In our age of technology and constant busy-ness, it’s easy to become distracted and unfocused. We slog through our days just happy to put one foot in front of the other and get through the to-do list. We may take a work break but, instead of relaxing, we’re apt to check the news or our favorite social media sites. By day’s end, we feel exhausted, disorganized and looking at an even longer to-do list for tomorrow. But our days don’t have to be like this. We can give ourselves “presence”; tiny gifts to remind us to stay present and focused throughout our day. Here are five to try:

Practice increasing your attention. Give yourself a break from technology. Instead of checking your phone numerous times throughout the day, set up a certain time where you don’t use your phone, tablet or computer. People often turn to these devices out of habit when stressed, stuck or bored and are immediately distracted from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Give yourself the gift of a few minutes, an hour, (or more!), when you don’t use technology. It will focus your attention on the deeper issue and help you find creative solutions.

Take small breaks between tasks. When you’re staring at a mile-long to-do list, remember to schedule tiny breaks between tasks. Get up and move around before starting your next bit of work. Better yet, do something that engages your senses like feeling a good stretch, walking outside to feel the sun on your face, or smelling coffee brewing at the nearby shop. Engaging the senses enhances awareness. Give yourself the gift of a break by focusing on something completely different. It will give your brain a chance to reset and you’ll return to the next task with more focus and energy.

Eat lunch away from your desk. And speaking of breaks, take yours away from your desk. Whether it’s lunch or afternoon espresso, give yourself the gift of focusing on your fresh green salad, or steaming, frothy drink. You’ll become aware of yourself and your surroundings in the moment. (If you can’t leave your desk, at least put your work away.) Try not to let your mind wander back to work or to your friend’s argument with her boyfriend. Slow down, savor the flavors and enjoy your time.

Make an alternate To-Do List. As much as we try to focus on one task at a time, sometimes a good idea or creative answer can hit you in the midst of doing something else. Instead of stopping, make a note of your brainstorm so you can deal with it later. This gift lets you stay focused on your current work without losing a great idea. Writing it down helps your mind let go of it so you can remain focused on the task at hand.

Find some uplifting content. What you choose to listen to or read can have a big impact on your day, especially at the start. Instead of reading email from work or listening to the news, find something uplifting and positive to read or listen to. Daily affirmations, meditation or inspiring podcasts are all ways to start your day in a more centered and positive light. Give yourself the gift of an activity that makes you feel great.

Practice these tiny tips and give yourself the gift of awareness and presence every day. You’ll begin to experience each day in an enjoyable, relaxed, and focused way.

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