Seeking quiet

Medibank member Bron tries out five ways of finding focus and calm at work.

Monday – a break over lunch

It’s so simple and so often repeated, but taking a lunch break is so good. When you’re in the midst of a busy day, you feel like you can’t leave your desk – as though just sitting there will make you more productive. What you don’t realise is how much focus and energy a break restores. I usually eat lunch at my desk but today I stepped away. I didn’t take long – around 25 minutes to have some lunch and read a couple of chapters of my book. I came back to my desk feeling a little bit removed, which was a refreshing way to ease back into the afternoon.

Tuesday – mindfulness on the train

Today I used the 40-minute train trip into work to reflect on the day and week ahead. Instead of reaching for my phone the moment the train doors closed for mindless Facebook trawling, I just sat. It felt strange at first, not doing something with my hands, but after a while it was relaxing. I noticed the sounds, became more aware of the shape of the seats, their fabric, the colourful flecks on the surface of the train floor. I thought about the morning ahead, what I wanted to get started on and what things I wanted to achieve. When we arrived at my stop, I walked off feeling clear-headed.

Wednesday – control the day

I’ve realised that you can have a good breakfast, exercise before work, arrive on time and still, somehow, your day can slip out of your control. You start opening emails, then the phone rings, you go off on a few tangents, more emails come in and you forget to answer the first few. Open some browser tabs, dive back into emails and the phone rings again. Before you know it, the day seems to have lost its purpose and you’re in catch-up mode. To help with this, today I didn’t fire up my computer until I’d planned out my day. I wrote what I wanted to get through on paper and tried hard to stick to it. I didn’t leave emails half written, but tried to focus on each individual thing I was doing at a time. It was hard, and everything felt like it was taking a long time, but I noticed I didn’t feel so scatterbrained at the end of the day.

Thursday – take time to recap

Today I scheduled 20 minutes in my diary after each meeting to reflect on what was achieved and what needed to be followed up. It felt productive. So often I walk into meetings not as prepared as I should be or walk out and don’t give enough thought to what was discussed. What a waste of time. This year I made a resolution to really invigorate my time at work and try to stay engaged and enthusiastic. I think a simple thing like this each day will really help.

Friday – a dine-in coffee

I get a takeaway coffee most days but today I decided to sit and have it in. It was a nice change. I noticed a lot of other people from work doing the same and thought, what have I been missing? Coffee can be functional but it’s also something I enjoy and I liked having it in an actual cup, reading the paper for 10 minutes and taking a moment. When you think of the hours you spend at your desk, it pays to consider what you can do to ensure you’re getting the most out of your time there. This feels like an easy win.


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