Find Moments of Practice in Your Virtual Work DaySeptember 16, 2020
Today’s Workplace Wednesday post is about breaking free from the “sameness” of remote work.
Many workplaces continue to operate on a remote basis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, though there are a lot of companies that have not had this luxury – either because they are meeting essential needs or are an industry that is not conducive to conducting business virtually.
Especially If you have been working from your dining room table for the last 6 months, the hours, days and weeks may be starting to blur together. That “sameness” of everything can inhibit focus, affect mood, and challenge our ability to find inspiration as more and more of our to-dos feel like mundane repetitive tasks.
Have you been feeling this lack of focus and motivation? Do you look forward to the 30 second walk to your home workspace or is it more of a sense of malaise?
There are a few ways to fight this feeling of sameness. One beneficial approach is to build in moments of “practice” (or meditation) right into your workday, rather than carving out a separate moment.
Most of us spend a huge chunk of our lives “at work”, and even if we really love our jobs, there is always stuff we get stuck doing that isn’t particularly interesting, enjoyable, or meaningful. When that happens, try becoming interested and curious about how the mind is relating to your work.
If you can shift your perspective on what it means to work, the time you spend at work can come to life. You can’t always control what you do, but you can change how you do it. That’s the invitation here.
The tip for today is to practice a little self-inquiry in the midst of a daily routine. Pick something simple and mundane that you do everyday, like checking email, an administrative task, or even preparing lunch. Turn this activity into a practice period for the next week.
You can do this in two simple steps, notice how you “label” (or classify this task – as positive, negative, or maybe just neutral), then break it down.
First, notice how your mind naturally classifies the activity. Notice whatever label you give it, probably without even thinking, and how the label gives the impression that the activity is simple and straightforward.
Next, notice all the various things that lie beneath the label and then break the activity down into smaller parts.
Here’s an example of this technique with brushing your teeth. When you brush your teeth, for instance, notice how these few words refer to so much that’s going on in the moment. The sensation of turning the faucet on and off, the sound of running water, the smell of toothpaste, the taste in your mouth. All sorts of sensations in your body, from your feet on the floor to the feeling of the brush in your mouth. Just notice all these different parts.
The skill here is seeing how labels tend to oversimplify. They never capture the richness of the present moment which can provide a distinction to something that might usually be mundane.
So give it a try – if something has grown stale and you’ve lost your ability to bring meaning to your blurred work/life balance these days, you can look at your work in a different way. This new perspective can get you curious – and keep you motivated – for today and beyond.