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15 practical tips to be mindful and beat stress

By Khiv Singh
April 01, 2015 09:00 IST
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These can help you be more productive and have a stress-free life

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Photograph: Giulia Bartra/Creative Commons

While working out in the gym on a treadmill this morning, I was catching up on the daily news on the TV fitted to the treadmill. The gentleman exercising next to me did not have the TV switched on, which surprised me. When asked if there is some problem with his TV, he said, “No, I am following mindfulness”. Whoa! I have been trying to follow mindfulness at work and this gentleman was way ahead in the game and trying to follow it during exercise too. This is so right: you can’t be mindful only at work and not otherwise. I do realise that it is a fundamental change in the way we spend our day that can make us more mindful.

The concept of mindfulness, inherited from Buddhist traditions, has already caught the attention of companies like Google, General Mills, and Target. Harvard Business School has also included mindfulness principles in its leadership programmes.

So here I thought of compiling a list of 15 practical tips which can help you be mindful in day-to-day life, be more productive and have a stress-free life. Here you go:

1. DO NOT multi-task. Period. You will end up messing up several things at the same time.

2. Plan your day ahead of time. Make a to-do list of all the items (personal as well as professional). You will be in a better position to prioritise and execute things.

3. Don’t feel guilty about taking rest. When you are weary, take a break, refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind and then get back to work.

4. Eat well: This might sound trivial but it has a significant impact on our mood. Trust me J! Always carry some healthy snacks with you.

5. Have your priorities clear -- for the day as well as life. Don’t just take your to-do list and start executing the items. Prioritise the tasks before you get into execution.

6. Follow a routine -- you will save yourself from decision fatigue when you don’t need to decide on what to do next, every now and then.

7. Take out some time to have fun, spend time with family, give time to your hobby and relax.

8. Steve Jobs was so right when he said, "The only way to do great work is to love it". Do only that work which you enjoy. After all, we all spend more than half the day at work so might as well do only the interesting things.

9. Don’t think about past or have regrets about the past -- you are not going to live there. Have the end goal in mind and live in present.

10. Have self-discipline. It’s one of the most important qualities that can contribute to your happiness and success. This is one trait which is crucial to accomplish goals and lead a healthy lifestyle.

11. Instead of doing it fast, concentrate on doing it well -- you will eventually end up spending less time in doing that thing.

12. Meditate -- being super busy is not an excuse for not meditating. In fact, you need it all the more when you are very busy. Take out at least half an hour for meditation every day.

13. Frequently look at your to-do list during the day. If something on the list can be done in less than 2 minutes, do it right away. Otherwise, delegate/reprioritise/reschedule it. Checking the items on to-do list gives a lot of pleasure J

14. Switch the phones to silent mode (even better, switch it off) when you are doing something really important. The work done in that un-interrupted period will be done faster and better.

15. Respect time -- yours as well as that of others. Don’t be late for meetings, don’t have lengthy talks on phone and don’t send unnecessary emails.

These small changes in our day-to-day schedule can have significant impact on how we feel at the end of the day. Try these and let me know if these worked for you! 

Khiv Singh is AVP Sales -- America, Sapience Analytics

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Khiv Singh