After finishing my contract I really wanted to share tips and techniques I've learned over the years. Enjoy!
This guide starts with my walk to work. Walking helps me stay active, connects me to nature (I pass 41 trees) and my neighborhood, helps me stay present, and helps our planet.
I highly recommend downloading a walking or breathing meditation to listen to on your commute to and from work. I’ve found a couple that I really enjoy on Youtube. Spend some time finding meditations that you really enjoy and put them on your most used device. Listen to your meditation on your way to and from work. This practice will start and end your day with peace. My Zen Tip: You don’t have to commit your entire commute to mediation but I’ve found just a minute of mediation on both ways of my commute really makes a difference.
I can be really serious especially when it comes to my work. I intentionally made my workspace bright, fun, and cheery. I believe that everything has energy so I wanted my workspace to reflect bright colors, fun messages, and cheery vibes. Ban.do products are some of my favorite and what I used in my space. (Ban.do did not sponsor this post.)
My Zen Tip: Be mindful about the energy you bring into the office environment. Create your work space to reflect the energy you need to be your complete self and motivate you to do your best work.
My work computer password had to change frequently. Knowing this I set an intention with my passwords. I’ll give you an example. Say you want to win the lottery. Your password could be LotteryWinner2016. This password fits all of the lower/upper/number requirements. I once had a similar password and I would continue to win $1 Scratchers. If winning $1 lottery ticket isn’t for you, make a password a work related goal. For example, say you want a promotion then, Promotion2016, would be your new password. My Zen Tip: If you have to type a password over and over again set an intention and it will be sent as a message to the Universe.
Make a music playlist that inspires you to do your best work. I have a Youtube FUN! At Work Playlist. This playlist is filled with music that inspires and motivates me to do my best. My Zen Tip: Think about the energy your music playlist gives you and have fun creating and listening to it at work!
Step Away From Your Desk
I have a Garmin VivoFit Fitness Ban (Garmin did not sponsor this post) not only does it help me track my steps on my commute but also flashes red after prolonged sitting. When I saw the red flash on my band I'd get up. Walk to fill my reusable water bottle in the kitchen, grab a snack, and connect with my coworkers. My Zen Tip: Track how long you sit at your desk and set an alarm of some sort to make sure you’re not sitting for 8 hours straight.
Connect With Colleagues
I am a people person so naturally I need a break from the computer screen and want to connect with colleagues outside of my team in my workplace. The kitchen/common spaces are the best to learn more about them and vice versa.
The following questions are my least favorite:
“So how is it working for INSERT MANAGER’s NAME?”
“What project are you working on?”
"What do you do?"
"How did you get your job?"
These questions do not give people a break from work, they are boring, and can be offensive. Instead I like and ask these types of questions:
“Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?”
“Do you have any exciting plans for the upcoming weekend?”
"Have you checked out INSERT EVENT/MOVIE/BOOK?"
"Can anyone recommend INSERT RESTAURANT/EVENT/SERVICES?"
Based on the responses to these questions you can build on the conversation and learn something new about the person. If they share limited responses, talk about yourself.
Me: "Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?"
Colleague: "No, not really."
Me: "Oh. Well this weekend I tried to make vegetarian sushi.”
I talk about the process and the person usually responds with, “You know I'm not a vegetarian but I hear INSERT PLACE has great vegetarian sushi!”
Once you start to open up and talk about yourself this can help others open up and lead into longer conversations. Other colleagues might even chime in.
And months after this conversation your colleague might say, "Hey Josie! I remember you talking about making vegetarian sushi. My niece is coming to visit do you have any recommendations on places we could go to eat?" The weekend question asked earlier now has sparked more conversations at work besides talking about work! After giving recommendations you can follow up with this colleague and ask, "Did your niece enjoy her visit?" And the conversation continues.
My Zen Tip: When connecting with colleagues at work try and ask questions that do not relate to work. Try to learn something about the person. And when you see or hear something that relates to your conversation or the person you can always have follow up conversations to further engage with your colleagues.
Speaking of office common spaces such as the kitchen. Stock up and store snacks that give you energy. Now, I’m a big fan of junk food and over indulging on foods that aren’t the greatest. I try to keep these types of food out of the office.
Instead, I’ve found snacks and food that work for me and give me energy to get through my day. Staying hydrated with water instead of coffee has also helped me maintain my energy. My Zen Tip: Take an inventory on how food, snacks, and caffeine make you feel after you’ve had it. Stick with snacks, food, and drinks that make you feel good.
When I’m feeling anxious I practice this Kundalini Mediation technique that I learned from Gabby Bernstein:
Gently press your thumb against your index finger, then your middle finger, then your ring finger, and then your pinky finger.
When your thumb touches your index finger, say, “peace.”
When your thumb touches your middle finger, say, “begins.”
When your thumb touches your ring finger, say, “with.”
When your thumb touches your pinky finger, say, “me.”
I did this practice in meetings, on the bus, in the car, in busy loud school cafeterias, it’s great because you can breathe into the practice and feel calm. My Zen Tip: Find ways to support yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious in the workplace they can help you get through the moment and get back to calm.
Strike A Power Pose
I am a total fan of "fake it till you make it." I have given countless presentations and recommend learning how to power pose! Google "how to power pose" and learn what works for you. My Zen Tip: Power posing really works! It can help you feel confident and ease your nerves while presenting in the workplace.
At weekly team meetings every team member opened by sharing highlights and low lights from our week. I found myself sharing so many highlights! Gratitude is something I practice outside of work as well. My Zen Tip: Create a workplace gratitude journal. It can help you reflect and appreciate your work.
That’s it peeps! I hope my Guide to Office Zen inspires you to use what I’ve listed and share with your friends and work colleagues. Happy Monday and work week!