How to increase productivity at work by using mindfulness
When you are looking for answers to the question “how can I increase productivity at work”, mindfulness is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind. Most people think that mindfulness is irrelevant to productivity, that it is a topic to be discussed in spirituality blogs and not on a blog that focuses on giving tips about how you can improve productivity at work.
However, if you have tried practicing mindfulness and you have experienced its benefits then you probably understand the connection between mindfulness and personal productivity in the workplace.
Real Life Examples
Imagine a stressful situation at work like the many we all have experienced. Maybe you have been given only twenty minutes to complete a difficult task. Or perhaps you discovered a mistake during a last-minute check before delivering a presentation and you only have five minutes to correct it.
Let’s also explore a different scenario. You are at work, and today you need to work overtime to deliver a project. You already had a long day full of meetings and other stressful tasks. And now it’s already afternoon and you need to complete very demanding stuff that require clear thinking. However, you are so muddle-headed after the long day that is impossible to continue working.
These are examples in which mindfulness could help you to perform your work effectively and efficiently. But what is mindfulness?
Definition and benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. This can be achieved through different techniques and in this post, I will show you a mindfulness meditation. There are many reported benefits of mindfulness meditation. It improves memory, it relieves stress and anxiety, it reduces depression and hypertension, it bolsters the immune system. These are benefits that have a direct or indirect impact on personal productivity.
Practicing mindfulness meditation at work
As a personal productivity coach, I have worked with many busy people who would benefit from practicing mindfulness. The first argument I heard many times when I brought mindfulness to the table, before they agreed to give it a try, was that they don’t have the time. It wasn’t really a time issue. It was more about being in such a hectic state of mind, that focusing awareness on the present moment seemed like a utopian dream.
However, it is possible, and the good news is that you don’t really need to invest much time. Just a couple of minutes per day could make a huge difference. You can try it while sitting at your office desk and no one would even notice. So, what would you say about a mindfulness challenge? Starting today, practice the following exercise every day for the next two weeks.
A mindfulness exercise for your office
- Sit comfortably on a chair with both feet flat on the ground.
- Gently close your eyes or lower your gaze.
- Listen to any sounds that you can hear inside the room
- Listen to any sounds that you can hear outside the room
- And now bring your attention to your breath.
- Feel the breath moving in and out.
- Breathe normally and effortlessly. Breathe in through the nose. Breathe out through the mouth.
- As you breathe in, think “I breathe in”. As you breathe out, think “I breathe out”.
- If your mind wanders during the exercise gently bring your attention back to your breathing, and the thoughts, I breathe in and I breath out.
- Do the exercise for one or two minutes.
- When you feel ready gently open your eyes.
I hope that you tried and enjoyed the mindfulness meditation exercise. On the podcast “Work Smarter, Not Harder” I also show this exercise and you can do it along. I would also like to invite you to take our free Work – Life Balance Assessment. It is a good starting point, if you are interested in improving your productivity and your work -life balance.