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 joined CivicActions in 2010 as an Agile Project Manager, leading teams of developers and designers through successful digital projects for nonproft and government clients. Her impeccable attention to quality and enthusiasm for human connection propelled her to become Director of Professional Services in 2014. In this role, she oversees hiring, business development, team leadership, client relationships, and thousands of small details per day — all while helping team members remain present and productive.

Elizabeth excels at facilitating change, encouraging growth, and empowering people. She brings an aura of confidence and balance to even the most complicated projects, inspiring her teams to problem-solve and collaborate until victory is achieved. She has served on a myriad of projects for CivicActions clients such as 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.

As a certified ScrumMaster, Elizabeth is passionate about spreading the positive impact of agile project management in public sector organizations. She helped establish and expand Agile Government Leadership (AGL), a community powered network of agile professionals working to increase user-centered, iterative processes in government. She collaborates with the AGL working group to provide resources, arrange partnerships, host events, and facilitate conversation so agencies can be empowered to start using agile methods. Elizabeth has also moderated and spoken at a number of events across the country on the topic of agile government.

Before joining CivicActions, Elizabeth served as Director of Project Management for the software company Casting Networks, where she helped form the PM and QA groups, along with introducing and implementing agile methodologies.

Elizabeth holds a BFA from Wayne State University and lives in the Bay Area with her husband and young daughter. She appreciates the flexibility of working full time from home, hanging out with her kiddo during lunch breaks, and practicing yoga for mental balance and physical health. Elizabeth also enjoys reading the funnier side of the internet or getting outside with her family — being in California, this means the beach and the mountains.