In our first episode of the podcast, strategist and entrepreneur, Geetika Agrawal shares the story of how seeking mindfulness at work led her to take a remote year and to start her business, Vacation With An Artist. She shares her learnings and advice for staying curious, traveling mindfully and the power of adventures in the day-to-day.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness in the USA, 1 in 5 people live with mental illness. In Australia, it's estimated that 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
I’ve battled with depression throughout my life, have supported friends coping with crippling anxiety, and in 2012, I lost my cousin to suicide. My commitment to mental health is deeply personal.
Earlier this year, watching our feed on #worldmentalhealthday, it was clear that the global community of thinkers - strategists, creatives, writers, designers, entrepreneurs - is full of stories expressing silent and often lonely battles with depression, anxiety, stress and other crippling mental health related conditions.
The mental health of our community deserves attention.
Every time we share personal stories of mental health challenges and what it feels like, we redefine ‘normal’ and eliminate some weight from the stigma. Every person that integrates a habit of mindfulness into their lives, discovers additional tools to help ease their burden. Every day that you ask someone “are you ok?”, you create a moment for them that says I See You.
Through our mindful products and our community, we hope we can be an ally for anyone bravely facing a mental health condition. With every planner sold, we donate $1 to one of these organizations:
We are supporting #GivingTuesday on November 27.
Use code GRATEFUL at check-out between November 22 and 26, 2018 to receive 25% off your purchase and contribute to our fundraising efforts for these important organizations. This code is not redeemable for annual membership.
"Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history, from flints for starting a fire to self-driving cars, have something in common: They are the result of curiosity. The impulse to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities is a basic human attribute."
(Source : Harvard Business Review)
In contrast, the same HBR deep dive into curiosity revealed that in a survey of 3,000 employees from a wide range of firms and industries, only about 24% reported feeling curious in their jobs on a regular basis, and about 70% said they face barriers to asking more questions at work.
Hold the phone. Let that sink in. If you've found your way here, chances are you're a professional thinker, creator or maker. You make a living from being curious, right? How would you answer the question in this survey? Let me ask it a different way, how often does your curiosity allow you to get away from your desk, away from your devices and to wander down a thought path that’s not an internet k-hole...
The internet is incredible - heck, it's delivering this blog post to you, so we love it! But, if you're exploring our site and considering how to bring a little more mindfulness into your life, chances are your digital distractions are reaching a point of saturation. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, our sense of curiosity is dampened by these distractions.
This is why we created a physical printed planner. In a world full of apps, we've gone 100% analogue with the products planned for The Mindful Series. There's something uniquely human that happens when we are without devices, just with pencil and paper. It's not just anecdotal, science agrees.
How will you bring a little more curiosity into your day?
Pre-orders for The Mindful Strategist are heating up. A reminder we have a limited first run, so don't wait. If you're one of our first 400 customers, you’ll be a Vol.1 Member. Vol.1 Membership gives you priority access to new releases in The Mindful Series, periodic member-only discounts and invitations to exclusive events.
The first planner in our series is The Mindful Strategist - a journal specifically designed for people who spend a lot of time thinking at work. Incorporating the principles of curiosity, reflection and noticing, this observation journal supports and encourages a daily habit of mindfulness
So why journaling? Why not a productivity planner?
"Once the domain of teenage girls and the literati, journaling has become a hallmark of the so-called self-care movement, right up there with meditation. And for good reason: Scientific studies have shown it to be essentially a panacea for modern life. There are the obvious benefits, like a boost in mindfulness, memory and communication skills. But studies have also found that writing in a journal can lead to better sleep, a stronger immune system, more self-confidence and a higher I.Q." Source : New York Times
While most of this science is focused on personal journaling, I can't help but wonder how this might apply to professional journaling?
There was a lot written 5-7 years ago about 'work diary' benefits, but in the years since, the rise and rise of social media and prevalence of mobile tech means that we are more connected and 'always on' than ever. This takes a toll on our ability to be creative, to think uniquely and deeply, to innovate and it impacts our personal growth at work. Planners that focus on productivity are just another way that we stay wired to our 'fast thinking' to-do list. How often is 'spend time noticing' on your to-do list?
This is why I created The Mindful Series. We aren’t for time-management hustlers or hyper-productivity pursuits. The Mindful Strategist is not designed as a traditional date-book or productivity planner. There are no dates, check-lists, appointment reminders or time management tools included in this journal. Instead, we designed this as a guided observation experience, with dozens of different daily mindful writing prompts that encourage you to find space in your work day (as little as 15-20 minutes per day) to be present, to ponder and to pause.
Some days, I feel like I need a regular visual reminder to be mindful. For me, it’s the small stickers and crystals strategically placed in my office and these Thinking Eggs on my desk at home as tiny symbolic reminders that trigger me to take a moment, to take a deep breath. I also use lock-screen wallpapers on my phone to encourage me to resist the digital distractions.
As I write, we are so close to being ready to open the doors and take pre-orders for The Mindful Strategist. After so many month of preparation, it feels a little surreal.
Our Mindful Design
The story behind our brand and our cover design is mindful (of course!).
The underscore in our brandmark rests quietly beside our brand name as a reminder to take pause. We exist to support your mindful practice, encourage you to take a beat, to intentionally create space in the day and then mindfully use the space you’ve created.
You’ll also notice we use a single dot (or circle), in various sizes, throughout our branding. To us, this is another way to signify creating space - finding the time to think, create or make - and also the act of recording what happens as you do this.
The tale of two covers
On Nov 1, we are launching with a limited time opportunity: the first few hundred orders will have the ability to choose between two covers. Why? Because at this early stage in our development, we’re curious to know which of these two covers will resonate with you the most. Whichever cover flies off the shelves the fastest, that will help us to decide which cover design will become the basis for future volumes and the rest of The Mindful Series.
The first design is yellow with a white circle, and comes in a matte laminate finish.
The matte finish means you might be able to write a personal mantra or quote inside the white circle on the front. We simply love the feel and texture of the matte cover. Our designer friends would vote for this one. But we are also curious to see how the matte cover wears with daily use, as it may be more easily marked or scuffed.
The second design is white with a yellow circle, and comes in a gloss finish.
The back of this cover option is full yellow, and the gloss finish means this cover will be a little harder to mark or scuff. We love the clean simplicity of this cover design and we think it captures the eye and serves as a visual reminder to find space in the day.
Which do you prefer? Tell us with your order of the first edition of The Mindful Strategist!
We’ll keep you updated with the direction we take.
I’m Justine, strategist and founder of The Mindful Series. I tell the story of my journey into mindfulness in the first pages of our planners. You can also read my background on my website. But this is a slightly different story.