Research from the University of California found that we’re distracted an average of every three minutes at work. The Wall Street Journal reports that we check our emails a whopping 74 times daily. There’s no wonder we’re feeling stressed at work. Time to hone some ninja like workplace focusing skills with our black belt mindfulness hacks.
What is Mindfulness at Work?
The recent explosion of mindfulness based practices was popularised by Dr Jon Kabat Zinn. His research into pain management paved the way for the growth of mindfulness that we’ve seen over recent years. Describing the practice of mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”. Mindfulness is awareness, put simply, knowing what you are doing whilst you are doing it. The opposite to mindlessness, those moments at work (and home) when we switch over onto autopilot.
Do you find yourself;
• Missing what a colleague has just said to us (whilst still nodding our head)
• Drifting off in meetings,
• Failing to recall the commute to or from work
• Getting caught up in negative cycles of thought or rumination about our workload, colleague or current project
• Operating under the erroneous assumption that the more hours we work and fewer breaks we take will somehow make us more productive (we know from research that it won’t)
• Ignoring symptoms of stress such as tiredness, lack of focus and loss of enthusiasm, ploughing on regardless without examination.
Mindfulness is being aware of those moments. Noticing. Recognising what we are feeling as we’re feeling it.
Who is using it and why?
It’s easy to see why the corporate world is embracing mindfulness as a strategy to reduce stress and enhance performance. With Google leading the field, SAP, Aetna, Virgin, Transport for London, UK Parliament and US Congress all incorporating mindfulness programmes into their business strategy. Mindfulness is becoming mainstream. Workplace mindfulness courses are being utilised in order to lower stress, increase wellbeing, improve focus, develop ‘flow’, increase emotional intelligence, enhance productivity and boost creativity. So how can you get your mindfulness on and earn your black belt in focus?
5 Black Belt Mindful Work Hacks
Whatever your role in the company, here are five simple mindfulness hacks that you can incorporate into your daily work routine;
1. Take a mindful breath.
Before you switch on your computer, pause. Take one, deep, mindful breath. Noticing as you inhale deeply, feeling the air enter your nostrils and fill your lungs. Become aware of the pause between the in breath and out breath. Exhale slowly, again noticing the physical sensations within your body. Yes, even one breath will make a difference and start to train your attention and your brain.
2. Disrupt your automatic pilot.
Build your focusing muscles with a mindful breathing practice. This time, don’t change your breathing, just notice the breath as you inhale and exhale. Perhaps you’ll notice that the air is slightly cooler around the nostrils as you inhale, or slightly warmer on the exhalation. You might sense the breath on the upper lip – just go with it and see what happens. If your mind wanders, recognize that you are distracted and gently bring your focus back to your breathing. Place reminders around the office for regular mindful minutes throughout the day. Use post it’s, an alert on your computer, an alarm on your phone or an app to regularly signal it’s time for a mindful pause. You’ll be training your brain to move out of it’s habit driven default mode network and reaping the benefits of building more mindfulness into your day.
The next time you’re in a meeting, practice mindful listening. As well as the content of what is being said watch the facial expressions, posture and gestures of colleagues. Notice how mindfully listening changes the quality of your interaction with those round you.
4. Switching from ‘Doing to Being’
Take two minutes to sit and notice how you feel with no agenda, no objective or goal. You’re not changing anything, simply observing what is there. With this exercise there is nowhere to go and nothing to do except experience ‘being’. This can be useful to ground and calm yourself if you’re about to have a difficult conversation or alternatively if you’ve just left one meeting and are about to head into another and need to reboot.
5. Mindful walking.
An easy way to incorporate mindfulness is to practice mindful walking. Set an intention to mindfully walk between meetings or appointments. If it’s along a corridor, notice how your feet feel against the ground as you walk, the balance shifting from one foot to the other. If you’re walking outside, feel the breeze on your face and the sun on your skin. As you walk along, watch the light on the trees noticing the buildings around you, observe the different styles of architecture. This is a great way to build mindfulness into your daily routine to and from work or on your way to a meeting.
So are you Mindful? Visit our resources page to find out more http://positivechangeguru.com/how-mindful-are-you/
We deliver bespoke Mindfulness Leadership and Mindfulness at work training in-house and open courses offering 1 day, half day, bitesize training sessions along with conference speaking. We’re also currently researching the impact of mindfulness and compassion on leadership efficacy. To find out more about our research, mindful leadership or mindfulness training contact us at email@example.com or visit our events page http://positivechangeguru.com/events-2/