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Insight Seven: Owning the Time in Between

walking mindfully

One of the misconceptions about mindfulness that I run into regularly is the idea that living mindfully takes too much time.

But, the truth is that incorporating mindfulness into a modern professional life doesn’t mean you need to sit formally in meditation for hours. In fact, integrating mindfulness effectively can be as easy as taking a stroll down the hallway.

The time we spend in transit—between calls and commitments—belongs to us. We can waste these times, as people often do, or we can use them as an opportunity to refocus and restore ourselves.

How many transitions do you have each day?

Sometimes a transition is simply a few moments between phone calls  or it could be a walk through the building or to another floor. Most of us have many of these transitions throughout a day. Let’s say that you have 10 transitions in a workday.  Even if each one is comprised of only two or three minutes each, this would mean you actually have at least 20 to 30 minutes that you can choose to use mindfully each day – and that’s not even counting your commute time!

Imagine the good you could do if you claimed this time for yourself.  

Typically during transition times, people are thinking back over their last meeting, or anticipating future meetings (or planning meals or weekend chores, or, or, or...) Instead, consider using this time for restorative breathing, walking mindfully, or simply settling your mind so it can reset. If you do, studies show that you are much more likely to be able to prioritize effectively, to be proactive about choices, to communicate with clarity, and ultimately to be more productive.

Try this:

Starting today, when you have transitions between things, try moving with awareness. Use the time to clear your mind, restore your focus, and set your intentions.

Here are some simple techniques you can try:

  • Set your intention to relax and focus – aim for the sweet spot where you are both engaged and at ease
  • Become aware of your breath – is it shallow or deep? Short or long?
  • Become curious about the sensations in your body in this moment
  • If walking, slow down enough that you can feel your feet fill your shoes as your weight shifts from side to side.
  • Settle
  • Set the intention to be helpful and compassionate – for yourself and for others 
Become a guardian for yourself. Protect the little times ‘in between’ and we bet that you will notice the difference in your focus, your productivity, and your well-being too.

For more information on tools for leaders, be sure to check out our new white paper “Intro to Mindfulness for Leaders”.

 

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