"I usually choose one day a week where I make it my goal to only focus on one task at a time."
We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of HR throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at[email protected], or let us know in the comments below.
Dana Zelicha is an organizational psychologist, lecturer in ‘Mindful Leadership’ at the IDC Herzliya and Founder of OWBA - The Well Being Agency, a boutique management consultancy endorsed by the London School of Economics (LSE) that specializes in mindfulness.
So, Dana, tell us about your average day...
7:30-08:00 – Digital Detox Time
Getting out of bed can sometimes be the most challenging part of my day, particularly if I have a busy schedule ahead.
I try to choose an open approach with a nurturing morning routine, and NOT fall into the social media trap. I avoid checking any devices for at least 30 minutes after waking up - and yes, this does include the news!
Bombarding my brain with a barrage of information before I’ve given my mind and body a chance to properly wake up is only going to result in increased stress.
Therefore, I try to hold off on hitting social media first thing in the morning. Instead, I open the curtains and take a look outside, get a breath of fresh air and go to the shower.
08:30 – Mindfulness Meditation, Stretching & Yoga
When waking up in the morning, I try to focus on my breathing, and where my mind is in that moment. Is it wandering? If so, where is it going?
Taking 10 minutes to observe my thoughts can help bring my mind back to the present moment. Then, I gently stretch to warm up my muscles or if I’m looking to be a little more active, I practice some yoga postures.
9:00 – Unitasking Day at the Office
Unexpected problems may pop up throughout the week, but carving out one permanent “Unitasking Day” helps me feel effective and more in control.
Also, the belief that multitasking helps us accomplish everything we have to get done is a myth; research has shown that multitasking negatively affects performance and decreases productivity by up to 40%!
I usually choose one day a week where I make it my goal to only focus on one task at a time and to really be attentive to whatever I’m doing.
I divide my work day into “Unitasking Episodes” and define each one, and dedicate a specific time for each task.
For instance, 10 -11am is scheduled for preparing the presentation I haven’t had time to work on, and ONLY focus on completing that task with all of my attention and effort.
12:00 - Coaching CEOs
Practicing present-moment awareness greatly transformed my work and my life, and I have realised that teaching and cultivating this quality of presence in the corporate environment is a great solution to many CEOs who suffer from high-levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout plaguing the modern workforce.
I feel empowered to change corporate culture for the better, and to help others who have similar experiences as myself to find fulfilment and meaning in their work.
From 1-on-1 coaching with top managers and CEOs to intensive 6-week employee programmes, the goal is to embed mindfulness into the culture of every organisation.
14:00 – Mindful Eating at Lunch
Instead of sitting at the computer and inhaling a sandwich, I usually change my scenery and sit somewhere quiet so I can actually enjoy my food.
At the moment I’m trying to keep a lactose and gluten free diet so a typical meal would involve eating salmon, sweet potato and broccoli - and be mindful of the experience and really pay attention to the texture, taste, and temperature of the food, as well as to my bodily sensations.
Throughout the day I always ask myself: “Am I really hungry right now? Does my body really need that?” Being more aware while I’m eating helps to avoid overeating or snacking throughout the day when I’m not truly hungry.
Many of us have also the tendency to “stress eat,” but making a plan to have a mindful lunch where I get to fully enjoy my food, helps curb these unhealthy habits and give me a time in the workday to look forward to.
15:00 – Walk & Talk Meetings
After lunch, “Walk & Talk” is just the perfect solution: a meeting that takes place during a walk instead of in my office, boardroom, or coffee shop.
Research found evidence that the act of walking leads to increase in creative thinking, to more honest exchange of ideas and to higher productivity compared to traditional sit-down meetings.
17:00 – Lecture at the University - IDC Herzliya or the London School of Economics
In addition to operating OWBA in both Israel and London and personally facilitating the workshops, I lecture at a leading academic institute called IDC Herzliya, where I teach two academic courses to both BA and MA students on 'Mindful Leadership' and 'Organisational Wellbeing'.
I firmly believe in cultivating a healthy work-life balance, and I am passionate about helping students to foster engagement, compassion and changes to workplace culture.
19:00 – Sports!
I exercise regularly, three times a week, including Pilates or TRX. Core work is essential to my wellbeing and mental state. Highly recommended!
20:00 – BEING Time @ Home
Preparing food, being with family, relaxing, eating, watching TV are all part of my BEING mode - the opposite of the Doing mode of getting things done.
In the Doing mode, my attempts to solve a “problem” by endlessly thinking about it, can keep me locked into the state of mind from which I am doing my best to escape.
In my BEING mode, my mind has “nothing to do, nowhere to go” and can focus fully on moment-by-moment experience, allowing myself to be fully present and aware of whatever is here, right now, and enjoy the simple moments!
21:00 – Mindful Cinema Time
Films are one of the most powerful mediums of entertainment available to me.
By watching films, I focus solely on the stories and awaken my heart and soul, as well as enjoy much greater present moment awareness. I visit the Cinema once a week for this wonderful mindfulness time.
00:00 - Plan my Day
To calm my mind, get restful sleep and avoid feeling overwhelmed the next day, I dedicate about 20 minutes a day to write down a plan for the following day.
I go through all the meetings I have, how much free time I expect to have and what I can realistically achieve in the designated time slots. I also prioritise tasks, and assess weather or not need to call on any colleagues to help.
This enables me to pre-empt issues that could arise, and leaves me feeling prepared for the next day!
00:30 AM – Digital Detox time
I make sure to turn all screens off at least 1 hour before bed - that means no phone, no laptop, no iPad, as well as try to store my devices in a different room to the bedroom overnight.
This stops me from using them straight before sleep, and first thing in the morning - which is important since sleep issues can sometimes coexist with technology addiction. After, I usually enjoy reading a book.
1:00 AM – Sleep time
I try to get 7 hours sleep. But even if I don’t manage to ensure that, I accept what I have and let go of any feeling of being tired