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Finding focus: Totoro’s lessons for the work-from-home woman:

Updated: 4 days ago

My neighbour Totoro movie poster

I have loved Studio Ghibli movies for years, especially because of their stunning animation and visuals. Every frame is a work of art that transports me to fantastical worlds.

Their heartwarming stories and characters are relatable and endearing and always have a lasting impression.

You can learn a lot from Ghibli movies, especially when working from home.

My favorite film is “My Neighbour Totoro”, a story of Satsuki and Mei, two close sisters. They are thrilled to be moving to the countryside with their loving father to be close to their hospitalized mother. The girls are excited to explore the lush nature and dense forest near their new home. This latest adventure seems perfect, especially with their mother on the mend.

One morning, while exploring the forest, Mei comes across a rotund creature with fluffy fur named Totoro.

My neighbour totoro

Totoro's lessons for the work-from-home woman:

1 Finding calm in the chaos:

In the movie, the sprawling forest becomes a sanctuary for the adventurous sisters. Sunlight filters through the canopy, dappling the mossy ground, their leaves whispering secrets in the gentle breeze. Lush ferns unfurl beneath the sister’s feet, and the air is filled with the sound of birdsong, This tranquil world offers a sense of peace and endless possibilities for exploration. Here, amidst the whispering leaves, Satsuki and Mei’s imagination take flight.

The serene atmosphere in Totoro embodies a sense of focus and tranquillity. Imagine sunlight filtering through the leaves, casting a dappled light on your workspace.

Incorporating natural elements like small plants or nature-inspired art on the walls will help to echo the forest’s peacefulness.

Similarly, clutter can be distracting. Organize your workspace by keeping only essential items readily accessible. This decluttered environment mirrors the forest’s order, helps minimize distractions, and promotes a clear mind for focused work. Just like Satsuki and Mei navigate the forest with ease, a well-organized space allows you to move through your tasks with clarity and purpose.

2 The power of imagination:

Satsuki and Mei explored the forest. Every rustle, every fallen log, sparked their imagination. Laughter chased butterflies as they explored their new world, a place where every day held a new adventure.

That same sense of playfulness can be harnessed during our workday breaks. Stepping away from our screens and immersing ourselves in a stimulating activity, even for a short while, can spark creative renewal. Whether it’s sketching in a notebook, taking a brisk walk in nature, or listening to a piece of music, these can act as palate cleansers for the mind. Just like Satsuki and Mei’s discoveries in the forest, these creative breaks can lead to unexpected connections and a renewed sense of focus when we return to our tasks. We might find a solution to a problem that eluded us earlier, or simply approach our work with a fresh perspective. So, embrace the spirit of exploration during your breaks, and watch your creativity blossom.

3 Embrace the journey one step at a time:

The sister’s seemingly insignificant adventures in the forest play a crucial role in propelling the story forward. Their exploration isn’t just about chasing butterflies, it’s about discovering the world around them, a world that ultimately leads them to Totoro, the enigmatic spirit who becomes a source of comfort and wonder. Each discovery, from finding tiny forest spirits to encountering the magical cat-bus, adds a piece to the puzzle, building a sense of anticipation and excitement.

The concept of small adventures holds a valuable lesson for our work-from-home routines. Just like Satsuki and Mai, we can find motivation and satisfaction by setting achievable goals and celebrating the small wins along the way. Breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps allows us to experience the joy of accomplishment more frequently. Completing a task each day creates a sense of progress, keeping us motivated and energized to tackle the next one. The “mini-victories” mimic the sister’s discoveries in the forest with each step forward bringing us closer to our goal, fuelling the desire to explore and achieve more. So, take inspiration from Satsuki and Mei’s adventure with Totoro and set achievable goals, celebrate your wins, and watch your workday unfold with a sense of accomplishment and joy.

4 Building strong support systems:

Challenges and support:

Just like Satsuki and Mei facing their mother's illness, working from home can come with its own set of challenges, like distractions or feelings of isolation.

Nurturing role & infectious enthusiasm:

Satsuki's nurturing role translates to creating a dedicated workspace at home and setting boundaries to maintain focus. Mei's enthusiasm can inspire you to find pockets of joy throughout the workday, taking breaks to recharge and maintain a positive outlook.

Facing Anxieties & Finding Comfort:

Together, they face anxieties head-on. Similarly, working from home might involve anxieties about missing out on office interactions or feeling overwhelmed. But like Satsuki and Mei, you can address these anxieties by scheduling video calls with colleagues or creating a comfortable and organized workspace that fosters productivity.

Exploring the Magical World Around Them:

While they explore a magical world, you can explore the magic of flexibility that comes with working from home. You can create a more balanced work-life schedule, allowing space for hobbies or spending time with loved ones.

The story of Satsuki and Mei reminds us that even amidst challenges, we can find strength and comfort in our support systems, just like the bond they share. By embracing the unique opportunities of working from home and creating a positive and productive environment, you can thrive in this new way of working.

To conclude:

By incorporating elements of Totoro's world into your workspace and embracing the spirit of exploration during breaks, you can cultivate a sense of calm focus and renewed creativity. Just like Satsuki and Mei's adventures led to unexpected discoveries, these practices can enhance your work-from-home routine, transforming small wins into stepping stones on your path to achieving bigger goals. Remember, a strong support system, mirroring the bond the sisters share, is key to navigating challenges and fostering a sense of well-being throughout your workday.

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