Once a year, I do something really strange. I leave my house, family and work to join four other women in a cabin in the woods to do nothing but remain quiet for 48 hours. We set our minds on focus: hearing the birds sing, experiencing the taste of hot coffee and enjoying the sensation of falling asleep. We call this odd exercise a Quiet Retreat, and I can't say enough how good it is for my happiness. I return home feeling refreshed and revived, and all because I turned off my wandering mind to focus on the present.
What's going on here? In a fascinating study, Harvard researchers have unveiled that the extent to which your mind wanders to tasks and events outside of this very moment is highly correlated to unhappiness. As in, it's really hard to be very happy if you can't focus on what's occurring right now. This is true for both personal and professional lives, but the amount of career-related unhappiness in the world means that focus at work bears special attention. That's right, folks: The more you daydream about the future while manipulating spreadsheets, the more you think about an argument with your spouse while running a meeting and the more you wish your summer vacation could rescue you from tomorrow's board report, the unhappier you will be at work. Bummer, since over 45 percent of people experience mind-wandering in every single work-related task.
The good news, of course, is that seemingly-carefree daydreamers may not actually be all that happy. Reining in your focus so that you pay close attention to your work is what actually stands a chance of boosting your professional happiness.
According to Michelle Kerrigan at Business Insider, finding focus in your work and life doesn't have to be all that hard. It just requires discipline. Here are her tips for finding focus so you can gain a sense of accomplishment and happiness in your professional life.
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