Our world is full of distractions — distractions that are holding us back and keeping us from achieving our goals.

Whether it is constant push notifications while at work or loud fans while you’re team is on the road, you need to block out the distractions and focus on what matters — the present moment. This focus on presence brings clarity and calmness to your mind allowing you to focus on the things that are most important and solve problems creatively — two things that’ll give you the edge that you need to be successful.

But what is presence?

It can be difficult to describe. Presence is defined as a state existing or being present in a place — but it can be easy to forget that presence is a state of being, not a state of doing, and in our society, we often place more value on doing than being.

When you are in the moment, you are focused and can see things with clarity, helping reduce stress. There are steps you can take to help you be present, but it also takes an intentional shift in your mindset.

While we strive for ever-faster connectivity with the world around us, we can often fall victim to losing touch with the here and now. Time is precious — we should not be trying to rush through it or avoid demanding periods of time. We should shift our mindset to savor moments of all kinds, in all times of the year. Even in the slower moments of life, being present will increase your appreciation for them and create an authentic connection with those you share them with.

The holidays are a critical time to adopt this mindset to help calm some of the holiday chaos and allow you to slow down and enjoy this time of reflection and loved ones.

Here are a few ways to begin developing the presence of mind so that you can enjoy a peaceful holiday season:

Put Down Your Phone

Whether you’re reading an article or scrolling through your social feed, you’re caught up in something other than the present. Your phone isn’t inherently bad, but many of us turn to our phones while we are at work, eating lunch, or even in a conversation with someone. These all fall short of being present. Utilize Do Not Disturb and Screen Time controls to become less distracted and begin developing more mindful and intentional phone habits.

Embrace Silence

For a few minutes a day, sit in silence — no music or podcasts — just stillness, where you can sit alone with your thoughts and notice the world around you. When we are silent, we can reset and engage in the present more clearly mentally. We also allow our mind time for self-reflection which is vital to human development and learning. Sometimes it’s as simple as: breathe.

Stop Multitasking

During busy times in your life, it can feel like you don’t have enough hours in a day to finish everything you need to. But instead of trying to do as much as you can all at once, work slowly and deliberately. Take on one task at a time, and take your time. Be deliberate on the task at hand, not rushing through to complete your to-do list.

Say No

Whether it is professionally or socially, a lot can be thrown on your plate this time of year. Chances are there will be some things you’ll feel more obligated to attend than excited too — if you are already dreading something that hasn’t even happened yet, it is forcing you out of the present now, and will likely then, so say no if that means you can better focus on things that are important to you.

Try making these small adjustments to your day-to-day to begin developing a mindset of presence. By working towards this, the focus and discipline you’ll develop will help you push through any mental or physical barriers in your way.

Train Your Brain