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Who knew 4 easy steps + 30 seconds could change your day?

Drop everything. Pause for just 30 seconds. This is all the time you need to refocus and center yourself. And we know what you're probably thinking (because we were thinking it, too): 30 seconds seems like a small window of time to essentially dismiss your life's chaos. We understand your skepticism. 

skeptical african boy

However, this 4-step "mindful pause" outlined by Jon Krop, a lawyer and meditation teacher from New York City (who also, in a balanced marriage of his passions, leads Mindfulness for Lawyers workshops) is something like a "spot treatment" - for when you feel the colossal mass of the world pressing against your chest, for when you feel doomed, stressed, and about to collapse under your own anxiety.



The first step is to take a deep breath.

Take a slow inhale from the bottom of your lungs to the top, slowly filling your torso and, finally, your chest. There is a connection between breath and mood, and slow, deep-breathing fosters a feeling of calmness.

The second step is to turn toward your body. 

This may sound a little complex, but it's really all about focusing on the small sensations of your body - whatever you're feeling, whether it's the material of your clothing against your skin, or the coolness of a breeze rippling mellowly through your hair. All you need to do is focus on these sensations and watch them, and if you happen to feel sensations connected to stress and anxiety, then all the better. Watching them, as opposed to resisting them, will help you pass through them, and them through you. This step can last for one in-breath or one out-breath, and if you choose to stay here longer than that, then feel free to.

The third step is to focus on your breath.

Focusing on the sensation of air entering through your nostrils roots you in the present moment. At this stage, allow your body to breathe however it chooses to. Like the previous step, this one can last for as long as you need it to.

The last step is to carry on with your life

Re-engage with the world, remembering there's no need to do this in a hurry. Try to keep the calmness that you created; keep your rootedness. Don't feel pressured to hurry back into the world; take your time, and fall in slowly.


But is this for me?

What's perfect about this mindful pause is that it's fast, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. Krop notes that the most difficult part of the mindful pause isn't in completing the process itself, but in remembering to do it.



Our days are cluttered and over-saturated with things - work things and personal things and commitments and deadlines and responsibilities - and feelings of anxiety and stress are always there; they will come, and they will go.

Remembering to take 30 seconds to deeply breathe, to channel ourselves, and to turn towards our feelings and watch them isn't always on the agenda, but re-engaging with ourselves throughout the day guides us through challenging emotions, reminding us that we are transcendent. 

Try it now!

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10 things productive people do before noon

What Productive People Do Before Noon - <3 this list!

What Productive People Do Before Noon - <3 this list!

Better make the most of your morning hours – you're never going to get them back. And truly productive people know that how you spend your morning sets the tone for your whole day. Give yourself a mid-day deadline to sort out work and home, and it will help you live a happy, stress-free lifestyle forever more.

Here are 10 things productive and organized people do before noon every day:

1. They get up early.

A study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that morning people are more proactive and more willing to take action than their night owl counterparts. Researchers found it doesn't really matter how much you sleep – if you can become an early riser morning-type (the kind who get up early on the weekends, even), you'll probably be more productive overall.

Getting up early also means you have more time to organize your home and your thoughts before you head out the door each morning. When you can avoid a morning rush, you have time to ensure that clothes and makeup get put back where they belong and don't end up strewn around the apartment.

2. They drink water.

Right when they wake up, actually. After going seven hours without drinking any water, your body is pretty dehydrated. Drinking 16 ounces (or more) first thing in the morning can fire up your metabolism and get your body back on track to a productive morning.

3. They eat breakfast.

It turns out 31 million people skip breakfast every day. Not good, considering that there's a proven link between eating a regular breakfast and higher levels of concentration and focus.

4. They exercise.

Getting active in the morning reduces stress and supercharges your productivity.A study out of the University of Bristol found that employees who exercise during the workday performed better than those who didn't – mainly because they were in a better mood after their morning exercise routine.

5. They make the bed.

Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit, says making your bed every morning is "correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget." Our own Jennifer Hunter put his theory to the test recently and found that, yeah, coming home to a made bed made her happier and less likely to leave a mess throughout the day.

6. They tidy up.

A stack of unopened mail, a sink of dirty dishes. These are small signs of disorder, but their presence can keep you off-track and add to your stress levels throughout the day. Organized people simply take a few minutes in the morning to remove the clutter from their homes and their minds.

7. They take quiet time for themselves.

Just 10 minutes of meditation, stretching or some other quiet activity sets your mind at ease and gives you the peace of mind to be the best version of yourself for the rest of the day.

8. They avoid digital distractions.

There's a time and place for checking Facebook, and the morning ain't it. Nobody's asking you to give up browsing altogether, but to make the most of your day, save digital distractions for the afternoon so you don't set the tone for your office hours with a half-aware workflow. One surefire way to avoid the smartphone trap is to stop using your phone as an alarm clock.

9. They make a to-do list...

Visualization has been long-heralded as a habit of highly successful people. Think through what an ideal day would look like to you, then craft an actionable to-do list from your visualization. Write it down and check things off as you go.

10. ... then immediately tackle the hardest thing on it.

Eat the frog first. The rest of the day is downhill from then on!

How do you use your mornings to stay productive and organized?




(Content: | Image credits: Marie-Lyne Quirion)