- Rachel McFarlane
Mindfulness: How to become more productive and engaged
47% of the time your mind could be wandering away from the task at hand. A Harvard study found this to be true with their participants, and that when this happened the individuals were less focused and happy, than when they were ‘in the moment.’
In the busy and fast-paced world we live in today, being present can be a challenge. Our minds race between the past, present and future, often making it difficult to stay focused on the here and now.
One method to (re-)gain control over our attention is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ‘the quality of state of being conscious, and aware of the present moment.’ This practice has been found to have a positive impact on many different areas of our lives.
The benefits of mindfulness at work
Practicing mindfulness in our working week, is becoming increasingly popular. The reason for this is that it has been found to improve:
Focus, engagement and productivity
Our ability to make clear and confident decisions
Creativity and problem solving
Stress and anxiety levels
How to implement mindfulness into your routine
1. Focus on one task at a time
Psychologist Sam Chase suggests that in order to be mindful when carrying out a task at work, we need to stop multitasking, and focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is a myth. It is impossible to multitask, we can only task-switch, moving quickly between two tasks, taking more brain power and energy.
How can we stop multitasking?
Make a clear plan for your day, prioritise your to do list and schedule the tasks. Scheduling is one of the most effective ways to stay focused. Then methodologically move through each task, one at a time. Avoid getting pulled away from that task by switching off notifications, yes the email pop-ups, the phone “pings” and the slack “dings.”
Watch this brilliant, and a bit scary, documentary about the power of switching off notifications.
2. Practice active listening
Active listening and engaging fully with those around us, whether that be our team, clients or prospects, is a great way to practice mindfulness at work.
“Most people listen with the intent to reply, rather than the intent to understand”
- Stephen Covey
So don’t be most people. Listen to truly understand what the other person is saying. Listen with an empty mind, hearing each word the other person says without planning what you will say next.
This not only helps you be in the moment, it also strengthens your communication skills. People will want to spend more time with you, you will build more trust, rapport and long-lasting relationships.
3. Make time for reflection
If you have a morning cup of tea, take it into the garden (if you can) and just take a moment to enjoy the tea. When you take a lunch break, actually take a lunch break. Walk away from your working space and leave your phone behind.
Go for a walk and look around you, often you will spot a new beautiful building you didn’t see before, an old interesting tree or even meet someone new as you look up and take in your surroundings. You are welcoming the world in and practicing mindfulness.
You may roll your eyes, and think you don’t have time for this. We don’t have time not to. This will set you up for a productive afternoon, reduce the risk of burnout, lower anxiety levels and help you to be more creative and focused for the rest of your day. You also might find that you quite like your lunchtime walk!
Schedule time into your day to stop, pause, reflect on the day so far. This will help you to have a more productive afternoon, get more things done and do the task better than yesterday.
By implementing mindful practice into our day, we strengthen our ability to remain in the present and be a better leader, teammate, friend and client as a result. Give it a go and see how your happiness, productivity and creativity improve.
If you would like to let us know how you get on, or discuss more, get in touch.