Have you ever been late for a meeting because you saw the reminder on your screen and then forgot? Maybe you turned in something that wasn't your best work because you were trying to focus on too much at one time? This is due to something called "mindfulness", or the lack thereof.
The reality of the modern, fast-paced workplace is that people are typically "too busy" to put their entire focus on a single task. This lack of mindfulness may be hurting your quality of work.
But what does "mindfulness" actually mean, anyway? And how can you use this concept to improve your focus and quality while you're at work?
So, What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness means being completely present in a given situation. You're 100% percent aware of your surroundings and the impact of everything you do on your life and lives of those around you. It also means not reacting to the unexpected, or becoming overwhelmed by what you might call "the little things".
It's clear to see, then, why mindfulness can be helpful in the workplace. It can make us better equipped to work with others in team environments. It can help you reach that laser-focus that your bosses love to see, or if not, at least help you increase the quality of your work.
Without further ado, here are 5 ways to practice mindfulness at work:
1. Start Uni-Tasking (That's a Word, Right?)
Many people brag about their ability to do multiple things at once, and if done well, multi-tasking is a strength. The only question is, how can you tell if you're doing it well?
The reality is that most people who think that they're "multi-tasking" are just wasting time bouncing between tasks, unable to devote their full concentration on either.
To be mindful, focus on one thing at a time. It's hard to be fully present when you're brain is trying — in vain — to focus on ten things at a time.
2. Release Your Inner Zen
Some people choose to do yoga on their lunch breaks, and whether they know it or not, this calming activity is helping with their ability to focus and be present for the rest of the day.
The next step of from this is something called "mindfulness meditation", which, as the Harvard Gazette quotes, can be "like a fitness routine for your brain". Mindfulness meditation allows you to take a break from the high-stress competition of the average work environment and recharge. The end result? You'll become better equipped to handle the rest of the day without "that two o'clock feeling".
3. Go Green
Most people think mindfulness is completely internal, but the design of your workspace can have a real effect on the way you work. Biophilic design is one of the tenets of the theory that the way you decorate and design your workspace can contribute to being calmer and more productive.
Don't have complete control over your space? That's ok! Even if you bring a plant from home and make sure it's within your sightline while you're working, it might just do the trick.
4. Slow It Down
What do you do when work starts to pile up? If you're like most people, you get focused and start to rush through things. But is that really true "focus"? Studies have shown that there's a correlation between how long work takes and the quality of the work. At the same time, most managers will agree that work done quickly is not necessarily reflective of a strong final product.
To stay mindful and in control of your work, pump the brakes a bit. While it may seem like the wrong strategy to handle a growing mountain of work, look at it this way: it's likely that the time you "lose" doing your work slower than normal will be saved by fewer revisions and changed needed when it's all said and done.
5. Stop Wasting Time on Tech
Stop and think about the parts of your job in which you're the least mindful. For most people in most jobs, installing and updating different computer software and switching between different accounts takes up time that can lead to counterproductive behaviors later in the day: rushing through work and becoming overwhelmed.
Shift is a program built for the most productive (and mindful) people. It allows you to seamlessly switch between programs like Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365 accounts while integrating with hundreds of the most popular apps and extensions to give you the efficiency you need to succeed.
We often think of mindfulness as an inconsequential way to relieve stress. Implement these tips and we know you'll soon realize that mindfulness (or the lack thereof) was holding you back from bigger and better things at your job.