Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Lisa of Lisa of Getting to Zen
Have you ever driven to work only to not remember how you got there? You know the route you took, however you cannot remember a single detail along the way. It was like your brain shut off and you went on autopilot-you were there, but you were not there. This happens to us when we are not present. Not being present can cause us to miss out on so much of what is going on in the moment. It puts us in a past or future time which either has already existed or not existed yet.
For example, if while you are taking a shower you are thinking about the next thing that you need to do, like making a cup of coffee or selecting what you are going to wear, you are not fully experiencing the shower. And if while you are drinking that cup of coffee, you are thinking about what you would like to accomplish at work, you are not experiencing the joy of each sip.
1. Slow down
Avoid rushing through your morning routine. That means not sleeping until you absolutely have to get up and then rushing around like mad to get ready for work. You could be stressing yourself out before you even get into the office.
Set your alarm clock so that you have enough time to get up and have a relaxing morning routine. If you need 8 or more hours of sleep, this may mean that you go to bed earlier. Trading night activities or entertainment for a relaxing morning routine is worth it.
2. Pack and go
I have heard many times over the years to pack my lunch and lay out my clothes the night before, yet I have only done it a handful of times. In the mornings I often find myself searching for something to wear (and a lot of the time it need to be ironed) or scavenging through the refrigerator for something to make for lunch. And although I always find something in either of these cases, I often don't feel good about it. Maybe the shirt isn't as ironed as well I would like, or the lunch is a bit bland.
Getting yourself ready the night before you go into work will make a bigger difference than you to your ability to stay present in the mornings.
3. Listen to the beat
There is nothing like walking into the office after having a good laugh. Everything just seems so much brighter. In fact, many times I have found myself sitting in the parking lot outside of the office, waiting to catch the last bit of a story that I was listening to. It amazing how such a small act like turning on the radio station can transform your attitude over the course of a commute.
Listening to your favorite radio stations or cd's are good ways to prepare your mind to stay present for the day’s activities.
4. Ease into it
You begin an exercise program by first warming up your mind and body for the challenge ahead. This is also a good way to start your work day. Begin by following a routine that gently allows you ease into your daily tasks.
If that means drinking a hot cup of tea and performing a mini-mediation, then do that. If that means making small talk with a few of your coworkers, then do that. If you don't have the luxury of warming up for work while in the office, begin to get your mind ready during your commute, or during one of your early breaks.
Being present isn't difficult to achieve, however it does take discipline. It can be a challenge to break our habit of living in the past and future. So if you find yourself going backward or forward in time, try to stay present by reminding yourself gently that the only time is now and that the only place is here. The more you do it, the easier it will become and you will find yourself having more moments where you are completely aware of the details.
Your world will come alive and burst with vibrant color.
What do you do to stay more present in your work?
Do you meditate or take a walk break?
Lisa (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen which includes articles on personal development, enlightenment, consciousness and awareness. You can sign up for her RSS feed or follow her on Twitter. In addition to blogging, Lisa enjoys long distance running, cooking, and sewing.
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Image courtesy of Torley