Turning Chaos into Calm

In a busy, digital world which seems to never switch off, EAs are contactable 24/7, leading to blurred lines between work and play – but this needn’t be the case, says Sabina Vitacca.

The pandemic has only served to exacerbate the challenges of blurred work/play lines for employees. As many EAs will know, working from home has become the ‘norm’ and the office commute has become a short walk under the same roof. Laptops are always open, phones always on, emails always pinging – not to mention the fact that chunks of time have been regained from the lack of commute for many.

The new way

Life has become busier, largely because tech has made people more accessible and the instant gratification from responses has become expected. You’re always on – especially at the top of organisations. Executives have needed to strategise and pivot throughout challenging times, ably supported throughout by EAs who’ve kept projects on track and juggled even more balls in the air than usual.

Many of you will have needed to upskill in certain tasks to remain relevant and keep pace with the tidal flow of changes. You’ll have had to match the change of pace in the way the digital world works, too. And it’s come more critical than ever for EAs to look introspectively – do I have the correct tools and techniques to help manage a change in the way I work? Do I have the right mindset to be able to focus? Be more productive? Cope with stress? Prevent overwhelm? Do I understand how to shut down all the tabs in my brain, and give myself a chance to relax and refresh?

Time to disconnect

Amongst the chaos, what’s critical is for those at the heart of the busyness – you, the high-level assistant – to be able to disconnect from the chaos and learn how to manage the enormous workload and stress.

This is where mindfulness for business can play an enormous positive role. Not only does it help upgrade a person’s ability to perform better but it helps reset any negative thought patterns or behaviours that hinder, rather than help, progress.

Think of the brain like a computer. Occasionally it needs to shut down, update and switch back on to help it perform to its best. This is especially true in the heat of the moment, when a meeting hasn’t gone well or the to do list has exploded.

Some quick and simple tactics

Here are a few simple meditations busy EAs can do to quickly reset in the moment:

  1. Take a ‘mini-mind nap’, a short guided meditation designed to fit in between meetings or when a quick moment is needed to bring stress down
  2. A guided meditation for those moments of total overwhelm – some are only six minutes! At times like these, you might feel as though you don’t even have two minutes but it will be worth it. You’ll reset, calm your brain out of fight or flight mode and be after to perform better afterwards.
  3. Meditation while box breathing. A technique used by the military to help prevent stress, this will teach you how to breathe properly and it’ll calm and soothe the brain. It’s an effective method to bring calm to the moment.

How are you planning on disconnecting from the stress?

Maybe turning your chaos into calm should be the next step…