Work is a prominent part of all of our lives. As such we should feel it to be comfortable, worthwhile and positive. However, we cannot deny that our ‘work lives’ can often be stressful and overwhelming at times, so much so that any thought of implementing mindfulness can often go out of the window! Never fear, here are a few easy ways to bring mindfulness into your work day and to help you and your colleagues create a productive and conscious environment.
1. One thing at a time…
We love to ‘multi-task’! At work we often have so much on our plate that we go into ‘multi-task’ mode in order to try and up our efficiency, get tasks completed more quickly. This is a little chaotic for your brain, as you are actually just flitting from one task to another, instead of giving a single task your complete attention; ‘multi-tasking’ is, in fact, not possible for the human brain, and actually much less efficient than we like to think. So slow down, focus and take on one thing at a time. These pointers may help…
Make a list: Instead of storing all of your tasks in your head, get it down on a list; prioritise your tasks and make a clear plan. Now that you have clear visual reference you get rid of the stress of sorting everything in your mind, possibly forgetting tasks and the temptation to multi-task.
Fixed time period: It often helps to give ourselves an ‘end point’ to aim for. This is especially good for those who believe they are ‘better under pressure’ or are natural goal seekers. We are often more productive when we have a framework to work within, this also applies to time!
Switch off: Get rid of any distractions you don’t require; phone, e-mails, internet, watch, music… every little helps.
2. Enjoy yourself…
We spend most of our waking hours at work; we should take as much pleasure from it as we can. Be present, mindful and observant. Whether it is the view out of your office window, observing the feeling you get when completing a task you are really good at, the conversations you have with your colleagues over a coffee break; noticing the little things about your job that you enjoy can really lift your day.
Sometimes things go a bit wrong, and that is ok. It happens. And sometimes, once those things have happened there is nothing we can do to change them. There is a tendency in us to continue to give ourselves a hard time about these things. If we do not accept the mistakes we can become anxious, less communicative or even angry; this can have a negative effect on you and the atmosphere in your workplace. The fact is, if we just accept the mistake and meet the problem ‘head-on’, the outcome is usually much less stressful than expected.
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” ~ James Baraz
4. Moments for mindfulness…
Find times in the day to return to your body and your breath. If you are on a break, between tasks or just walking about the workplace, find a moment to slow down for just a second. Take some deep breaths, notice your surroundings and allow yourself to listen to your body and hear what it is telling you. We often spend our days dealing with demands from others; it can be of great benefit to drop the needs of other people for a moment and focus on yourself.
5. Be kind…
If a colleague is struggling at work in any way, big or small, think what you can do to help. It might be as simple as holding a door open, making them a drink or just listening to them openly for a while. Your workplace is a community, and a community thrives on kindness, communication and consideration. Good deeds breed good deeds and contribute to the positive emotional eco-system of your office. It also makes you feel great; confident and more productive. And remember what His Holiness teaches:
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~Dalai Lama
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