Lifehacks for Focus and Mindfulness

On our all-hands scrum this week, we talked about some lifehacks that help us to be more mindful or help us with focus. Below are some highlights.

Lifehacks for Focus

  • Saying out loud an intention is more effective than just aspiring to do something in the back of your mind. The act of making a commitment is more likely to keep that commitment. e.g. “I will get this task complete before I leave my desk” or “During this meeting I will remain focused on the issue.”
  • When shifting from one task or topic to another, get up and walk away from the desk. Walk outside and connect with nature before sitting back down.
  • Create a personal Trello board to capture all of the to-do’s that come up. One list is called “Must do today” other lists could include “To do this week”, “Recurring tasks”, “Low priority tasks”. Feels good to prioritize tasks and move things to DONE.
  • Especially when you notice focus is an issue, choose one thing to do and get it done before you check email or move on to anything else. No multi-tasking!
  • Close browser tabs (like IM and email) when you need to focus.

Focus apps and browser extensions:

  • Stay Focused: Chrome extension. Customize it to limit your time on timewasted websites.
  • Whitenoise: iPhone app. For relaxation, focus or sleep (the air conditioner sound is a favorite for full focus).
  • Freedom: App on multiple platforms. Keeps you off the internet for a set amount of time.
  • Trello: Web tool and app. Collaboration tool that can be as simple as a to-do list.

Lifehacks for Mindfulness

  • Daily morning email reminder with simple words to think about today (example: “Think global, Expand circle, Mindful, Humor, Conversational, Intellectual”).
  • An exercise when feeling stressed: Curl up hands, bring hands to chest, hold breath, think of how our time on this earth is fleeting, then breathe it all out.
  • Dedicate the day “in honor” of someone. Everything you do is for them.
  • Daily afternoon health reminder (water, meditate, exercise). Set a timer, set some goals, schedule it in.
  • While meditating on a subject, think about who in your life would benefit from that subject and move than energy towards them.
  • If in a conflict, pause, put attention to your body, feel the tension, name it, describe it, and most times the heat of the conflict dissipates.
  • At night when putting kids to bed, ask them “what did you do nice for someone today?” and “what did someone do nice for you?”

Mindfulness apps and browser extensions:

  • Love: iPhone app from TinyBuddha. It’s like getting text messages from Buddha.
  • Headspace: iPhone and Android app. Daily guided mediations.
  • Calm: Website or iPhone app. 2-20 minute guided or unguided meditations.

What lifehacks do you use for focus or encouraging mindfulness? Share yours in the comments.

2017-03-31T06:19:58+00:00 Categories: Culture, How-To|

About the Author:

Elizabeth Raley joined CivicActions in 2010 as an Agile Project Manager and Quality Assurance guru and became Director of Professional Services in 2014. She excels at bringing balance, facilitating change, encouraging growth, and empowering people.

Elizabeth uses her Agile coaching and people skills to keep CivicActions’ team members present and productive, and her project management skills to help keep projects running transparently and smoothly. As the PM on a collaboration platform project for a large federal agency, she has led a team of 10+ engineers and user experience professionals through countless successful releases. Other projects that have benefited from Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and attention to quality include the Department of Defense, the City of Los Angeles, C2ES, Denver Public Library, EatFresh (San Francisco Human Services Agency), FosterClub, GlobalMDP Program (Columbia University), Netpop, and SACNAS.

Elizabeth is also on the steering committee of Agile Government Leadership (AGL), which is a community-powered network of agile professionals working to bring an iterative, user-focused approach to government project management. There she works with other members of the committee organizing and strategizing, creating course content and reaching out to other leaders in the agile community to participate and share their knowledge in order to propagate agile in government.

Prior to working at CivicActions, Elizabeth spent five years at the software company Casting Networks as Director of Project Management. There she helped form the PM and QA group along with introducing and implementing Agile methodologies.

Speaking about Agile is always of interest to Elizabeth and she has been fortunate enough to do so at the California Technology Forum 2016, FedScoop’s Lowering the Cost of Government w/ IT Summit 2016, Drupal GladCamp 2014, the Community Media Drupal Summit 2012, and Drupalcon Chicago 2011. She also moderates a monthly webinar, AGL Live.

Elizabeth earned her BFA at Wayne State University and is also a certified ScrumMaster. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time practicing yoga, reading the funnier side of the internet or hanging out with her favorite people: her family.