How to incorporate Mindfulness at work to improve your performance
Finding moments in the day to be fully aware of the present moment will help us focus on our tasks and enhance job performance
Practising mindfulness has an immediate effect on the improvement of our work performance. It is a scientifically proven fact that has already been mentioned in our blog. Several studies have shown how the technique reduces stress-related symptoms by up to 41%. However, the fast pace of modern life, awash with both personal and work-related emergencies that need heeding to, makes it difficult for us to find the time to stop and be fully present in the moment.
Nevertheless, the practice of Mindfulness does not demand much time or preparation. If we’re willing and a little organised, we can squeeze short exercises into our day, thereby establishing a routine to put this technique into practice.
Five moments in the day to practise mindfulness
1.-Straight after waking up
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? You might check your mobile phone, skim through your emails, or get up on autopilot mode to brush your teeth... What we propose is somewhat more relaxed. One of the best ways to become fully aware of the moment and start the day off on the right foot is by focusing all our attention on our breathing. This is how to do so, and it only takes a minute:
Get out of bed and find a position that you feel comfortable in, whether sitting or standing.
Gradually start focusing on your breathing. Don't check the time and don’t allow your mind to wander off and think about what’s on the agenda that day. Just inhale and exhale, while paying close attention to the sensations that this exercise is making you feel in your nose, your mouth, your lungs and your body. Performing the same task for a whole minute isn’t easy, but this exercise forms the basis of good practice for Mindfulness.
It's a very suitable exercise for when you wake up, since this is the most stressful moment of the day, but we can repeat it throughout at times when we can't focus.
2.- Before starting your working day
Picture somewhat your arrival at the office and, before entering the building, dedicate a few minutes to becoming aware of the moment. You can repeat the previous breathing exercise or opt for others, such as counting your breaths up to 10. It's simple, all you have to do is close your eyes, focus on your breathing and count from one to ten. Easy, right? Well, maybe not so much. The challenge is not allowing anything to distract your counting. If your mind starts to wander off, reminding you of the email you need to send on arrival or the errand you have to run before getting home, start again.
Repeat the counting six times. It's the last moment before starting the day, so dedicate these few minutes to yourself and be aware of the present moment before work gets underway.
3.- Before starting a meeting
Do not allow yourself to enter a meeting in a rush. It might be the norm for you to run out of your office after writing one last last email, and you might still even make the most of that time to make a quick call before going in, but that isn’t the best way to approach a meeting.
Save the last two minutes before the meeting for a breathing exercise, and take advantage of the way up to the room to focus on your body’s movements. Pay attention to every step you take and clear your mind of everything you were doing, and of what is to come. If you do, you’ll be able to better interact with others during the meeting, and you’ll avoid stress caused by any conflicts in the work place.
If you are leading the meeting, provide everyone with five minutes to disconnect before bringing the meeting to a close. It will allow all attendees to lower their heart rate and make a proper transition before pushing on with their work.
4.- After lunch
The days can get long and after working for extended periods of time, our performance just isn’t the same. An effective way to reboot is to set an alarm either mid-morning or afternoon and devote a couple of minutes to Mindfulness, before returning to your tasks.
In this case, you could opt for a conscious observation exercise. Grab your cup of coffee with both hands and focus all your attention on the feel, taste and smell of the object. By focusing on it, or any other object, you’ll be able to clear your mind and revive your ability to focus on your work.
5.- When you get home
Home at last! What do we usually do once sat on the couch? Probably watch a series, listen to music, aimlessly surf the internet... They're not bad options, but perhaps it might be better if, before doing so, you turn off your phone so as to avoid distractions of any kind. Focus on yourself, on your breathing, on your body's reactions and allow yourself this moment to relax and disconnect.
These Mindfulness exercises help us focus better on the tasks we have at hand. If we do them we can avoid situations that are detrimental to our performance, such as multi-tasking, which reduces our efficiency by 40%. In addition, as you’ve now seen for yourself, achieving a more successful working life doesn’t demand much time. In only a few minutes a day, Mindfulness can improve our performance.
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