Life is always changing but some part of the reptilian brain craves consistency, and we are (sometimes unconsciously) creating habits that can have two undesired effects. First, we can become resistant to change as it feels like the uncomfortable enemy forcing us to do something less certain and predictable.
Second, we become less conscious as our subconscious brain takes over and performs on autopilot, so we therefore inject less creativity and inspiration in stale repetitive projects or tasks. Don’t read me wrong here. Process is a valuable and essential part of life, but sometimes it can be inspiring and perspective-shifting to buck the standard and force a conscious decision. All you have to do is change something.
What to Change In Your Personal Workspace
Change your desktop, change your smartphone apps so you don't recognize your home screen.
Change the normal approach to any activity in order to force more conscious decision making.
Move the trash can or put the TV in the closet to force you to think a little differently.
Unsubscribe from your auto renews and email subscriptions.
Move your breakfast cereal or favorite snack location.
Delete your biggest time wasting activity, Sudoku? Candy Crush? Am I scaring you? Don’t worry, you can always intentionally come back to it later.
Delete your browser bookmarks or your usual news source to try a different feed.
Trash your entire desktop and all your open browser tabs. Start clean and fresh. What would you choose to do in a spare five minutes if you have a blank slate staring at you?
Delete all your emails from (OK, maybe archive) your inbox.
Clean up your office for 30 minutes on Friday evening and put everything away.
Change up your weekly or monthly meeting schedule or agenda every quarter
Invite different groups of people to meetings to encourage new input and surprising interactions.
Take a colleague to lunch to learn about his or her department even if it seems to have nothing to do with yours.
Ask a colleague about how they approach leading their department.
Find a reason to compliment someone at your office that you do not report to or that isn’t on your team.
Stop checking writing and responding to email in the morning, maybe checking is OK.
Talk a long slow walk around the building.
Bonus: My editor Mark Garvey suggests: Take a break from social media. Challenge yourself to a week (OK, start with one day) of not signing in to Facebook, Twitter, or your social media of choice.
Still looking for more? Here’s a great read with several more ways to achieve mindfulness at work.
If this list is scaring you? Are you thinking you’ll be less productive or happy or sane? Fear not, you are smart, amazing, and interested in being more mindful or you wouldn’t have read this far. I’m certain you do powerful work when you intentionally set out to do something important. Do not let your default become unconscious and unintentional. Awaken (I remind myself) and connect to others and your own deeper meaning, just below the surface.
If you are not sure what the next intentional act should be, be quiet for a moment. It will come, perhaps not today but soon, and it will be powerful. Be still in new places and see if that stirs something inside you.