My 16 Zen Work Habits
"The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities, with the phone and e-mail off." – Mark McGuinness
Your success or failure in work and life depends upon your daily habits. It’s that simple!
If you allow bad habits to rule your life, it will be difficult and maybe even impossible to manifest your dreams. To be honest, I’ve been rather loose when it comes to my work habits. I tend to be a hard worker and have the capacity to focus for hours at a time. But, I don’t think those are the optimal habits for my own health and happiness. It makes sense to me to work smarter not harder.
So I was delighted to find an exercise in an earlier edition of the 2019 Shining Year Biz Planner (affiliate link) that invites you to itemize your positive habits - the ones you have in place as well as the new ones you would like to embrace. (BTW - There’s a 2019 Shining Year Life Planner too.
As you probably know from your own experience, it's not necessarily a snap to implement new habits. Writing them down, making a commitment, and reviewing your list regularly can make the difference between floundering and staying on focus.
My 16 Habits for a Productive and Serene Work Day
I took the challenge and created my list of positive work habits. I selected habits that simplify my attitude, my approach, and my activities, while also nourishing my well being.
Here are my 16 Zen Work Habits:
Create a goal and actions list for each month and refer to it daily.
Start my day by setting an intention: “May my work and whatever I do today benefit as many people as possible.”
Practice a formal session of mindfulness meditation.
Take 30 breaths to oxygenate my brain and energize my body.
Choose and record my 3 most important priorities at the start of my work day or the night before.
Have my paper priority list beside me at all times while working.
Choose creative work first, reactive work second.
Stay in the present moment as I work. If my mind wanders, bring it back to here and now.
Say no to requests and commitments that are not in line with my monthly or yearly goals.
Pause when I begin to feel overwhelmed or stressed. Use a simple stress reduction technique and re-evaluate my priorities as needed.
Spend time in nature everyday.
Take evenings and the better part of the weekend off.
Review my progress at the end of the day. Celebrate my accomplishments. Move incomplete priorities or tasks to the next day.
Always be gentle with myself.
Review my goals and action plan once a month.
Practice good posture at the keyboard.
Some of these habits - like daily meditation - have been in place for years. Others - like creative work first - are challenging for me They’re not all about work because I believe to work well you must know how to relax and play well too.
16 may be too many! It might be better to start with 10 or 12. But, I plan to work with them gradually over the next 12 months and fortunately some are already solidly in place.
Does this mean, for example, that I'll stick strictly to my 3 priorities each day? Probably not because, I want to follow my inspiration as well. If a passionate urge arises, I will most likely follow it and adjust the list accordingly. But, I like the idea of making space for both structure and spontaneity.
I'm excited to have a structure of positive habits to comfortably hold me while I work. I suspect using this habit list will change the quality of my work experience and make me more effective and productive as well.
Have you made a list of your daily work habits? Which habits help you work with greater focus and ease?
Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious! Don’t forget to sign up for Wild Arisings, my twice monthly letters from the heart filled with insights, inspiration, and ideas to help you connect with and live from your truest self.