Every human on the planet has the same finite number of hours and minutes in their day. The same amount of time to work, live and play. To achieve and to relax. Do you ever feel however, that time is short, and you don’t always tick off everything you’d like to get done?

In our digital era, we’re constantly bombarded with images, memes and stories about people who achieve so much. People who have achieved great success, yet still find the time to work out, spend time with their loved ones and enjoy life. They seem to have enough time to do everything they want and need to. Yet so many of us struggle with overwhelming to-do lists, both at work and at home, often feeling like we’re not achieving what we’d like to. Projects can pile up at work, with hundreds of e-mails and phone calls to return, stakeholders to see and meetings to attend. It can set our minds into a heightened state of activity, where our brain exists constantly in a state of fight or flight. This can make it challenging to switch off, to gain clarity on priorities and remain productive.

It’s human nature to want to feel valued, needed and to be thought of positively. However, when the need to constantly please everyone – from peers to your boss, to your family, it can lead to you feeling like a ‘yes man/woman’. ‘Yes’ people love to please. They gain validity from being able to help a colleague, to jump in and help out with a project, or pick up somebody else’s kids at school. It feels like you’re helping to avoid conflict, simply by saying yes, when reality tells us that ‘yes people’ normally struggle to achieve quite as much, as they have lower boundaries. Always saying ‘yes’ can be an absolute energy drainer, it stops you from prioritising what’s important to you. The more you say yes to, the more tabs you have open in your brain, the less opportunity you’re giving yourself to have some headspace, to create the awareness of what you personally need to focus on.

Mindfulness helps people to be successful. It allows you to consciously clear out your brain, almost like a mini spring clean, and action what’s important. Practiced regularly, it can help to protect your time at work and create more opportunity to do what you love. Inserting the discipline of mindfulness (and not always saying ‘yes’) into your routine workday can look differently for everyone. Conducting mindful meetings is one easy way to insert mindfulness into your day; to keep the team staying productive, focused and present. These meetings stop the team getting distracted and are purposeful, with everyone staying attentive and present.

Some tips to helping mindful meetings run smoothly are:

  • Ask the team to switch off any devices
  • Stay standing to keep focused and alert
  • Show up on time
  • Start with a 1-minute guided meditation to allow the group to breathe and reset before you start
  • Try to set outcomes for the meeting, to keep everyone focused and on point

Are there currently measures in place to help protect your time and energy in meetings? How do you keep everyone on track, heard and focused on the meeting, not on a device or external factors? It’s not an easy discipline to maintain, but the rewards are quickly reaped with consistent action.