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10 Activities You Can Do More Mindfully During Your Day

10 Activities You Can Do More Mindfully During Your Day

So this whole mindfulness thing has really been popular as of late. There is a simple reason for that: it works. And from personal experience, it works well.

Perhaps you want to get started, but you tell yourself, or your busy mind tells you, that you just don’t have the time to sit around and meditate during the day. My first piece of advice is to take the time to observe your mind from an outside perspective and simply be in the moment. That is what meditation is all about. But this isn’t an article about meditation.

Despite what you think, meditating is not the only way to be mindful. My next piece of advice is to be mindful in your day-to-day activities. You can experience a meditative and mindful state merely by giving complete attention and awareness to the things you are doing in the present moment.

Maybe this sounds crazy to you, but it is entirely possible. It takes a lot of practice and patience to make it happen.

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How many times have you been doing something, your mind is on auto pilot, and before you know it you don’t even realize what you are doing? For many people this is a very common occurrence. It doesn’t have to be this way. By taking the time to really concentrate on what you are doing in the moment, you are being completely mindful. You are not giving into the other thoughts about the past and future that are popping in and out of your head; rather, you are content with what you are doing right now.

1. Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is often a difficult task to be attentive to because it is often the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do in the evening. When you first wake up your mind is completely focused on the daily tasks ahead, and when you are getting ready for bed, your mind is probably focused on the events from the day or getting to sleep. Often you are half-asleep in the evening when brushing.

Really take the time to look in the mirror and focus on brushing your teeth. Perhaps you can take the time to ensure each tooth gets brushed thoroughly. Don’t just rush through this activity. Start your day off mindfully and end it mindfully.

2. Taking a Shower

Showering can be an awesome experience if you take the time to relish it. Observe the warm water against your body and how good it feels. When you lather soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, or whatever, notice how great it feels to get cleaned up. Don’t take this activity for granted because most people in the world don’t get a warm shower!

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3. Cooking

Cooking can be a very therapeutic and mindful activity when you let go of everything else that is going on in your mind. Chopping vegetables, sautéing meat, stirring sauces, and even seasoning dishes can be done mindfully.
It is common for us to be so focused on finishing the meal that we forget to enjoy the process of making the meal. Don’t let this happen. Don’t rush through the cooking. Observe how harmonious your mind can be when you take the time to cook purposefully.

4. Eating

This is still difficult for me at times. I am so hungry at times that I can’t help myself from scarfing down the food in front of me, instead of mindfully eating it.

Put away the television and the cell phones, and give all your attention to eating. Don’t use this time as a means to get to the next activity. No, this is the current activity. Enjoy it.

Also, it is much healthier to eat mindfully. Eating slower is better for your digestion as well as your mind.

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5. Driving and Sitting in Traffic

Challenging as it might be, it behooves you to drive mindfully. It is much safer for yourself and everyone on the road if you are completely attentive to driving and not ruminating over some past event.

Sitting in traffic is often a cause of rage, frustration, and general discontentment. Here’s an idea: try something different. If you usually get ticked off when sitting in traffic, try just being present with the traffic. Don’t let your mind veer you to an imagined scenario where you can’t be late or the world is going to end. Just chill. It is going to be OK. I’m not suggesting you have to be completely appreciative of the traffic, but you can find ways to enjoy yourself by being more mindful as regards to being angrier.

6. Folding Laundry

I am not a fan of folding laundry. I admit that I find it difficult to be mindful during this activity, but it is possible. Focus on every piece of laundry that you fold. Pay attention to the way you fold every shirt, pants, underwear, etc.

It is easy to do other activities while folding laundry that can distract you away from the task at hand. Try turning everything else off as you fold each piece of laundry.

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7. Washing Dishes

Similar to folding laundry, give attention to each dish you wash. Don’t focus on the fact that you have a stack of dishes to wash. Concentrate on how the soap feels as you scrub away every knife, fork, spoon, etc. In an odd way it can be therapeutic as well.

8. Walking

Walking meditation is a common practice. When you are out in nature, focus on what you are seeing at the present moment. Be attentive of how your body feels as you take every step. Observe your breath, and how it changes as you walk faster and slower. Walking is an extremely effective method to adding more mindfulness to your daily life.

9. Shopping

The only time I enjoy shopping is when I can take my time and be mindful of everything I am looking it and purchasing. Too often people get in a rush when they are shopping. Shopping can be enjoyable if it is done at the proper pace and with an attentive attitude.

10. Reading

I don’t know how much can be absorbed if you don’t read mindfully, but there is a reason why people struggle to comprehend what they read. The mind likes to wander and focus on other things besides what you are reading at the moment. Give each word the full attention it deserves. Perhaps reading will become a more gratifying activity for you when you take the time to do it mindfully.

The activities that can be completed mindfully are certainly not limited to this list. You can live your entire day with mindful intention. All it takes is attention, awareness, and the intention to be as mindful as possible for each activity. As you learn to be more mindful implementing it into your daily life becomes easier.

Featured photo credit: Shannon via Joey and Ava cooking chili via Flickr via flickr.com

More by this author

Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

5 Reasons to Live in the Moment and Stop Planning Too Much 14 Books That You Should Read When You Feel Lost In Life 10 Reasons You Should Meditate Every Day 7 Reasons Why Athletes are Dependable Employees 5 Benefits of Mindful Eating

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Techniques

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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