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You’re off to the beach with the family for the holiday weekend – or maybe the week. You’re all set; your laptop tucked discretely into the pocket of your suitcase. Wait – really? You are planning to work, check emails, and make sure nothing goes off the tracks while the family plays in the waves?
Whether you believe this approach is necessary for success, or you are one who believes in going totally off line and forgetting about work when you are away, you need to make a conscious decision about how you are integrating your personal and work lives. Make deliberate choices that align with your values.
Emerging work in mindfulness suggests the following strategies to integrate your personal and work lives:
  • Focus Fiercely. Multi-tasking is a term, not an action. When we multi-task, we are giving fleeting moments of focus to many actions. We deny ourselves the ability to absorb, analyze and execute effectively. Define how many mindful minutes you will devote to a task.
  • Set Ruthless Boundaries. If you want to work at the beach, set and communicate the times you will be online or available. For an hour or two, you focus on the work; then you are unavailable. Really unavailable. Until your next scheduled work slot.
  • Be Present. Mindfulness is a matter of being attentive and non-judgmental to the moment.
In a recent article in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Behavior, researchers at the University of Heidelberg found that employees can “use mindfulness practice as a strategy for shaping the boundaries between life domains, for separating work from private life emotional and cognitively, and for improving work–life balance.”
The benefits of mindfulness are increasingly well documented for productivity and less burn-out at work, and stronger connections at home.
You can start at the beach.
If you would like to learn more about mindfulness, try reading Jon Kabat-Zinn while you dig your toes into the sand. Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment – and Your Life.
Or close your eyes and listen to Guided Mindfulness Meditation: A Complete Guided Mindfulness Meditation Program from Jon Kabat-Zinn