I think it’s fair to assume that MOST of us could benefit from being a bit more mindful when it comes to our daily habits & practices … am I right??
Being mindful can be a bit of a vague term, but essentially it’s a practice of focusing on the present moment without distractions, outside interference or judgment. It is a technique that can be used to reduce stress, increase productivity & improve overall wellbeing. When you can find ways to incorporate it into your daily planning routine by, for example, taking the time to tune into your thoughts before planning your day … the act of ‘mindfulness’ as a whole can help you become more intentional about how you spend your time, prioritize your tasks, and make better decisions in the long run.
I’m all about practicality and searching for actionable, needle-moving, productive ways to improve my day-to-day life … so here are some practical ways you can start incorporating mindfulness into your daily planning:
Start with a mindful morning routine
I don’t care what anyone says … your morning routine TOTALLY sets the tone for the rest of your day. The days that end up qualifying as my ‘off’ days are the ones where I start my day without any sort of plan or structure. Now, of course there are nuances to this (especially for those of you have littles) and we cannot always control the curve balls that get thrown our way from time to time … but what you CAN control is the effort you put into starting your day out with the things that help you feel good & get your mind right.
Incorporating mindfulness into your morning routine can help you start your day with REAL intention and purpose. Begin by waking up a few minutes earlier than usual to give yourself the time to meditate, stretch, practice yoga and/or get a quick workout in. These activities can help you clear your mind and set a positive tone for the day ahead.
After your mindfulness practice, take some time to plan your day. I like to use my Daily Grind Planner to write down my top 3 needle-movers for that day and jot them down into my schedule. I keep it simple, but I still start my day out with some sort of structure and timing, this way I feel in control right out of the gate. Trust me, by starting your day with intention, you will approach the rest of your day & your tasks with more patience, a clear mind and a sense of direction.
Take mindful breaks throughout the day
I am SO guilty for this one, but hey, we’re all a work in progress!! It can be super easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the workday. Especially if you’re someone who sits in front of a screen, it’s almost as if we can get into a trance and lose consciousness of time, then before you know it it’s 4:00 pm & you’ve barely taken a sip of water!
Making an effort to take mindful breaks throughout the day can help you reset, refocus, and recharge… not to mention it’s horrible for our backs, hips & necks to be sitting all day long! So as much as you can help it, block out short breaks & actually put them into your calendar throughout the day and use this time to practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, stretching, read a chapter from a book or listen to a podcast, take short walks, etc.
When taking your break, try to disconnect from your work, phone and any other distractions. If we’re not careful, our brains can be CONSTANTLY stimulated these days from the moment we wake up to the moment we go back to sleep. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, allowing any thoughts or emotions to come and go without judgment. This practice can help you reduce stress, improve your focus, and boost your productivity. It may take some time to actually allow your brain to fully shut off & focus without thoughts flying in from all angles, but as with anything, keep doing it for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. I promise it’ll really help you feel rejuvenated!!
Practice mindful decision-making
Mindful decision-making means taking the time to reflect on your choices and make your decisions with clear intention. Especially if we’re in a state of overwhelm, it’s easy to act on emotion or act without thinking of the trickle-down effect of our impulsive decision.
Before making decisions, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself what your true intention is. Consider the potential outcomes of each decision and how they align with your values and goals. Try to approach them with an open mind. Do your best to avoid rushing into a decision or making a choice based solely on emotions. By practicing mindful decision-making, you can make MORE choices that are aligned with your values and lead to positive outcomes.
Use mindfulness to manage stress
Stress is a common part of daily life, that’s a fact. Sometimes it’s just a minor, temporary feeling of stress that can be resolved quickly and other times it may be a bit of a bigger issue, but either way, stress can have a negative impact on your health and well-being if left totally unmanaged.
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for managing stress and reducing its impact on your life. Whenever you start to feel stressed, try to remove yourself somewhat from the situation if possible to take a few deep breaths and focus on the present moment so you can rationalize what is going on. Back to what we just spoke about with decision-making, it’s easy to act impulsively off emotions when we’re stressed in some capacity, so taking a step back can be helpful to manage it in a healthier way.
You can also practice meditation to help you manage your stress levels. Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on the rise and fall of your best as you breathe in and out. As you’re focusing on your breathing, allow any thoughts or emotions to come and go without trying to push them away too quickly. Acknowledge them, wave hello, & let them naturally flow out of your mind without festering for too long. This practice can help slow your heart rate & in-turn reducing anxious feelings, improving your focus, and boosting your overall well-being in that moment.
End your day mindfully
Just as your morning routine sets the tone for your day, I believe it’s JUST as important to set your evening routine so it can help you wind down and prepare for a restful night's sleep.
Before bed, take a look at your planner & jot down or do a small journal session on what happened that day and acknowledge any accomplishments or challenges you faced. You can also practice mindfulness techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or body scan meditation to help you relax and prep for sleep. I personally enjoy taking this practice into a warm bath and really setting the vibes to wind down from the day. I put on some pretty lights, get some good smelling candles lit & get a bath bomb going … it’s TOTALLY my hack for calming my nervous system down after a chaotic day! Try your best to let go of any negative thoughts or emotions. This can help you end your day on such a positive note, set the stage for a good night's sleep & help you feel a little clearer going into the following day.
I hope you found these tips on how to incorporate more mindfulness into your daily planning helpful!! In my own experience, I found these tips combined can REALLY help you become more intentional about how you spend your time and make better decisions. It doesn’t have to be complicated, overall making it a point to take a few minutes to plan out when you can take breaks throughout your day, structure your mornings & evenings and gain control of your mind in stressful situations are those small acts that can greatly increase your overall well being & quality of life!