I’d like for you to indulge me please. Take a look at your calendar for next week and see how many times in that week you have back to back meetings. I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person that, if someone needs to meet with me, I will find a way to squeeze them in.What I’ve learned over the years is that this really creates a stressful environment for me, and I know I’m not giving that person my all. About five years ago I realized I needed to do something, not just for me, but for the people I’m meeting with and my employer. Below are five ways that I found to increase my productivity and sanity:

  1. Be present. When you are in the meeting, do nothing but focus on that event. No email, texts, internet shopping, or social media of any kind. Put the phone down and on silent. Not only will this increase your productivity, it will also show your respect for the person/people you are meeting with what they deserve. I still struggle with this one, and probably will continue to struggle, but if you go into the meeting with this mindset, it really helps.
  2. Assess Time. Most calendaring apps default to a1-hour meeting. If you are setting up a meeting or receiving a meeting invitation, think hard to justify if an hour is needed. Make sure the objectives and expected outcomes are clear and challenge yourself to set for 30minutes. I’ve pointed out before that we don’t get time back –use it wisely.
  3. Minute to focus. I love this one for back to back meetings. If there is time in between just for you, then take one minute to reground yourself. If you are in a meeting and notice that others are distracted or not focused, ask for one minute where you can all just clear your minds and focus on the present. You can set your timer on your phone, watch a video like the one I’ve created, or there are apps to help with mindfulness as well. I’ve not found anything that helps re-center myself or my coaching clients better than taking a minute to just clear the mind. It’s also a way to know that you want to make sure you are bringing your best self.
  4. Deep Breathing. Focus on your breath to the exclusion of everything around you. If you bring your consciousness to bear only on your breathing, you will clear your mind of the distractions.
  5. Gratitude. Maybe your mind is preoccupied with negativity related to the events of the day. If you take a step back and realize the negative thought is just that - a thought, not a fact - and think of one thing you are grateful for or something positive about yourself at that moment in time, you can turn your mindset around and get back in focus.

These ideas are not exclusive, nor are they meant to be all encompassing, but I hope they help you bring your best self to everything you do.