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15 Tips for Being More Present at Work

Business professionals and leaders from various backgrounds and industries

Being present and living mindfully at work essentially means you’re focused and engaged in the moment. Factors that can affect this might be stress, preoccupation, major life events, and more. Being present is important because you can more easily manage your workload, better cope with work-related stress and be more productive. 

To help you maintain your focus and presence throughout the workday, our friends over at Terkel asked their community of business professionals and leaders for their insight on being more fully present at work. 

From practicing gratitude to prioritizing your time, there are several ways you can be more focused and present at work.

Here are 15 ways to be fully present at work: 

  1. Invest in Your Teams With Tools to Facilitate and Adapt
  2. Practice Presence
  3. Have a Morning Routine
  4. Establish Boundaries
  5. Do One Thing at a Time
  6. Find Your Flow
  7. Avoid Distractions
  8. Practice Gratitude
  9. Prioritize Your Time
  10. Increase Your Energy
  11. Ignore Your Cell Phone
  12. Get a Good Night's Rest
  13. Create the Right Work Environment
  14. Use the Pomodoro Technique
  15. Disconnect to Reconnect

1. Invest In Your Teams With Tools To Facilitate And Adapt

Being present at work isn’t always easy, especially during turbulent and uncertain times. In order for employees to be more fully present at work, make a point to set up tools to facilitate communication and add transparency. For example, a tool that displays statuses, so a colleague will know when to not disturb. Another tactic is scheduling one daily meeting that’s less than 20 minutes to allow for everyone to touch base. Even if no one has anything to discuss that’s work-related, it allows for the team to connect on a social level, creating a safe space and making them more comfortable to reach out for help when they need it. But most importantly as a manager, I make sure to put in the effort to listen to my team and their ideas, changing what’s not working and finding that sweet spot.

Lisa Massicotte, Presagia

2. Practice Presence

Practice using your "presence muscle” by exercising it regularly through meditation.  Visualize meditation as a snow globe where one simply lets the “snow come to rest.”  A consistent meditative practice in the morning and/or evening where you take deep, calm breaths, will allow you to experience yourself, and your reactions in the moment during those situations that arise throughout your day. As a result, you can meet those situations with calm presence and dissolve them like snow. Long before any athlete scores the game-winning shot, they practice that shot over and over again. Practicing presence day after day will help you win in more moments inside your day.

Mark Jamnik, Enjoy Life Daily

3. Have a Morning Routine

In order to be more fully present at work you need a solid morning routine. It is important to start your day with control and create balance, otherwise you may be chasing emails and other requests all day. Wake up at the same time, get a workout in, read, listen to a podcast, meditate, and/or prioritize your day so you know what you need to get done once in work mode. This will help you to feel refreshed and in control, it will also help you to have more energy and more of a game plan.

Alison Stine, Stine Wealth Management

4. Establish Boundaries

If you are working from home, it might mean you have to share space with others, like your family or roommate(s). This might cause you to be distracted or less productive while working. It’s important to communicate with them to establish boundaries about your work hours and space. Try to set up times when you know you’ll have meetings or calls so that everyone can keep noise to a minimum so you’re not distracted or disturbed. Having clear rules and expectations will help everyone be more productive and avoid arguments.

Eymel Daniel, ForChics

5. Do One Thing at a Time

Focus on one task at a time. If you’re thinking about too many things at once, you won’t be able to focus fully on whatever you have in front of you. Refrain from multitasking and you’ll be able to pay better attention when getting things done.

Amber Theurer, ivee

6. Find Your Flow

Discovering this zone can directly contribute to the use of your time. It helps you reach an optimal state of consciousness when you feel and perform your best. If you haven’t been able to feel this, then take breaks and take care of your creative health until you are able to perform at your highest. The biggest tip that helps me find this is to structure similar tasks together. Different tasks require a different level of thinking, so when you work on related tasks, you help your brain focus easier as you go throughout the day. It’s really made a difference when making sure our employees have what they need to stay productive and avoid burnout.

Connor MacDonald, The Ridge Wallet


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7. Avoid Distractions

When I begin work for the day, it's almost like flipping a switch. Personal calls and emails can wait until I'm finished with the projects and tasks that I have scheduled for the day. It is absolutely crucial to stay focused and not be easily distracted, especially if you're working from home. After all, studies show that it takes around 25 minutes for a person to get back into a task from which they've been distracted. In this busy world that we live in, that's just far too much wasted time in my book.

Ryan Rottman, OSDB Sports

8. Practice Gratitude

Being present at work means that we are fully engaged in what we do in the present moment. One of the best ways to learn mindfulness (being present) is by practicing gratitude. Gratitude practice allows us to appreciate what we have instead of focusing on what we lack. We can, for example, write a gratitude journal where we list three things we are thankful for each day before we start work. These can be little things, like a friendly conversation with a colleague, a sunny day, or an email with good news. It's a very simple exercise that makes us feel better, keeps us focused, and gives us extra strength and motivation to work.

Ewelina Melon, Tidio

9. Prioritize Your Time

Schedule your day so you are doing the hardest tasks at the beginning of the day, or the time of day when you are most productive and awake. Then, at the end of the day, when you are tired, do the tasks that are more menial and take less mental energy. You are only given a certain amount of energy in a day and it can be difficult to want to do it all, but you need to prioritize your energy for your own sanity and health. In terms of being more present in front of your boss, some may also prioritize that at the beginning of the day for scheduling meetings so that they can put their best foot forward.

Nancy Belcher, Winona

10. Increase Your Energy

Losing presence at work can make someone feel hopeless, unmotivated, or even depressed, while there are many possible causes, a lack of energy is one of the most common. In order to increase your presence at work, you need to increase your energy. This can be done through dietary changes, focusing on fueling your body with nutrients that it needs. It can even be focusing on proper rest, spending time on passion projects that mentally fulfill you, or better scheduling your day. When you are energized, your ability to be present at work will come more easily.

Boye Fajinmi, TheFutureParty

11. Ignore Your Cell Phone

Turning off your cell phone can help you be more fully present at work. This is a definite trick that works because with social media and texting, cell phones have become even more of a distraction in recent years. If you turn yours off, you'll be able to fully focus on whatever project you're working on and complete it in a more timely fashion. Put yourself fully into your work, and then you can always check your social media accounts at lunchtime.

Sheila Chaiban, One Ocean Beauty

12. Getting a Good Night's Rest

Sleep is essential for all functions throughout the day, and especially affects your motor skills and reaction time. In order to be fully present at work, an adequate amount of sleep can help keep your energy levels up throughout the day. It's no secret that people who are able to get more sleep are able to also be more productive and get their work done quicker than those who are struggling to stay awake. If you're having a tough time falling asleep, either due to work stress or other means, it may be a good idea to start investing in sleep aids, such as melatonin or a noise machine.

Jae Pak, Jae Pak MD Medical

13. Create the Right Work Environment

If your workspace isn’t set up to help you maintain focus and be fully present while working, you should take time to eliminate distractions and put the most important things where you can reach them easily. Take all of your papers, supplies, keyboard, mouse, etc. off your desk and wipe it down thoroughly. Then as you begin to put things back where they belong, you can organize everything and figure out what you really need in order to be productive. This can help you eliminate clutter and unneeded distractions from your workspace so you can be more productive during the workday. Plus, it will help get rid of dust, dirt and germs! Don’t forget to wipe down your keyboard and mouse!

Nathalie Walton, Expectful

14. Use the Pomodoro Technique

This classic but effective method, can quickly refocus your attention on the task at hand. At this point, there are a multitude of apps inspired by this technique which are available across all platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone). These days you don't have to use a kitchen timer nor be pigeonholed into the original 25 mins work vs. 5 mins break pattern, but instead can customize the ratio, sounds and music playing for each segment. So find a combination that is both appealing to your psyche and ears and watch your productivity take off.

Peter Bryla, ResumeLab

15. Disconnect to Reconnect

Sometimes, the best thing that we can do is take a few moments to disconnect. Sounds counterintuitive, right? The reality is that staring at a computer for extended periods of time is hard on our eyes. And trying to stay "zoned in" can cause brain fog. Take a few minutes every hour to give your eyes and brain a break, so when you are focused on your task, you are fully present.

Desiree Cunningham, Markitors

From practicing gratitude to investing in your teams with tools to facilitate and adapt, there are many ways to be more present at work. Employees who aren’t present or engaged at work are more stressed which leads to workplace accidents, absenteeism and employee turnover

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About Presagia

Founded in 1987, Presagia has a long history of helping organizations solve complex business problems with easy-to-use solutions. Today, this means providing cloud-based absence management solutions that enable organizations to be more efficient, control lost time and risk, and strengthen compliance with federal, state and municipal leave and accommodation laws.

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