Walk to the Bathroom Very Very Mindfully – Work Happy Tip

Every week I like to bring you a work happiness tip that can help improve your mood, relationships, productivity, or reduce your stress. The idea is to put you back in the driver’s seat. This week’s tip: Walk to the bathroom very very mindfully.

Our minds love to follow distractions. It makes sense.

We like to be distracted. So even when we are walking to use the bathroom, we notice a co-worker’s cough, which makes us think about our own throat, and this leads to a reminder to go to the doctor for a check-up, then we are done.

We finished in the bathroom and we are back at our desk. 99% of our focus is not about enjoying where we are, but rather random thoughts.

I advocate developing your mind at work because it will help you to become happier and more productive. The reason this works is because you are focusing your energy on the part of you that matters the most. Without developing your emotional intelligence, you are flatlining your ability to feel good.

It works like this…

You can be Stucky or you can be Snappy.

A typical day being Stucky at work:

Stucky walks in and lets his focus bounce from email, to a report, to going to the bathroom, to coffee, to answering the phone.

His mind is jumping from object, to noise, to task, never really taking time to focus on any one thing.

I know you know a person like this.

A typical day being Snappy at work:

Snappy focuses on one task at a time. When he is working on an email he sticks with it, finishes it then sends it off.

He then works on a report until his shoulders have that slight ache that encourages him to take a break.

He walks to the bathroom, taking his time to soak in the moment, allowing his muscles to release their tension.

After the bathroom he grabs himself a cold glass of water and heads back to work.

Enough of my cheezy parable.

You get my point.

How do you harness that Stucky mind and make it Snappy?

Start small. Take small steps toward doing small tasks. When going to use the bathroom focus on relaxing your muscles, feeling your thoughts, and keep bringing your focus back to the present moment. Use that small break as a way to release tension.

After thirty days of focusing your mind on present moment bathroom breaks you will see an improvement in your happiness and focus. The next step is to apply this same technique to your work.

What do you think?

Could you use a walk to the bathroom as a way to release tension?

See you in the comment section.

* It’s Spread-the-Love Day, when I encourage you to spread the word about Work Happy Now. You might:
– Forward the link to someone you think would be interested
–  Link to a post on Twitter (follow me @workhappynow)
– Sign up for my FREE 10 Week E-Course and join over 450 people who have already improved their happiness at work. You will also receive a bi-monthly newsletter that give you great tips and ideas on how to improve your career.
– Put a link to the blog in your Facebook status update
Thanks! I really appreciate any help. Word of mouth is the BEST.

* J.D. Roth of Folded Space wrote a cool post called Food Rules. It’s all the don’ts when it comes to eating food. Liked it’s simplicity.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:

Work Happy Tip – Alarm Stretch

12 thoughts on “Walk to the Bathroom Very Very Mindfully – Work Happy Tip”

  1. Karl,
    For me, I really see this as single-tasking. And when I do this effectively, that one task I’m working on is the one thing I am fully immersed in. And that all leads to really giving my best, at that moment. Does it always happen? No. And when it doesn’t I can usually very quickly see the “less than stellar” results…

  2. Hi Karl

    This advice perfectly points at being in the moment. This is such a valuable piece of advice, whether we are at work, at home or other. Life is beautiful, the world is beautiful and we miss so much of it when we just run from one task to the next. We forget what it is all about. We dismiss so much. We lose out a lot.

    So thank you for this excellent tip – it really starts with things like a walk to the bathroom in how we can transform our work environment and hence our lives.

  3. Hi Karl,

    “Stucky” and “Snappy”; love the names! I’m betting Snappy is also much calmer, remembers where she or he put that important piece of paper because they were mentally present when they filed it, and is generally easier to be around. I’ve seen and been examples of both and I know which way I prefer to function. I’ve also found that if one is not fully immersed in the present and focused on the task at hand, it’s more difficult to get into that state of flow.

    I agree with you up to a point that multi-tasking is a way of avoiding focusing. My hunch is that it also ties in with wanting to give off an air of “busyness” and importance but more often simply signals a lack of respect for one’s self, one’s work, and other people.

    As Lance pointed out, multitasking does nothing to improve the effectiveness of one’s work. I think the question we need to ask, though, is why have so many individuals(and especially a lot of managers within businesses, government and other institutions) bought into the ridiculous notion that multitasking is “a good thing”? Is it really all that efficient or effective to have people scattering their attention across several different tasks simultaneously if it results in work full of errors that may have to be redone? Even computers–the alleged model for this silly idea–do not actually multi-task; they may switch very quickly between tasks but they still only do one thing at a time, according to a magazine article I read on this subject a couple of years ago.

    Great suggestion to start incorporating some mindfulness practices into the day, especially as they could be applied equally well in one’s personal life. Walking to the bathroom is one practice. Another really good mindfulness practice is around eating one’s lunch or a snack and focusing only on the experience of eating.

    Have a great day, everyone.

  4. Mindfulness is so important to all-around happiness, so I like how you’ve applied it to the workplace. Any time we remember to be present is a moment of mindfulness. It needn’t be something we do all the time, but any time we can catch ourselves not doing it, we’re right back in the moment. And it’s good!

  5. Superb advice, Karl! I love the fun parable – great visual of possible circumstances. 🙂

    I’m definitely retweeting this, and checking out the Food Rules post you mentioned.

    Hope your day is fantabulous!!


  6. It’s a great reminder that we can turn anything we do into a different experience simply by changing our mindset.

    When I’m in the zone, my work is a perpetual process of creative tension and release.

  7. Hi Lance, Multi-tasking is really just a way for people to avoid focusing. Most of us are at our best when we single task, do this one thing well then move on to the next thing. I wish I could single-task throughout my day, but in this day and age multi-tasking is sometimes a must.

  8. Hi Sue, Expanding our minds at work can have such a big impact on our work happiness. We can build our confidence, intelligence, and relationships. We just need to set small goals that help us keep taking small steps to build the person that we truly want to be.

    It’s funny how computers help and hinder us. The distractions are so much more frequent. We just need to do a better job of tuning them out when we get in a groove.

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