Since the turn of the year, I have engaged in two new regular routines designed to make me more productive, more focused and happier. For me, happiness is the key to great mindfulness and well-being. The more productive and focused I am, the happier I become.
In the morning, I meditate for 15 minutes, exercise for 40 minutes, shower, dress and have my breakfast. While eating, I read. Each day a page of “The Secret: Daily Teachings” by Rhonda Byrne and, currently, “Infinite Self” by Stuart Wilde. Then, and only then do I switch on my computer and check my phone while it is booting up. Then, I complete my priority tasks.
Now we all know that in real life, with its many distractions and disruptions, this approach will not always work out as planned. An important call diverts your attention, a close friend or colleague needs some help, there is always the potential for refreshed priorities.However, in the few months, I’ve followed this approach I have noticed a significant difference in productivity and focus. I’ve also become more purposeful and happier.
Three other ways I’ve changed up my mindfulness are these.
I treat my phone more as a tool rather than an extension of my body. People seem to be totally wedded to their Smartphones and even take them to bed. I used to until I heard Brian Fanso of iSocialFanz fame speak at the Dublin Social Media Summit in March.
In his session, he gave an impassioned speech, during which he asked who in the audience took their device – phone, tablet, iPad – to bed. It seemed nearly all of the audience did this. Brian challenged us and said this was not necessary. In response, someone said he used it to wake himself up.”Buy an alarm clock, like normal people”, said Brian. The point was made instantly to me. We all need some relief from the incessant flow of information. Now my phone stays on my office desk – it’s a tool, not another appendage!
My fourth suggestion is to talk to a stranger. I regularly do it while traveling to appointments, often on the Metro train to Newcastle or while I am traveling abroad. Why do this? It is simple. It breaks the autopilot of our mind and helps us to realize that there is more to life than our connections with family, friends and work colleagues. I’ve had some fascinating conversations in random encounters with strangers.
I also think it is important as not only might they bring a new perspective to my thinking, but they also value the connection because, in part, you are demonstrating your care for other human beings. In a society that, at times, seems terrified of its own shadow, it is good to reach out to others.
My final tip is to do something new with your partner. My wife and I do this, mainly, through our traveling. We try new places and new experiences. For example, this year in Bali we’ve taken a Balinese cooking course, attended the Legong dance, walked the Campuhan Ridge, luxuriated in the Karsa Spa and eaten duck at Bebek Tempe Sawa, one of Bali’s most famous restaurants.
Last month, we visited the Scilly Isles for the first time. While there, we spoke to many strangers, both locals and tourists and struck up a friendship with a couple from Dorset. We shared some wonderful times walking, talking, eating together and learning about each other. Such experiences not only help to refresh the bond my wife and I share but also break routines and habits that might otherwise limit our thinking and feeling.
Exploring mindfulness in these ways, adds to your sense of well-being. So if you want to be more mindful on a Monday, give them a try. I am sure you will be excited by the positive change in yourself.
I am always happy to engage in conversation and would be delighted to hear from you about your experiences of being more mindful.
In today’s rush, we all think too much – seek too much – want too much – and forget about the joy of just being. – Eckhart Tolle