep your phone out of arm’s reach at all times. If you have to make a conscious effort to stand up and go grab your phone, you’ll be less likely to mindlessly waste time checking it.
Think you can do it?
I challenge you to try to do each of these things and help yourself recover from work and technology this week!
Next week I’ll cover the other 4 areas of our lives that we need to recover from: people, fitness, food, and being awake!