All of us who spend time in front of the computer screen know how easy it is to get lost online. The English Website team, (with countless combined hours spent online!) would like to offer you some of our collective practice for staying sane and mindful.
Setting your intention for the day
1. Each time I sit down to work, I like to check in to see how I’m doing physically and mentally, and connect with my intention. What is my aspiration? What does that have to do with how I want to work today? What is most important to do first?
2. When I start a work session, I often try to start with reading or listening to something that inspires me or makes me happy, even if just for 5 minutes. It makes settling down in front of the computer easier and provides focus.
Taking Care of Your Work Space
3. I decorate my desk with flowers or green plants so that I can re-establish my freshness by looking at them and relax when I’m tired. Having something meaningful on my desk also reminds me that there is life beyond the computer screen.
4. I use the browser extension such as a “Bell of Mindfulness” to remind me to return to myself or an app to relax my eyes. It can be programmed to go off at a fixed interval (such as every 15 minutes) and gives one a chance to really stop and relax one’s eyes and body. I like to offer a kind smile to myself and appreciate this moment.
5. I try to remember that behind every email is a human being.
6. If a strong feeling comes up while I’m working, I like to stop until I’ve taken care of it, calmed it down. I know that it’s OK to reply to an email a few hours later or the next day. In that same spirit, I read my replies twice and send once!
7. In online meetings, I find that setting the intention to use loving speech and practice deep listening can sometimes be more important than choosing the words to say. The intention naturally takes care of the words. I also try to remember that my words can not just avoid conflict, but can also inspire others and bring joy.
Knowing When to Take a Break
8. I prefer to use the “refresh” button for my body from time to time during the working time (e.g. taking a break at least once an hour). A short period of physical exercise or hands-on work such as gardening, housework or even stopping for a cup of tea or water can help to change the atmosphere. This is much better than suddenly finding my overloaded body wanting to press the “shutdown” button.
9. When I find myself aimlessly clicking on links and have many windows open for reasons I can’t remember, I know it’s time to take a break!
10. If I find that I’ve been working a lot with my left brain, eg. language, logical thinking, organising, then I like to do something with my right brain to restore some balance, eg. draw or paint, listen or play some music, write a poem. Recently I was inspired by reading Sr Jina’s poetry book Moments of Joy to create my own poems to help me to stop.
Our Own Moments of Joy
Ending the Day
11. I find that to have more restful sleep, I need to stop using the computer at least one hour before going to bed, and do something else to relax or review my day and my practice.
12. Sometimes in the evening I like to reflect and journal about how my experience was while I was working. How did I feel during, and after? Was I clear about my intention, and was I able to return to it, to keep it alive while I worked? I try to be patient with myself, remembering that this isn’t easy and I’m happy if I learn a little each time.
- Enjoy a “looking deeply into the phone” mediation on the Plum Village app
- Read Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “Work”