Aim: Slow down to speed up. Practicing mindfulness at work might seem counter-intuitive to productivity, but by taking moments to thoughtfully pause or slow down, you can become more efficient, productive, happy, resilient, and healthy at work.
- We can let go of most distractions- We need to be cognizant that most distractions are negligible, and we can consciously choose where we focus our attention.
- We can strategically handle our distractions- We also need to strategically handle distractions, either by choosing to let them go totally, dealing with them in the future or diverting our attention to them fully (if they’re more important than what we’re currently doing).
Seven Methods to Be More Mindful at Work:
1) List Out Your Priorities: Before you get to work, try to write a list of the most important tasks you need to complete that day and work on them in that order.
2) Focus on Certain Tasks: Throughout your day, decide to execute tasks mindfully. Stop, focus, and give full attention to each person or task you must manage.
3) Remove Distraction: Find time during your day to turn off “noisy” electronic devices like cellphones. It can be done. It might mean simply silencing certain apps (like texts). It might mean silencing your phone and placing it screen down in order to dedicate your first 30 mins of the day to focusing and prioritizing.
4) Create a Temporary Distraction-Free Environment: Consider using headphones to listen to white noise, lyric-free music, or other sounds when focusing on priority tasks that need your full attention. If discussed with your team, this can signal to colleagues that you would prefer not to be interrupted for the time-being.
5) Use Short Mindful Exercises at Work: Between tasks, or in the middle of a long task (~45 minutes), stretch, take deep breaths, or go for a mindful walk. Alternatively, look out the window from where you are sitting and observe something, ideally something in motion (tree blowing in wind or a continuously spinning wind turbine) for the duration of three breaths. Your colleagues won’t even notice!
6) Group Tasks in Categories. For example, put together emails, phone calls, and meetings. Then you can do them all together in one block of time rather than switching from emails to calls to meetings.
7) Schedule a Time for Distraction: Instead of allowing yourself to check your email throughout the day, designate certain moments to do so.