The phrase “daily grind” -- meaning a repetitive, tiresome work routine -- may have originated in the mid-1800s, but it’s just as relevant today. Just 33 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs, according to a 2017 Gallup report -- and just four in 10 employees strongly agree that they’ve had opportunities to learn and grow in the past year.
If your days feel monotonous and this hits home, one key to turning things around might lie in the first 10 minutes of your work day. As soon as you sit down at your desk, you can practice mindfulness -- or focusing on the present -- and then move into your goals for the day.
Before you even open your inbox, close your eyes and check in with yourself, says Lodro Rinzler, co-founder of MNDFL meditation studios. Focus on the weight of your body in your chair and your feet on the ground, then take three slow, deep breaths -- in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Once you feel calm and centered, think about your big-picture goals for the day. “Ask yourself: What qualities do I want to cultivate today? Who do I want to be? How do I want to show up for my workplace today?” Rinzler says. “Whatever we place our attention on ultimately grows throughout the course of the day.”
Next, try moving onto more concrete task goals. Write down what you’d like to accomplish today, but try not to overload yourself -- and list your tasks in order of urgency. If a traditional list feels too run-of-the-mill -- or you feel overwhelmed with work -- try drawing a grid and designating your to-dos via the “Eisenhower Matrix,” a task organizer inspired by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
While you’re at it, set a quiet timer or calendar alert for every 30 or 60 minutes. Whenever you’re pinged during the day, turn your eyes away from your screen for at least a minute. That can look like taking a quick walk around the room or simply focusing on your surroundings -- just give your eyes a break. Doing this can help you make your energy last and avoid feeling drained at day’s end.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors