We live in an age of extreme stimulation and distraction, thanks to the rise of digital culture and the Internet of things. Not only are people vying for your attention via a range of media, but now your thermostat, coffee maker, car, and other inanimate objects constantly ping you, too.
And try as we may, the truth is we humans can’t help but heed the call: according to a recent study from Deloitte, one in three people checks his or her smartphone in the middle of the night, doing everything from responding to text messages to answering work emails.
Research shows that multitasking has negative effects, from losing up to 40% of productivity to increased anxiety and depression. Still, the reality is that almost everyone uses the Internet every single day to work and get things done.
So what’s an overwhelmed person to do — not just personally, but also professionally when your job performance depends on it?
Find the Zen in your work so you can do more with less stress. By organizing, streamlining and cutting down on your communication clutter, you’ll not only increase your productivity but you’ll also attain peace of mind — creating the ultimate workday yin-yang.
Here are some tips from Zen masters with our take on how to integrate their sage advice into your everyday routine:
“Wherever you are, be there totally.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
One of the biggest reasons that multitasking feels so overwhelming is the fragmented nature of the beast. When you’re bouncing from email to IM to phone calls to video chat – and all of those modes of communications entail opening new programs or picking up a phone – you aren’t sure where to look first. And then, often you can’t even remember which thread or file sharing platform has that important information or document that you’re looking for.
Use a team conversation platform to bring everything you need including messaging, file sharing, document storage, calendar, video/audio chat and other productivity tools into a single, central location. That way you can open one program, and from there, all you need is at your fingertips and accessible through your personal dashboard.
“Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.” ~ Buddha
We all have to collaborate with co-workers, colleagues, and clients to get work done. Effective project management, where tasks are delineated, responsibility is assigned, milestones are defined and deadlines set, brings clarity to collaboration and paves the way to a much smoother workflow.
Combine that power with easily searchable conversation threads, a singular location for all work files and folders and a daily calendar that shows not just your tasks, but also those of the people with whom you are collaborating, and you get a full, orderly picture of your role within the broader scope of the larger project.
Zen Proverb: Student says, “I am very discouraged, what should I do?” Teacher says, “Encourage others.”
We all hit walls in our work with problems that seem unsolvable to creative blocks, too much to do in too short a time and so on. For remote workers in particular, it’s easy to lapse into feeling as if you are alone in facing such challenges.
This is where persistent messaging can make a huge difference. A quick message to touch base with team members can give you (and others) reassurance. If it’s a bigger issue, a virtual meeting can be organized quickly or a video chat can clarify misunderstandings and help reinforce bonds with affirming face-to-face communication.
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ~ Alan Watts
Once you have your digital communication and collaboration house in order, the fun can really begin. Whether you are a remote worker or even just a desk away, chat (text and video) can bring you closer as you work together, in the moment and in a more personal way. Today’s hieroglyphics – emojis – do a great job (often humorously) capturing your sentiment, and there’s nothing like a meme or a gif to add levity to any situation.
When you consider that work is the sum total of your days, you realize that finding the Zen in everyday work is not frivolous: it’s essential. Pare down the digital distractions to make connecting with team members intuitive and simple, and you’ll find yourself more prolific, effective and peaceful.