“Life is not measured by time. It is measured by moments.” – Armin Houman
Mindfulness is as much a tool for our own wellbeing and mood as it is for our ongoing ability to be present, effective and productive. Workdays are often busy. They build momentum, tasks and thoughts build up in our heads, and mindful moments are the last thing on our minds. Indeed, the idea of mindfulness is probably even further back than the issue of what you are going to have for dinner that night.
Finding time for mindful moments at work might feel frivolous. They might feel indulgent. It may even feel like they are taking valuable time away, resulting in you getting less done than you might have had you not stopped to be mindful for a moment. However, it is not an indulgence. It is a tool. A happier, calmer, more mindful you, is a more productive you. Ultimately, mindfulness is something that will aid you in your work.
Yet still… how do mindful moments fit into the workday? What do they look like? How will they help?
Let’s take a look…
Single-tasking plays into the idea of living in the present moment. When we try to multi-task, we often end up not completing the multiple to our fullest potential. This is because each task will require its own unique effort, train of thought and skillset. Therefore, you are ultimately slowing down the process by flitting between tasks and processes. By focusing on one task at a time, you put all of your concentration onto each task, complete them well, and ultimately, bring down the cumulative time taken for all the tasks, completing them in a calmer, more linear, fashion.
2. Strip Down, Slow Down
That leads me to this. Strip down your thoughts. Try not to worry about the next thing whilst completing the current thing. Try and strip your mind of the unnecessary clutter of worrying about what comes next. You can do that when the current one is done. Also, and this will seem counter-intuitive, slow down. Take care over your tasks, ensuring you complete them calmly and steadily. When we rush, we make mistakes, which ultimately leads to more time spent on rectifying mistakes… which also adds to stress. Take it all down a notch.
3. Move Away for Mindful Moments
If, like me, you find yourself staring at a screen, stuck or not knowing what to do next, take a break. And when I say that, I mean move away from the workspace. Go and do something completely different. At home, my mindful moments include washing up, vacuuming, playing a computer game for ten minutes and messaging a friend to ask how their day is going. Disconnect your brain from your frustrating task. When you return, you will be able to look at it with fresher eyes. I often find my brain seems to have worked out the problem without me even trying.
4. Accept Stress
Try not to get frustrated by the presence of stress. Stress, just like love, fear, happiness and frustration, is an involuntary human response that comes to us all. Accept it with open arms and you may be clear-headed enough to work out what it is that you can do to ease it. stressing about stress just adds more stress until you eventually crash.
5. Get Comfortable with Adaptation
One thing that can cause a lot of stress is when your course is corrected by circumstances, or people, outside your control. Being comfortable with ever-changing situations will not only help you to be generally less stressed and anxious, but it will also help you to become more creative and reliable. Instead of fighting change, it is best to accept it and attempt to move with the current. You never know, you might even be able to influence the next change in the situation yourself, adding value to the workplace.
6. Try to Control Only What You Can Control
As I’ve already touched on briefly before… and it’s a phrase you have no doubt come across already… but, worry only about what you can control. We all spend time worrying about things in which we have no influence on the outcome. By making your world of worry smaller, you are helping yourself become more resilient and more productive.
7. A Culture of Mindfulness…
It is also worth saying that, even if you do not promote mindfulness directly, demonstrating a mindful approach in your workplace will, eventually influence others. By demonstrating it, you helping your workplace community move towards a goal of more shared mindfulness and wellbeing.
By Chris Thomson
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