Make yourself a happy place in your inbox - a mindfulness tip for your working day

3 Feb 2021

Your work inbox is probably not a place that sparks joy. It's full of people asking you to do things, complaints that something hasn't been done, and 571 messages marked urgent.

In fact email is usually considered to be a hindrance, with many productivity guides recommending simply ignoring your email for large periods of the day, blocking out that time for focussed work. The consensus is that your work inbox is just a place that generates distractions, and contains never-ending to-do lists that nag away at you throughout the day.

But my inbox has a secret.

My inbox holds my office happy place. A cool oasis of positivity among the desert of client demands, deadlines, and review requests.

My happy place is so simple anyone can recreate it, and over several years has brought me joy when I'm feeling strong and support when I'm low.

This DIY mindfulness practice is an inbox folder called "Nice :-)", into which I sort all the emails I receive containing praise, thanks, or positivity - anything that makes me happy when I read it. It honestly is that simple, but this small thing has helped me through many tough days.

So often at work success can feel fleeting. Once something has been solved we move on to the next problem, with little time to bask in the glory of a job well done. But those successes still count, and should be remembered.

In the rush of the working day it's so easy to focus on the the continual stream of requests for your time, and forget that your responses are really appreciated. Keeping hold of those one-line emails that say "Thanks, this is great!" helps me remember that work isn't just about getting through the day. Our work and the time spent on it is valuable, and makes a huge difference to our colleagues' and users' lives.

Having this space to record personal successes has really helped my mental well-being over the years, building up an arsenal of evidence to counteract those negative voices in my head when things aren't going so well. I'd recommend this trivial technique to everyone, as a super simple way to make yourself a little happy place that's open for visitors any time you need.

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