Friday. Arguably the hardest day of the week in the office, because you’re either already in weekend mode and can’t sit still, or you have mountains of work and are resentful that you can’t zone out just yet.

Today has been especially tough because of the ongoing manhunt in Boston. I was glued to Twitter and the police scanner until 5 a.m., and now I’m chugging coffee and keeping tabs on updates while trying to carry on with business as usual (FOMO at its finest). So I thought this post would be relevant today.

Ways that I am working to be more mindful:

Buddhism, mindfulness, mindful work day

Today’s lists

  • Create a short-term and long-term to do list — I am the queen of lists, the person who writes completed tasks down just to immediately cross them off. Creating two lists allows me to lay out all of my major tasks and projects, then prioritize on a daily basis. I don’t wander around aimlessly throughout my day, and I actually get things done.
Buddhism, mindfulness, mindful work day

My quarantine corner—no distractio-SQUIRREL!

  • Focus on one task at a time — Each project deserves 100% of your focus to lessen the risk of mistakes. Plus, I get things done quicker when I focus on them one at a time rather than bouncing around from project to project.
Buddhism, mindfulness, mindful work day

Turn off alerts, you’ll survive

  • Emails can wait — Ok Pavlov’s dog, calm down. If you’re like me, you jump every time your inbox lights up with a new email. The truth is though, 99% of those emails aren’t critical to answer immediately, so finish what you’re doing before hitting “reply.”
Buddhism, mindfulness, mindful work day

All of my distracting apps live in one folder that I try not to touch

  • Put your phone in time-out — I’ll be the first to admit that I check my phone frequently—almost obsessively—without meaning to. It’s become a bad habit, and I do it mindlessly. I have moved my social media off my main iPhone screen, and will try to keep my phone in my purse at work.
Buddhism, mindfulness, mindful work day

…or run it out at lunch!

  • Walk it out — I am a bundle of energy and can’t sit still for long. Lucky for me, studies have shown that it’s good to get up, walk around, get water, pee, gossip, etc. every now and then during the workday. Use it as a ‘reset’ button.

That all being said, sometimes it’s important to break the rules. If you have a brilliant idea, stop everything and jot it down before you forget it. If there is a manhunt in Boston and the city is shut down and everyone is glued to Twitter, chances are you will be a little distracted too. Roll with it. Acknowledge the distraction and keep chugging along with your work.

What do you do to stay focused at work?