Ways to be more mindful at work

HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE MORE IN LESS TIME, BY WORKING IN A FOCUSED, MINDFUL WAY?

Rohit Chopra

Founder CEO @Zifcare

Person working mindfully in the office

In today’s fast-paced digital world, we are overwhelmed with constant messages, emails, and deadlines. There are too many things vying for our attention at a time.

So, how can we improve our mindfulness at work and ensure that our limited time is utilized in a productive manner? Here are some tips from the world’s leading experts:

1. Just breathe

This is a simple, free and powerful tool to just return to the present moment and is at the core of any mindfulness practice. Often during the day, we find that we are lost in our thoughts, worries about the future, and regrets from the past. However, the only control we have over our life is over the present.

We can return to our present instead of being in a state of constant mental absence, just by taking a few long deep breaths and focusing on the breath for some time. This can be done anytime during the day.

The importance of proper breathing simply cannot be overstated.

2. Perform one task at a time

Too many times, we get seduced by the glamour of “multi-tasking”. However, in most cases, it is far more productive and time-efficient to fully commit to one task at a time and complete it to satisfaction. This also reduces the chances of making errors and having to redo the work.

Working on a project while taking a call every few minutes, logging into Facebook, and eating a sandwich in between is just plain inefficient.

3. Prioritize and evaluate

Before starting work or anytime during the day, it is essential to make a list of things that we plan to achieve for the day. This ensures that we focus on what’s important and don’t lose ourselves in mundane tasks.

This can be followed up with a quick evaluation of how much of the day’s plan has been accomplished, sometime around noon or the evening to ensure that there’s scope for correction if needed. Being mindful at work provides remarkable benefits of clarity, efficiency, and calmness.

4. Pay attention

Too much time is lost in the repetition of instructions or communication gap errors. When we’re in a meeting or speaking to colleagues, it’s important to pay full attention. This ensures that we can clearly understand what is expected from us and make sure that we respond in a meaningful way to what is being said.

5. Take a walk

Staying in the office around the same people and in the same atmosphere for too long can lead to boredom and mental blocks. By taking a walk, in a park or close to nature, if possible, refreshes the mind. Not only that, a ten-to-fifteen-minute walk between work is immensely healthy, especially for people who stay seated for long hours during the day. Mindful work basically means slowing down, to speed up. A little counter-intuitive, isn't it?

6. Use Mindful Reminders

The word “mindful” means to be aware. To be mindful at work means to be aware of what you're doing, while you're doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional states. Mindfulness means you should give your full attention to what you're doing. Our brain’s normal (default) mode is to be habitually lost in our thoughts. When we are going about our usual daily activities, our brain switches into this low energy state, which is heedless, almost dreamy.

Research undertaken at Harvard University showed that 47 percent of a person’s day can be spent lost in thoughts. The same research found that daydreaming can have a negative impact on well-being.

Being on auto-pilot means that you’re not fully present and awake to the opportunities and choices around you. You can’t be creative, plan something new, or respond appropriately if you’re operating mechanically.

By using some form of reminder, you can be mindful again. The reminder shakes you out of auto-pilot mode. These are a few ways in which you can practice mindfulness at work:

  • Setting an alarm on the phone – even a vibrating alarm that doesn’t disturb others can work well. So, every time your phone rings, you can take a mindful breath or sip some water.
  • Taking small breaks – perhaps after every 2 hours, you can take a quick 5 minutes break just to pause and observe. You may feel that these 5 minutes are a waste of time, but in reality, it recharges you, so you can do your work more efficiently. There are many benefits of taking breaks during work.

Benefits of Mindfulness in the workplace

  • Mindfulness helps in self-control, objectivity, tolerance, enhanced flexibility, improved concentration, and mental clarity.
  • Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict and increase resilience and emotional intelligence while improving communication in the workplace.
  • When our mind is calm and free, it enhances our abilities to solve problems. It removes clutter from the mind. Another way in which mindfulness may help solve your problem is by freeing you from distractions and giving you the mental space to approach the problem in new ways.

All these steps are opportunities to bring you back in the present moment, to see yourself and your surroundings afresh. You take a small step back and reflect rather than automatically react to what’s coming at you in the form of demands, tasks, and challenges. These are very basic but efficient steps that will help you to work mindfully.

How Zifcare can support you in mindfulness at work?

Zifcare has an entire library of meditation content and focus music for work that can help you develop mindfulness, release stress, and improve focus to harness your full mental potential in the workplace.

You can also read more about mindfulness at work on Headspace.

Thank you!

View more content by Rohit Chopra

Discussion Board

What do you think about doing more work in less time? What is your preferred technique for productivity?