Mindfulness at Work

Do you ever find yourself operating on autopilot while on the job? Routines can provide a framework to encourage accuracy and productivity, but they can also lead to boredom, apathy, and low job satisfaction. Zoning out while completing mundane tasks prevents us from taking advantage of all the opportunities and information around us, which can be a disaster for creativity and innovation. Luckily, there is a skill that can bring you back into the present moment so you can fully engage with your work in a meaningful way!

By injecting moments of mindfulness into your work, your brain will be more able to effectively synthesize information, maintain office relationships, regulate anxiety, manage stress, and increase productivity. A mindful mind is able to learn new skills, adapt to new situations, and improve interpersonal effectiveness, all of which are invaluable in a working environment.

But how can you become more mindful if your day is full of phone calls, meetings, emails, and presentations? Try reminding yourself to be consciously present. This means you are aware of your moment-to-moment experience, both externally and internally. Start your day with an intention and give each task on your to-do list your full attention. Integrate short mindfulness exercises throughout your busy day -- mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated -- it can be as simple as closing your eyes and breathing! Just like any other skill, the more you are able to practice, the more adept you will become. If you’re tight on time, try a few minutes of paced breathing at your desk. Bring focus to the rhythm and movement of air into and out of your body, and any time your mind tries to drift towards your unfinished tasks or your full inbox, purposefully bring attention back to your breath. Let nothing else matter -- just you, you breath, and this brief moment of mindfulness. Taking this time for yourself will actually help you increase your effectiveness at work!

A full inbox can be a trigger for anxiety. To avoid getting distracted by low-priority emails, apply mindfulness when opening your inbox. Focus on what is important while maintaining awareness of what is unnecessary noise. Better yet, try not checking your email at the start of the day – you might find that you are able to have a period of concentration and productivity by sidestepping the short-term distractions.

Mindfulness can also help you avoid the stress of multitasking. Rather than trying to accomplish ten things at once, working mindfully means that you are able to focus on each task at hand without becoming overwhelmed by external distractions. A mindful mind will help you identify what is worth your attention and what you can ignore.

 By concentrating and staying present with one thing at a time, you will be able to enhance your effectiveness and decrease mistakes,ultimately increasing the value of the work you are completing. Similarly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with projects and deadlines, take a few minutes at your desk to practice mindfulness before diving into the next item on your to-do list.Keep in mind that mindfulness is not a passive state. It requires practice and dedication.Incorporating mindfulness throughout your workday will help your brain stay sharp and avoid making bad decisions. It can even help shorten those inevitable and lengthy meetings you dread.

Written By Krystyl Wright, LCSW 

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