I set a goal to read 52 books for the year. I have read ten so far. Feeling accomplished, I wrote about my book challenge. So many people responded with questions like: Do you ever sleep? Where do you find time to read?
We live in a world in which we are juggling so many things at once. While finishing an email, we are on the phone with a client, updating our calendar, preparing to go to a meeting, and on and on and on. This is a normal day for many people. However, we need to understand the difference between multitasking and efficiency.
When we get home from work, we are bombarded by so many sounds and notifications like Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Linkedin and all these social apps we are tethered to. When do we have time to breathe? Why do we respond to everything with such urgency?
I started to meditate seriously in 2015. Before this, I tried to meditate but didn't stick with it. I just wasn't ready. When I discovered Naam Yoga everything changed and I started to practice daily. Meditating has worked wonders in my life. Eventually, I explored other mindfulness practices and they all worked well. You need to try out different systems to find what works for you.
To answer the question where do I find time to read: by being present. When I am reading, cooking, spending time with my family, writing an email, talking to my clients, preparing a presentation, mentoring someone, laughing, dancing -- I am fully present and conscious that I am doing the activity.
Mindfulness is about being aware and awake. To be mindful at work means to be consciously present in what you're doing, while you're doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. If you're writing a report, speaking with a client, in a meeting with your boss, etc. mindfulness requires you to give your full attention.
Here are some tips that will help you to transition to a more rigorous mindfulness practice!
1. Start your workday by being present as best you can. Pause for a few moments before you start your workday. Try not to start immediately answering emails, phone calls, or Facebook notifications. Instead, take a few minutes to breathe and organize your day. These little moments add up to make the day a more productive one.
2. Be a Single-Tasker. Single-tasking is doing one thing at a time. To do this block off 3 hours of time solely to work on projects. Switch off as many distractions as you can and focus on achieving one task at a time.
3. Slow Down To Speed Up. By slowing down, you become more efficient, productive, happy, resilient and healthy at work. This allows your brain to become even more efficient, focused, effective at communicating with others, and better at learning new skills.
4. Cultivate Humility. Humble people have confidence in themselves and don't feel the need to continuously remind others of their achievements. Humility does not mean seeing yourself as inferior; rather, it means being aware of your natural dependence on and equity with those around you.
5. Accept What You Can't Change. Acceptance lies at the heart of mindfulness. To be mindful means to accept this present moment just as it is. It means to accept yourself, just as you are now. It doesn't mean resignation or giving up. If you have dreams of leaving your workplace to start your own business, just take baby steps to get there and remain positive about the outcome. Mindfulness is about giving attention to the present moment and not judging your innate talent or intelligence, but being open to new possibilities.
To be mindful on a daily basis no matter how chaotic life is around you, you don't really need to be sitting cross-legged for one hour meditating! In general, becoming more mindful comes with practice! Don't try too hard or force it to achieve any special effects! Simply relax into the process and pay as much attention as you can to what is here now. Whatever form that takes. Allow yourself to experience life as it unfolds, paying careful and open-hearted attention. A good place to start is to just breathe.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.