This is second part of the article Being Present at Work. In this post I’d like to share the 4 keys to help you become more present.

smiling woman at work

1. Break the Habit of Multitasking

When we multitask, no one person or activity gets our attention, and in small and large ways, our relationships with others can suffer. Here are some practices to commit to:

  1. Give full attention when someone comes into the office or you answer the phone:
  • Stop what you are doing and turn your body towards the person. Smile and breathe.
  • Decide whether this is a good time to talk or schedule for later.
  • Commit to making human contact with this person 😊
  1. Focus in when you have an important task to do:
  • Set time aside to commit to this task and eliminate all distractions – people interruptions, email, phone etc.
  • Relax your body and stretch. Take a couple of deep breaths to center yourself. Focus on the task at hand.

2. Check in With Yourself – feel your feet and breathe

Taking time to pause and check in with yourself during the day is invaluable in being present at work. Some people use a phone app with programed alerts, while others plan short break at certain times or when doing certain tasks. It only takes a moment to pause. (When we remember!)

When we think and worry too much we are in our head. When we notice this its time to ask “Am I present?” “What’s going on with my breath?” “Is there tension in my body?”

– Sit comfortably with your back straight. Feel your feet firmly planted on the ground. Feeling the nerves in the soles of your feet will keep you grounded.

– Take a full diaphragmatic breath. Place your hand on your belly and feel your belly expanding with each inhale and coming back to the spine with each exhale. Under stress or exertion we tend to breath from our chest. Full diaphragmatic breaths calm the vagus nerve and the fight or flight response.

You cannot avoid being in the present if you concentrate on your breath.

content man meditating3. Change your Perspective – transform your inner critic

Recognize that the inner critic is a distinct voice that is not you. It’s usually a combination of voices from the past. These negative beliefs come from fear and will sabotage us – especially when we step out of our comfort zone or are stressed. Recognize the voice and verbalize it. Look beyond the voice and find a bigger place to come from. For example:

– Think of a time in your life when you overcame fear and accomplished something important to you. Feel that personal pride.

– Think of someone who gives you love and support. Keep that person in mind and recall how they treated you.

– Laugh at yourself. Humor always helps diminish the critic. Lighten up its only the inner critic!

– Focus on your goal and intention – the outcome you want to achieve and the feeling you want to feel when you’ve achieved it!

– Focus on others instead of yourself. Who is there who would appreciate your support right now?

– Do something pleasurable because our inner critic hates pleasure and wants to keep us feeling miserable.

4. Let Thoughts go – experience the experience

Something powerful can happen when we accept our fear and embrace it – it diminishes! As Carl Jung said, “What we resist will persist”, and that is true for the fear in our head. Don’t be afraid to focus on the fear or feeling. By accepting it for what it is, we can free ourselves from the reaction in our minds.

An additional step is to focus on the sensations in the body, rather than the thoughts or judgements. Feel that flutter in the stomach, the dry mouth and the sweaty palms. Breathe through it and observe your body calming.
Experience the experience.



47 comments on “* The Four Keys to Being Present

  1. These are great Val! Thanks — and yes, multi-tasking is a killer of presence, joy and satisfaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are all great tips, Val. I’m trying to ween myself from multi-tasking…it’s a major energy suck. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very helpful indeed, Val. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. the inner critic FEELS so real sometimes. THAT is the tough one for me, how to know when to listen to the voice pushing me, it MAY be for the best, one never knows. thanks for the list today, and hope you have a great week! momentummikey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mikey! The inner critic is a tough voice to navigate … and even harder when you have a whole council or board of them wanting to be right. Taking the step back and recognizing it for what it is – the ego wanting us to stay safe – has been so helpful for me. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really good, Val. Presence. One moment, one task, one person, etc., at a time. Yes. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d like to know the person who said we should multi-task! When you do that nothing and I mean nothing gets done correctly but it gives us bragging rights. I love the letting go too. I work on that a lot and it’s getting easier. Sometimes I struggle if letting go means I’m getting less passionate about my beliefs but I don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love these tips Val! I particularly needed to hear that point about turning a facing someone when they come in the office. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Diana! When we have some much to do, we forget that relationships are more important than tasks. There is always fall out from not being present … and most of us a unaware of it. Glad you enjoyed today 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very sound advice. Reminds me of the following: “Listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like that one Paul. We have to pause in order to really listen.
      I hope all is well with you and Jean, and you are looking forward to Spring. xo


  9. So much to respond to, Val. I’ll take #1, multitasking. That’s enough for now. Somewhere along my path I picked up the idea that multitasking was a unique skill that not everyone had, i.e., Be grateful you can do it! Then I read somewhere that women are able to multitask, evolutionarily (is that a word?) because we have 15% more blood flowing through our brain (my husband doesn’t like it when I quote that one!), etc. etc. All leading to the notion that multitasking is GOOD. Yet a few months ago, as I sat with said hubs to watch a show he was interested in, I picked up my phone and checked my FB, then texted someone, then wrote a few emails, all while listening to the program, giving none of it my full attention. I determined then to pay better attention to those times when multitasking is really used to pull me away, out of the moment. That was supposed to have been a moment I could share with my hubs. Instead, I was split in two (or three). And then I forgot! So, thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Janet for sharing your experience! Yes, some of us think we should get medals for multitasking … and answering work emails at 10pm at night.
      Really!?! What is this culture coming to …
      Its so easy to get on with checking our digital stuff, that we forget about the human connection. It can take a toll when we put tasks over relationships.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Marvellously practical, Val – many thanks. H ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Number 1 is a hard one to break, Val. I’m so busy, I’m always trying to multitask! I suppose with things it doesn’t matter, but with people it’s a great habit to break 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you D.
      As I said before, just because we can, does not mean we have to. When I realized the price we pay is usually in human relationships, it was a wakeup call for me! A little pause goes a long way 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Allowing ourselves to really BE present is powerful. Good tips, Val.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    I used to be proud of my ability to multitask. I used to get really energized by it, and I have to say I got a lot done. Now, I don’t have the memory for it. If I get distracted at all during the doing of a task, I lose the whole task. I also don’t have that same kind of superwoman energy I used to have. Feels much more peaceful without it, actually. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Synchronicity strikes! I’ve been thinking these past couple of days about how self-defeating it is to multi-task, and about how the best gift I can give is to be present. You reinforce these perceptions, and give me more tools. Thanks Val.


  15. This is a great list even for someone who doesn’t work in an office. Practicing presence is for all of us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The urge to multitask and to focus… both ring a bell and are indeed worthy of our present moment awareness. They and the other suggestions can be viewed as fundamental personal living blocks. Yet I know you know this, Val. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am easily distracted so I like when I am in a quiet setting facing someone, where there won’t be a server bringing more coffee, to listen to a friend’s problems and pay attention to her joys. This was a great set of reminders, just using them and adding my feelings about “being present.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I need this Val. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great list! We had our big end of season cheer banquet a few weeks ago and I told the President that we were going to let go of expectations and go with what was really happening, that it was okay if things didn’t meet our vision, we could adapt!
    It worked for me! 🙂 She took a bit longer, but it helped keep things in perspective and allowed us to enjoy it as much as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Good points! Especially the one about not multi-tasking. I hate how we seem to think it is okay, and even necessary, to do that these days. Because then nothing gets our full attention, and we lose our ability to simply focus on what is in front of us. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Excellent reminders here Val.. would that I had these a few years back.. when I would rush around at work and catch myself coming backwards 🙂

    I have been putting lots of this one into practice recently as you know 🙂
    ” Do something pleasurable because our inner critic hates pleasure and wants to keep us feeling miserable”.. Happy smiles your way xxx

    Have a wonderful weekend Val.. and thank you so much for your visits..


  22. Truly great advice, Val! I wish I had read this 20 years ago!


  23. Being in the Present .
    Forgetting the Past.
    Thinking not of Future.
    You have off late not visited my blog, I hope there is something for you there in My Quotes , Poetry and some Pictures.
    My arms are spread to welcome your majesty!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Come be in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

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