What do you do when your mind wanders constantly at the office, when you think about myriads of things unrelated to your work?
- The TV series you watched last night
- The quarrel with your neighbor
- The tax papers you need to sign
- The water leak under the sink
…or perhaps the side hustle you are working on each morning before you work?
You can probably handle small doses of mind wandering in your day. But it’s a different matter if at the end of the day, you ask yourself: “What have I done with my time?”. Let’s see a little hack to reduce this mind-wandering by becoming fully absorbed in your work.
Mind-wandering as a way to escape your work
First, let’s be clear, I’m not saying that mind-wandering is always bad. I’m a hardcore daydreamer myself, and I believe this capability plays a major role in my creativity. But when it gets in the way of your focus, it can also be a handicap.
There are some external factors that can make mind-wandering excessive.
- Being constantly interrupted
- Encountering a big obstacle in your task that intimidates you
These difficulties can make you confused and make it harder to engage deeply in what you do, causing mind-wandering as a way to escape your work. How can you ensure you firmly anchor your task in your mind so that your focus does not falter?
World-class athletes use a popular technique to prepare for big events. Each evening, they picture in their mind what would be the perfect tennis service, the perfect backlift, or the perfect javelin throw.
This helps them to perform better as their mind is crystal clear about what they need to do to perform well. Even if they are disturbed at some point by external factors, they have so much prepared for their task that they can’t be distracted
It might look dumb, but mental rehearsal really works. It turns out your brain can mistake what you visualize for reality. In fact, a study by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio has shown that you can gain muscle mass thanks to mental training!
Let’s see what we can do to apply this principle to our work.
Plunging into your work
If you feel overly distracted, I suggest you *plunge* into your task. I like this metaphor because plunging into the water makes it clear that you get totally immersed in the water. Similarly for your task, we’ll ensure that your mind gets totally immersed in your task.
The best way to do this is to meditate on it. Simply close your eyes and think about your task. Try to imagine each detail of this task.
Perhaps there will be a couple of resources you will need to read in order to help you solve the problem. Maybe some people will be involved in the task. Maybe you can think about your problem-solving strategies and the different steps you will need to take to finish this task.
Also, if your mind wanders after some time, don’t be upset about it. This is expected. Just direct your mind back into the task in a gentle way.
Entering into a flow state
As you practice this meditation, you will involve more and more circuitry in your brain towards this task. You will feel you get more and more absorbed in it, which will help you enter a flow state. You will become less impulsive. And it will soon become impossible to distract yourself from it.
You can meditate as long as you see fit. In my case, it usually takes 5 or 10 minutes.
An additional benefit
Oftentimes, this practice will give you an additional benefit. You might think it will take you more time on your workday to meditate on your task, but it often shortens the duration of your task.
This is because while you meditate on this task, you will find smarter ways to tackle it. You might even realize this task is not the highest priority task to do right now, which might save even more time and hassle!
I hope you enjoyed this article. This technique is especially effective for hard tasks. And it often helps to find creative ways to complete them. It’s hard sometimes to resolve yourself to invest 5 or 10 minutes of meditation on your task. But the benefits can be huge. Think about it 😃