10K While You Work
Steps for your mind.
There are days when 5:00pm is reached, but I don’t know if I really moved the needle for the day, so to say. I think to myself, what value did I add today? Who did I help? What did I learn? For some of us, myself included, it can be frustrating when good answers [subjectively] can’t be developed for these questions.
This blog post is about how to be the best you, through a health lens, so that steps within your control are taken to help make your workday a thriving day. Specifically, how to keep your mind in top conditioning so that a thriving day is achieved, positioning yourself for outcomes such as innovation and productivity. Effectively, how to take 10K steps while you work, but for your mind.
This blog post is a piece of content from 10K While You Work (https://www.10kwhileyouwork.com/welcome)
The three strategies to strive to 10K for your mind while you work are:
- SAVERS routine
- Mindful pauses
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
The first strategy to share is the SAVERS routine. SAVERS stands for: silence, affirmations, visualizations, exercise, reading, and scribing. The idea is to incorporate components of the SAVERS routine as you start the day or work, or dispersed throughout the day (example — reading and exercise in the morning, silence, affirmations, and visualization at various points during the work day, and scribing before bed). It is the discipline to be consistent with the SAVERS routine could which act as a foundation and sense of grounding for your day, or while you work. The SAVERS routine could also help with establishing your one thing — to focus on what matters most (to master what matters to you) by cutting through the clutter, building momentum towards goals, dialling down the stress, and reviving your energy.
Actions to fulfill the SAVERS routine can include:
Silence — meditation, prayer, forest bathing
Affirmations — “my body deserves my respect though healthy habits”, “I am committed to trying my best”, “I focus on what is within my control”, “being kind to myself and others is my default”
Visualization — begin with the end in mind as Stephen Covey says, a vision board [of values, symbols, inspiration, and dreams]
Exercise — walking, swimming, sports, yoga
Reading — books, articles, audio books (including podcasts!)
Scribing — journaling, gratitude practice, writing goals, creating a to-do list as well as a to-be list
The second strategy to share in this blog post for 10K for your mind while you work is practicing mindful pauses. The premise of mindful pauses are to engage in the most effective and efficient means for you to take a step back, think for a moment, and then proceed by possibly course-correcting. A standardized process to put mindful pauses into perspective can be plan-do-check-act. Mindful pauses accumulate steps for your mind because of the critical thinking, creativity, and decision-making which mindful pauses could elicit. Mindful pauses can be done through a finite number of methods with no one-size-fits-all answer. An example of a method is to try an Eisenhower Box to distinguish between what is urgent, important, neither, or both. Then, course-correcting can involve, delegating to someone else, deleting or stop doing, deciding for the short-term such as at some point during a day, or doing at this present moment.
Another example of a method for mindful pauses is to reflect on the idea of pursing your answer versus the true answer, ideally having both in-alignment. As Ray Dalio states in Principles, “to be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true. Replace your attachment of always being right with the joy of learning what’s true. You will always get an answer, but is it a true answer is the real question.” This isn’t about me, nor you, nor them, but all of us. When we are engaging with customers, implementing campaigns/events/programs, problem solving, or building — are we being mindful by pausing to think about what’s true?
Continuing with examples of methods for mindful pauses is the notion of accountability. By establishing accountability, what can be thought of as forward thinking, is certainly like taking steps for your mind. Accountability can effectively be done through the acronym WWWF — WHO does WHAT by WHEN and what is the FOLLOW-UP. As a side note, even knowing what not to do is half the battle. Overall, during planning, each task can have WWWF applied and serve as guidance for updates. Referenced from Crucial Accountability, here are some reflective questions for taking the steps for your mind.
“Admitting that a problem might stem from several different sources, instead of arguing that others are misbehaving only because of personal characteristics. Look to the environment and ask, ‘what other sources of influence are acting on this person?’ What’s causing this person to do that? Since this person is rational but appears to be acting irrationally or irresponsibly, what am I missing? Further, Coming up with a one-time fix is hardly the preferred solution. “Will this problem occur again, and why?” “Will others have similar problems?” “Will others need a similar plan, or is the problem unique to that person?” “Have we identified all of the root causes?”
As a final note for an example of mindful pauses while you work, as a form of obtaining 10K steps for your mind, is to keep the following factors in mind during decision-making for considering the reactions of other stakeholders (sourced from Guarding Minds at Work and Workplace Strategies for Mental Health):
- Appropriateness: Is the plan appropriate given the needs and resources of your organization?
- Acceptability: Is the plan acceptable to all relevant workplace stakeholders, including management, employees, union and clients?
- Accessibility: Is the plan available and accessible to all relevant workplace stakeholders (e.g. language, physical location, etc.)?
- Effectiveness: Is the plan consistent with evidence that indicates that the intended consequence is what your organization requires?
- Efficiency: Can the plan be implemented in a cost-effective and timely fashion?
- Safety: Could the plan present an unintended health or safety risk?
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
In times of uncertainty, visibility becomes extremely important. A means to visibility can be communication. The third strategy to take 10K steps for your mind while you work is to communicate with others, such as colleagues or team members. Authenticity, really caring, means everything for this third strategy as a pathway to communicate is to perform check-ins with others. More often than not, check-ins would start by asking the other individual (colleagues or team members) a question. Remember, the best questions make the individual asked just as curious about the answer as you are. What can be done, and what can be done effectively to make the communication of a check-in meaningful, is to:
1. Offer ovation/recognition as a form of appreciation to others. Remember to be specific through mentioning the situation (what was the challenge or opportunity the person was faced with?), the action (what specific actions did the person take to overcome the challenges?), the impact (what difference did their actions make for the customer, team, or organization?), and the link (how did their actions link to what the team or organization values?)
2. State that you can offer support, if needed. Others may assume you do not have the capacity or desire to lend a hand if they were to ask. This is where transparency comes in. Doing so is almost like breaking the ice for someone and for them to then feel that much more comfortable to reaching out. Thinking about and making reference to your mutual purpose and intentions is vital. Even knowing someone is there for them, feeling psychological support, may be a small action yet a big help for someone.
3. Conversely, disclose what may be different, if anything, for you lately. Others may not know your housing situation changed, technology has been a challenge lately, or that you just completed a significant family accomplishment. The only thing constant is change. By disclosing, essentially simply sharing what may be different to others, others may then be able to support you when they have a better idea of your present status of schedule, challenges, and priorities.
4. Ask for their feedback/involvement. When others feel a sense of contribution and their significance in influencing an outcome, they can then be a champion or advocate for spreading the message. A form of this can also include asking others what their ideas are, or what is the next great idea they are working on. The ultimate goal is for others to become an evangelist for your product/service/company/mission, and that may occur when someone feels belonging and the fulfillment of playing a role. This is co-creating the future together!
5. Empower others by reminding them, in a gentle and non-intrusive manner, that you believe in them. In our incredibly complex world, it is easy for each of us to forget who may be rooting for us. This is a nod to tall poppy syndrome, and an aspect of combating loneliness. The underlying theme with this one is motivating others by showing them we care about them and their potential.
6. Similar can be said for even reminding others about your collective work purpose. This could be through sharing a client testimonial or, photos/videos, prior successes. It isn’t always easy or clear to see impact at the end of the supply-chain. Let them know who we are, who are we in service of, and why we do what we do!
7. Share what you have learned lately, and what they can therefore learn as well (with minimal barriers to entry). These learnings may often improve or simplify tasks or projects, and a positive by-product of personal growth — a fair want for us all. Learnings for health or wellness can fit-in as well, such as tips for resilience or energy.
All in all, it is with the three strategies of the SAVERS routine, mindful pauses, and communicate, communicate, communicate, that you can act towards 10K steps for our mind while you work. Whether is the SAVERS routine detailed through silence, affirmations, visualizations, exercise, reading, and scribing, example methods of mindful pauses such as the Eisenhower box, your answer vs. the true answer, establishing accountability, and remembering select factors during decision-making, or lastly, the meaningful communication techniques through recognition, offering support, reminders of purpose, and sharing relevant items for effectiveness or efficiency, we can make our workday a thriving day. We may of heard about 10K steps for our bodies, but now, it is time for 10K steps for our minds, because this is indeed within our control.
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