Dave Viotti of SMALLIFY recently facilitated a workshop for Fellows and their teams titled “SMALLIFY U: Beyond Busy - Skills, Tools, and Mindsets for a Spacious Life.”
Participants learned about mindfulness, why American culture typically values being busy while making negative associations with being unbusy, and how shifting that mindset and applying simple tools can help us be more focused, work smarter, and feel more joy.
To start, Dave asked everyone to share one word about how they were feeling—people said “stressed,” “anxious,” “curious,” and “productive.” He then led the group through a one-minute breathing exercise—a series of deep inhales through the nose that fill the lungs, followed by long exhales that release stress and tension. After the minute, he asked everyone to check in again. Now, the feelings shifted: “relaxed,” “settled,” “calm,” “stable,” and “peaceful.” Dave explained how deep breathing promotes being more centered and present, allowing us to see and hear everything around us with more clarity.
Dave also shared tips and tools that can help you get beyond busy:
- Know your priorities and how you’re spending your time: The key is having clear priorities (e.g., objectives and key results) and being able to differentiate a priority from a distraction and identify what’s important and urgent. Regularly assessing and reassessing your priorities is critical. You can free up valuable time by reviewing how you’re spending each week against these priorities in a non-judgmental way. Then, adjust your schedule so you can focus on the tasks that matter most and let go of those that don’t.
- Batch process similar tasks: Schedule and batch your tasks that require a common skill or level of attention (like emails, paying bills, or making phone calls). This saves your energy and boosts your focus, productivity, and momentum.
- Categorize your tasks into Important/Not Important and Urgent/Not Urgent quadrants: Sorting your tasks into a grid similar to the one below can help you prioritize what you should do now, schedule for later, share with others, or delete altogether.
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