Written by Augusta Vivian

Mindfulness: How to become more productive and engaged

22nd September, 2020   •   3 min

47% of your waking life, your mind may be wandering away from the task at hand.

A Harvard study found this to be true with their participants, and that when this happened the individuals were less focused and happy compared to when they were ‘in the moment.’

In today’s busy and fast-paced world, being present can be a challenge. Our minds race between the past, present and future, often making it difficult to stay focused on the here and now.

One method to (re-)gain control over our attention is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ‘the quality of state of being conscious, and aware of the present moment.’ This practice has been found to have a positive impact on many different areas of our lives.

The benefits of mindfulness at work

Practicing mindfulness in our working week is becoming increasingly popular. This is unsurprising, considering mindfulness has been found to improve:

  • Focus, engagement and productivity
  • Our ability to make clear and confident decisions
  • Creativity and problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • Stress and anxiety levels

How to implement mindfulness into your routine

1. Focus on one task at a time

Psychologist Sam Chase shares that in order to be mindful when carrying out a task at work, we need to stop multitasking and focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is a myth. It is impossible to multitask, we can only task-switch, moving quickly between two tasks. This takes more brain power and energy and drains us faster.

How can we stop multitasking?

Make a clear plan for your day, prioritise your to do list and schedule the tasks. Scheduling is one of the most effective ways to stay focused. Then methodically move through each task, one at a time. Avoid getting pulled away from that task by turning off notifications during your focus time.

Watch this brilliant, slightly scary documentary about the power of switching off notifications.

2. Practice active listening

Active listening and engaging fully with those around us, whether that be our team, clients or prospects, is a great way to practice mindfulness at work.

“Most people listen with the intent to reply, rather than the intent to understand”
– Stephen Covey

So don’t be most people. Listen to truly understand what the other person is saying. Listen with an empty mind, hearing each word the other person says without planning what you will say next.

This not only helps you be in the moment, it also strengthens your communication skills. People will want to spend more time with you and you will build more trusting relationships.

3. Make time for reflection

When you eat your first bite of breakfast, instead of reading, watching or listening to content, take a moment to embrace awareness and notice the taste of your food. When you take a lunch break, actually take a lunch break. Walk away from your working space and leave your phone behind.

Go for a walk and look around you: often you will spot a new beautiful building you didn’t see before, an old interesting tree or even meet someone new as you look up and take in your surroundings.

You may roll your eyes and think you don’t have time for this. The fact is, mindfulness has helped many people to improve their psychological wellbeing. You also might find that you enjoyed your lunchtime walk more than usual!

Schedule time into your day to stop, pause, and reflect on the day so far.

By implementing mindful practice into our day, we strengthen our ability to remain in the present and be a better leader, teammate, and friend as a result. Give it a go and see how your happiness, productivity and creativity improve.

If you would like to let us know how you get on, or discuss more, get in touch.