One Microstep that has helped me thrive with focus and prioritization is setting a block on my calendar for an hour of focus time each day. This includes putting my phone on the charger in a different room and setting my Slack notifications to “away” during this time. This has enabled me to be truly present, which has improved my creativity and productivity, whether it’s working on a strategy plan or simply eating (and enjoying!) lunch without any distractions.
During the pandemic, when the lines between work and home were severely blurred, it was thanks to my therapist that I noticed I was starting to experience symptoms of burnout. He suggested blocking off time at least once during the workweek to create healthy boundaries while working from home. Now that work has shifted to a more hybrid approach, this Microstep has turned into a daily habit, which I now even dedicate time to over the weekend with hobbies!
As someone who suffers from anxiety, ADHD, and seasonal affective disorder, it’s sometimes hard to find joy when you’re always at odds with happiness and life in general. In these moments, I open up a calming game on my phone (either Property Brothers or the New York Times Crossword), which helps me de-stress and relax while doing something that’s entertaining. Another joy trigger is the simple act of making a good cup of coffee or tea to enjoy while taking a moment to practice positive self-talk to recenter my mind.
This is going to sound mundane, but practicing gratitude has significantly helped improve the culture not only on my team but with other functions at work. Within my team, we take the time to share thanks when someone did an awesome job on a project or simply to appreciate the hard work we see on a daily basis. We even have a Slack channel dedicated to giving gratitude globally, so everyone can engage in celebrating other teams’ achievements and successes.
One piece of advice I’d give my younger self is that only you can control your reaction to a situation. And I’d tell her to always try and be kind to yourself and take pride in failure. Not everything is always going to go as planned, but if you are grounded in your approach and can take ownership, you’re not only seen as a leader but your positive attitude can help shift the dynamic of the people around you when inevitable hurdles come up. Everything is a learning experience for better or for worse!
I’ve learned so much from the Thrive app, which I absolutely love! I have an entire folder of self-help apps, but Thrive in particular offers bite-sized content that only takes a few minutes out of the day (which is especially helpful with ADHD!). One of my favorite features is on the homepage where there’s a section called “A Moment to Yourself,” which only takes 60 seconds and provides a much-needed mental boost no matter how busy your schedule is. Another piece of content I love (also on the homepage!) is the Daily Tips. These are short articles that I read during my commute and really help set the tone for the day and provide insights I can use to better myself both professionally and personally.