“This is so clearly your classroom,” Jen said as she entered my room.
She was right. It brimmed with my personality– bright posters, inspirational quotes, sorting tables for organized piles. Class started with a quiet warm-up. On Mondays, I told a funny story. Fridays ended with a Happy Sheet offering insight irrelevant to history. Our personality goes everywhere—even to work– hopefully making what we do more manageable and enjoyable. Here, some thoughts on how to use your lifestyle approach to tackle your work with flair.
Don’t Let Work Manage You.
Use the awareness you have gained in life to help you streamline your work. By now, you have a sense of what organizing system works for you and you should maximize your awareness to give you the calm and focus you need on all fronts.
Because I teach on Friday mornings, my last official day in the office each week is on Thursday (my office time is limited to when Happy is at preschool or napping so I don’t get much office time on Fridays and I try really hard not to work on the weekends since my office is in the house). Every Thursday, I make a to do list for each day of the next week and review my calendar. It’s nice to identify what I know I need to accomplish that week and, although, the list gets added to each day, I have things in priority order. Every day, during nap time, I review my calendar and to do list for the next day so I can mentally walk through what I need to accomplish. It helps me plan my energy. This approach keeps any day, especially Monday, from feeling overwhelming and helps me to start each day with a clear objective.
Consider what you appreciate about yourself and find an organizing approach that honors that tendency. Talk to others about their systems so you can incorporate what resonates with you.
In addition, bring something into your daily or weekly life that helps you balance work and play. Perhaps you take a weekly yoga class that gets you out of the office on time or you meet a friend for lunch, dinner, or cocktails.
Take lessons or make a date with a friend to get yourself out of the office before you wear down.
Start your day in a way that centers you. Maybe that means a yoga or meditation practice. Maybe it means a cardio workout or time journaling. Maybe it means a prayer practice or time spent reading. Whatever you do, do something that offers you some self-care first thing in the morning.
Rituals allow you to honor your essence rather than just grind through the work.
Confused about where to start: Try deep breathing, sipping tea, lighting a candle, or reading just one passage from a daily devotional type book (I highly recommend Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance. Ha).
Find ways to enjoy yourself during your work day. Too often, we take our lunch at our desk (even I do and I work from home and know better).. Instead, eat somewhere other than your desk, read a book or article, make a phone call to connect with someone in real time (not just on Facebook or Twitter).
In addition to taking the time to unwind, bring your spirit into your workspace. Create an atmosphere that reflects who you are in your space with plants, a fountain, artwork, or photos. But don’t over think it. Keep it simple but impactful.