This blog post is sponsored by Wacom. As always, all opinions are my own.
Sometimes, you just need to step out of your own monotony to reunite with your own creativity. At least that’s what I was hoping, since last week felt so burnt out that I couldn’t really function at work. I was coming off weeks of travel, and tons of deadlines, and then… quiet. During the mayhem, I looked longingly at the calendar, knowing that that week was coming up— the one where my schedule wouldn’t be as daunting, when I could focus on some long-term planning, and things like my editorial calendar. I wouldn’t be putting out fires left and right, so I’d be more relaxed, more creative, more in flow.
Except that week arrived… and I was too brain dead to take advantage of it. Every-freakin-time I sat down at the computer, it was like a traffic jam in my brain. Nothing could get through, and everyone on the road (read: me) was pissed. One of the looming deadlines on my plate was this article for Wacom, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. They had asked me to share how their products could be incorporated into some more Mindful Moments at work, and I suspected I was in desperate need of some. So I grabbed my sunnies, and my Bamboo Folio Smartpad and headed to the beach.
Turns out the change of scenery is just what I needed. The wind in my hair and the salty sea air shook the contents of my brain up, but it was leaving my laptop at home that really did the trick. The Bamboo Folio Smartpad is a magical combination of technology, pen and paper but the technology doesn’t factor in until later. While you’re in creative mode, it’s just you and a notebook and a special ballpoint pen. Doodle, make lists, sketch, make diagrams… whatever you need to do to articulate your dreams, brainstorm ideas or just express yourself.
Without screens I can really be present with my thoughts— it reminds me of life before I lived and died by my laptop— and it just feels… slower. I’m not making sideways glances to my email, I’m not quickly checking my Instagram notifications. It’s just me, myself, and a notebook to capture it all.
OK here’s where the tech comes in. When you’re done getting all your thoughts on paper, push the button on the Folio’s case and all your doodles and lists are sent to your smartphone, where you can edit them, add to them, and store them for later. Digitally. Because writing on notebooks is my first love, I don’t always love having to dig around for them later, or figure out where I wrote down all those brilliant ideas. The Folio allows me to be in the moment, knowing I’ll be able to dial up the moment later when I need it.
I gotta say it did the trick. I may not have fired off as many (or any!) emails, but I felt energized, and that I really got to think about my business for the first time in a while… valuable presence of mind that allowed me to come back to my email and assignments with more focus and gratitude, remembering that I love what I do, instead of feeling burdened by a mountain of to-dos.
Some other ways I try to stay more mindful at work and in life?
Slowing down my breathing takes me from hysterical to calm and rational. No drugs (or french fries) required. I’ve been teaching my daughter some basic breathing techniques, and they are helping her so much when she has a little bedtime anxiety. Works like a charm for daytime work anxiety too.
A walk. A workout. Some stretching. None of that’s happening when I’m firing off emails and writing on my laptop. So my body (and mind) are just stagnant. Getting up and at least walking around the block can usually help me restart my operating system. Plus, the dog is always happy to keep me company.
Email (and Twitter, and pretty much any digital communication) tempts you to be reactive. It’s just so easy to fire off a tweet, or a response to someone’s heated email. If you can keep yourself from reacting, and let some time pass, it’s likely you’ll avoid starting an all out Twitter war or office battle.
Finding the funnies in life’s messes is a go-to response. After all, even my worst work problems are pretty puny compared to what some people have to deal with. My kids are healthy, my guy is happy, and I get to do what I love. Sometimes, work sucks, or I’m just in a terrible mood, and that’s real. But laughter plus a bit of time can put it all in perspective.
What about you? How do you stay mindful in work and life? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you to Wacom for sponsoring this post! Thanks to you too, for supporting our sponsors!