10 Ways to Be More Mindful at WorkBy Shamash Alidina
Mindfulness may seem like a great idea, but how do you become more mindful in the context of a busy work day? You may have emails, phone calls, meetings and presentations to deal with. And, of course, your own work! In the middle of all that, how can you apply the principles of mindfulness so that you feel more alive and present, while being productive?
1. Be Consciously Present
Mindfulness is, above all, about being aware and awake rather than operating unconsciously. When you’re consciously present at work, you’re aware of two aspects of your moment-to-moment experience—what’s going on around you and what’s going on within you. To be mindful at work means to be consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires you to give that your full attention. Each time your mind wanders to things like Helen’s new role or Michael’s argument with the boss, just acknowledge the thoughts and bring your attention back to the task in hand. This scenario sounds simple, but many aspects of your experience can get in the way.
Here are some ideas to help you stop being mindless and unconscious at work and more mindful and consciously present:
- Make a clear decision at the start of your workday to be present as best you can. Pause for a few moments before you start your work day to set this intention in your mind.
- Make an effort to work more consciously, even if that means that you need to work a little slower at first—doing so pays in the long run.
- Keep all the advantages of working mindfully in mind to motivate you.
- Connect with your senses rather than getting lost in trains of thought when you’re doing a task.
- Give your full attention to seemingly mundane tasks like washing your hands, opening doors, dialling phone numbers, and even just feeling your breathing as you’re waiting in a meeting room. These little moments add up to make the day a more mindful one.
2. Use Short Mindful Exercises at Work
Mindful exercises train your brain to be more mindful. The more mindful exercises you do, the easier your brain finds it to drop into a mindful state, thus optimizing your brain function. In the busy workplace,