Mindfulness sounds like a great concept in theory, but how do you become more mindful in the context of a busy work day? Amongst the foray of emails, phone calls, meetings and presentations how do you apply the principals of mindfulness while remaining productive? We’ve broken down a few key ways you can give your mindfulness a boost, starting today.
1. Be present
Mindfulness is about being present and awake and it’s important to avoid slipping into autopilot. Remaining present involves being aware of what’s going on around you and within you.
How often do you ask yourself “What was I doing again?” When you find your mind wandering off-task and onto something unproductive (such as what’s for tea or yesterday’s argument), give yourself a mental kick and put yourself back on task.
2. Slow it down
With a mountain of work to get through it makes sense to go as fast as you can. But no-one can maintain a 100mph workflow all the time so it’s important to stick to a pace you can maintain.
When faced with a difficult task it’s useful to identify how long it will take to be your best work. Sure, you could race through that report in 30 minutes, but would you benefit in the long-run by taking the time to it properly? Put time aside to ensure you’re maintaining high quality work.
3. Take a break
Now that you’ve slowed things down you might be worried that you’re not going to get as much done as you were before. You might assume the solution is to work non-stop. Try to avoid this.
It’s important to take regular breaks to increase productivity. It’s proven that a rested mind works more efficiently, which is why the person who works twice as long doesn’t always work twice as well. Breaks include everything from taking the necessary time for your lunch, to getting away from your desk to make a cup of coffee. Just go easy on the caffeine!
4. Be a single-tasker
Some people are better at multi-tasking than others, but it’s not something anyone does well. It’s one thing to juggle multiple duties, but it’s a completely different thing to try and write an email at the same time as you’re discussing next quarter’s targets.
A good way to ensure you’re single-tasking is to schedule time blocks for each task. If you’re not scheduled to work on that presentation until 2pm then you’ll be less tempted to think about it while you’re busy with your other jobs. Just make sure you assign enough time for each job.
5. Change your habits
We talked above about the dangers of autopilot. When faced with the same tasks each day it’s easy to become complacent and merely grind through the jobs until you’re done. This ultimately leads to average performance and a ‘meh’ attitude to your job.
Avoid this by experimenting with new ways of doing things. If you always perform a certain task in a certain way, try mixing it up a bit and finding another tact. This will force you to pay more attention to what you’re doing (avoiding autopilot) and you might even stumble onto a better way or working.
6. Make stress your friend
No-one likes to be stressed and it’s not something we’d encourage, but stress is an unavoidable aspect of every job. We’re taught to see stress as a harmful thing and that puts us in a negative mindset, ultimately leading us to be overwhelmed with our workloads.
Instead, try to make stress your friend. When faced with a busy day you can either panic or lean into the stress and roll with it. Notice how your heart-rate rises and your foot taps on the floor when you’re stressed? That’s energy – use this to be your most productive self.
Looking for a new job?
We have a huge number of great opportunities with great employers across the construction, civils, rail, power and telecoms sectors. Search our current construction jobs, civils jobs, rail jobs, power jobs and telecoms jobs.
Get in touch with our recruitment specialists
If you are keen to discuss your current situation and want to find out how we can help you make your next career step then get in touch with our team of recruitment experts. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you and your career progress.