Mindfulness at work has been proven to help employees focus on the task at hand and increase productivity, which is why Google, Facebook, Pixar and a host of other companies have made space for meditation rooms in their corporate offices. Mindfulness, after all, is a form of meditation, and practiced regularly, is assimilated into your being, so that it becomes a way of life.
But what if you’re not working at Google? Or your office doesn’t offer mindfulness programs? You can still train yourself to become mindful by following these practices regularly. Then intuitively, you’ll realize that you have become calmer and more focused, less reactive, and finishing tasks in the office more efficiently.
Here are 5 ways to develop mindfulness at work
1. Teach your brain to focus.
Mindfulness is about focus and awareness, of yourself and your surroundings. It’s also being nonjudgmental. When you’re met by a deluge of emails, meetings, phone calls, reports and presentations, being mindful saves you from being overwhelmed. Instead of getting into a frenzied state, you concentrate on the task at hand. Distractions will always be there, from within yourself or from others, in the form of thoughts, emotions, or interruptions. When you have awareness, you can recognize these distractions immediately and put the brakes on them, allowing you to return your focus on what you are doing.
2. Be present in the moment.
When you arrive at your workplace, make a deliberate effort to be present in the moment. Give your entire self to the work you are doing, on important and mundane tasks, whether it’s organizing your files, following up on clients or making a report. When you are consciously in the now, you become more efficient and can produce more and better output than when you are on autopilot.
3. Avoid multi-tasking.
Multitasking is counterproductive. This finding is supported by numerous studies. It adds stress, reduces productivity by 40 percent, and produces more errors. It is only effective if the tasks done simultaneously do not require the same attention; i.e., walking on a treadmill while reading a book on your device.
Single tasking, on the other hand, is focused and thus produces a better-quality product in a shorter period. Apply mindfulness by grouping tasks in categories, like answering all emails, making the necessary phone calls, and doing the same for other office tasks. Set a fixed time for each task and eliminate distractions, such as putting your phone on silent and logging off from your social media accounts.
4. Do short mindfulness breathing exercises throughout the day.
Two minutes of breathing exercise before tackling your inbox, going to a meeting, or preparing a report clears your mind of distractions, and enhances your focus and awareness of the job at hand. You are faster in sorting out important emails from less urgent ones. A fully-focused breathing break done in silence before meetings boosts mindfulness, allowing you to concentrate on what is being discussed, thus leading to shorter and more effective meetings. If you’re preparing a report, being mindful lets you focus, so that you come up with documents that have quality content and visual appeal.
5. Always be grateful and humble.
Practicing gratitude and humility has positive effects on your physical and psychological well-being. Be grateful for having a job and focus on its good aspects. If there’s a co-worker you don’t like, ask yourself why to better understand your antipathy, or minimize interaction with them. If routine work is monotonous, be grateful for software tools like Movavi PDF Editor that make reports easier to accomplish. Take unkind office politics as a lesson to be more compassionate.
Being humble is to be aware of your intrinsic dependence on, and equality with, others, including your co-workers. In successful projects, give credit to the contribution of all participants. If things go wrong, don’t blame or rebuke others; discuss and analyze, then look for solutions.
Being mindful helps cultivate gratitude and humility. Awareness of others without judgment develops harmonious relationships. At work, acknowledge the performance of your colleagues and verbalize your appreciation. In meetings, give everybody a chance to be heard. Listen to their opinions in an active and open manner.
When mindfulness is present in the workplace, relationships are better managed, employees are encouraged to perform to their utmost capabilities, and individual and the company’s success is strengthened.