Laura Willis: Buddhify, Happiness at Work, Dealing with the Digital ‘Always On’ Culture and Dealing with Stress 

Buddhify, Happiness at Work, Dealing with the Digital ‘Always On’ Culture and Dealing with Stress with Laura Willis of Shine Offline.

Listen Below and Here’s What We Recommended:

Tools & Apps

Using a Pad to Note Actions – “Every time something came into my head, I got a little pad and then I started writing stuff down. That would become part of my batch working, so I was there a few times a day actioning on those things by going online and dealing with them. That’s what we recommend people, to have a little pad and pen and use that to try and keep their focus whenever they’re working through the day. That’s one of my biggest tools.”

Buddhify – “Buddhify is a good meditation app because they’ve got lots of different lists on meditation depending on what your situation is, how you’re feeling. You can choose from different lists”

HeadSpace – another meditation app 

Other Resources

Controlling Tech – “We’ve got some very basic simple tips that we recommend that people try and use if they feel they’re not in control and the tech is running their day.”

Think Productive – “Graeme Cox set it up about eight years ago. His email management is brilliant. He talks about email should be on your list of things to do, like the way that I’m managing my work is, I have a list and I have this sort of sub heading. The first one is email, the second one is calls, the next one admin, and the next one’s decisions. They’re the four that I work on the week and within that email is one of the areas of work I have to deal with so I have to send some emails and deal with some emails. What I plan to do is only go into my inbox to retrieve three times a day. When I get in just before lunch and then right around three o’clock, on the days I’ve done it I felt brilliant but I’ll tell you now, it’s really hard.”


Happiness at Work – “It’s actually a book by a mindfulness teacher called Sharon Salzberg who is American. At my meditation group on a Tuesday night, people joke that I am probably on commission because any chance I get to talk about her, I talk about her because she’s amazing. The book’s really brilliant because it’s all about bringing what is essentially basic principles of compassion and kindness and empathy into the workplace.

Suggestion from Jo – “Organized Mind, Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload“, by Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist.


John Kabat-Zinn – “I was feeling really anxious so I ended up one night googling stress management or something. A Google talk came up by a meditation teacher who’s sort of the godfather of evidence-based mindfulness, meditation in the States. His name is John Kabat-Zinn. I watched the video, he was talking to Google staff at their own little conference, and it was all about living in the moment and the power of now. I was really inspired because I was someone who was always preoccupied with the future, always worrying about when the next project was going to come in, when the next money was going to come in, and this concept was just mind boggling for me. That started me on a journey through some meditation. I did an eight week course and I went to a couple of conferences and I started to meditate using the head space app on my own, and I found it really helpful.”

Dealing with the Digital ‘Always On’ Culture – “Shine Offline has come on the back of me knowing that I have not a problem with it, but I know that it’s a very complex relationship. Now that I’m not working from home, I’m able to leave my laptop in the office every night because if I take it home with me, I’ll turn it off but I’ll probably turn it on three or four times throughout the evening because the anticipation of knowing what’s in the inbox is just so strong for me. I know I’m not unusual in that way.”

Always on Email – “It’s comparative to the slot machine psychology. It’s the randomisation of it. Whenever you play a slot machine, if every time you didn’t win or every time you did win, your behaviour would be different but because it’s random, you keep going. Stuff like mobile text or any ICT, because when you go in to refresh your email, to see what’s there, it’s like who knows? It could be a missing piece of work, it could be a lovely bit of good news, it could be junk but the randomisation of it just encourages you to go into it, it’s like gambling.”

It’s all Individual – “The more people we speak to and the more research we read – It’s such an individual thing. One person’s filter, there’s a filter failure where a lot of us don’t have a good filter anymore and we’re just being bombarded with information. I have a really rubbish filter, whereas my husband has a really good filter. I would be much more extroverted than him, he would be more of an introvert and his ability to be able to cope with information coming in at him, his ability to … For example, if he got an email coming to his inbox from one of his clients about a new piece of work, he could quite happily not … He could see the subject line but quite happily to not click on it. I’m like, “Are you mad?” If that came into mine, I’d be on it straightaway. It’s just different personality types and how people cope with things are very, very different but the flip side of that.”

Some People Can Integrate It – “We heard a piece of research last week that said that there are people who like to be in this culture of being constantly connected. They like work to be infiltrating their personal life, they like blurry edges. That’s fine but we still as human beings, we still need downtime, we still need rest, we still need rejuvenation.“

Creating Barriers – “I have taken it to the nth degree in a sense, but because I find it so challenging working from home and now I’m in a position where I don’t have to, I have created quite a big barrier between the two. When I leave the office to go back and I’m sort of switching off really and when I get home, my husband will be there and he will be finishing off a piece of work, then he’ll be off the computer to go into the kitchen to start the dinner and then going back to it. He’ll jump up and down from the office, but probably once it gets to about half past six, the computer’s off and then it’s home time which works brilliantly for me.”

Dealing with Stress – “How I deal with it and what impact it has are two very different things. My biggest problem really is my sleep. I can become sleepless quite quickly. If there’s stress going on, especially work stress. I went through a CBT reteaching yourself how to sleep, that was a couple of years ago, it was really, really great. You basically have to completely suppress yourself of sleep, work out how much sleep you’re getting. Say you’re only getting, when you total it up, you’re only getting three hours, what you need to do is then …

Say you’re going to bed at eleven o’clock and you’re getting up at seven but you’re only getting three hours of sleep within that time, what you’re meant to do is basically retrain yourself, so only allow yourself the three hours of sleep to stay up until … Do you know what I mean? You have to go through this cleanse in your bedroom and one of the things is no tech in the bedroom.“

Getting to Sleep – “About a year ago, I started to get up and write, just free write which I’ve never done before. I know people talk about the morning pages and stuff, but I’ve never done any of that. I find that if I get up and sit and write for twenty minutes, then I put my head on the pillow, I fall asleep so that’s been really great for me”.

To Contact Laura

On the website,, you’ll find all the info about us there and there’s a team page. The four of us have a little profile and there’s a little link into my story, my background, and about why we’re doing what we’re doing. I’m on LinkedIn as well, so if anybody wants to email me, it’s just

Tweet: I just looked at him and in my head I said to myself, “Switch off and slow down” @ShinyHappyLaura

Tweet: That’s what we recommend – to have a little pad and pen and use that to try and keep focus @ShinyHappyLaura

Tweet: This is so important because there’s quite a lot of isolation if you’re sitting on your own all day @shinyhappylaura

Download my Stress Reduction Checklist here

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