Mindfulness is a hot topic these days; many people are embracing it in their personal lives. Yet, at work, mindfulness is often left at the front door and stress takes over.
We know that focusing your awareness on the present moment can improve your focus, attention and ability to work under stress. It’s paying attention to what you’re feeling, thinking, and seeing without judging it. Mindfulness sounds like it’s easy, but it takes practice.
Here are five ways to practice mindfulness at work.
Organise your day with a to-do list
Before you run out the door at the end of the day, take five minutes to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in the day and what you need to do tomorrow.
Organise your day with a to-do list with your top three priorities on it and estimate of the time required to complete the task. Start your day with the most important and most demanding task, or if there is something on your to-do list that you don’t want to do, eat the frog and do it first. Then work on the next most important task. Not only will you accomplish more, but you will also get the most important things done.
Start your day with meditation
Often, when we arrive at work, we’re a bit all over the place and not present. It’s raining, traffic was heavy, you had to fight with the kids to get them out the door, or there was no hot water for the shower. When you sit down at your desk, your head is elsewhere.
Add 5-10 minutes of meditation to your morning to bring in the sense of calm and focus. Sit down on a comfortable chair, close your eyes and breathe. Allow yourself to observe your thoughts without judging them. There are so many meditation apps and tapes out there to help you learn to meditate.
One task at a time
Multitasking is a massive hindrance to productivity. We don’t naturally concentrate on multiple things at the same time. It’s not effective.
Stick to doing one task at a time, complete that task and then move on to the next. If you are switching from task to task, you are losing productivity; it’s disruptive and messy. It might look like you have it all together on the surface, but it’s creating more chaos than just moving through your list.
Create a distraction-free environment
It’s so easy to get distracted by notifications on your devices. Create designated time slots for emails, phone calls and breaks. If you can manage to stick to the time slots for your emails, in particular, it will have a significant impact on your productivity. Stay off your social media networks while you’re working.
I like to listen to concentration music while I am working. It keeps me focused, and if I have my headphones in, it signals to others that I am busy and don’t want to be interrupted.
Journal at work
Some days at work are just not great. You get an unpleasant phone call or email, a project fails, or a task feels impossible. And it’s killing your ability to concentrate. You can’t always control your emotions or thoughts; fighting with them is exhausting. It helps to get it out of your head.
Take a break, grab your journal and write time how you feel in the moment. Become aware of your feelings without judgement. Getting everything out on paper will help you overcome the situation and make you more resilient the next time it arises.
Mindfulness at work will not only help you be more productive and creative, but it’ll also make you more resilient focused and feel better. Mindfulness is a practice, try it for a week and see how you feel at the end of it.