We’ve all had the experience of feeling scattered, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed at work. Maybe you’re inundated with projects or feel a sense of demotivation to complete assignments. Directly linked to motivation in the workplace is what is known as mindfulness. This is our ability to stay focused yet flexible and is a way of reprogramming the mind to think in a healthier, less stressful way. It is not uncommon for mindfulness to take a turn when things feel hectic at work, which may be related to tight deadlines, or other life events.
How can you take action on practicing mindfulness? First, streamline your focus at work to facilitate optimum efficiency. You can achieve this by doing things such as preparing daily tasks, knowing what calls you have coming up for the day and what meetings and projects need to be completed. Next, apply mindfulness meditation into your day. You can do this through apps such as Headspace, which has bite-sized reflections for busy schedules explicitly tailored for many different scenarios. Last, try performing “work intervals” after executing on a task or project for an extended period. Allow yourself 10 minutes to step away. This practice refocuses your mind so that you can come back to the project feeling rejuvenated.
These are just a few tangible examples of ways you can practice mindfulness at home and in the office. Read on to discover additional benefits of infusing mindfulness into your every day to boost efficiency at work!
Mindfulness in the workplace is a hot topic among businesses as a way to help reduce stress – a dominant cause of employee disengagement that can also hinder productivity. According to a study conducted by The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, more than half of the 550 million working days lost every year from absenteeism are stress related. Further, 80 percent of employees report that they feel stress at work and need help learning how to manage it.
To combat feelings of stress, prominent organizations such as Google, Adobe, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Mayo Clinic, Aetna and Target all have formal mindfulness programs to promote stress reduction and employee engagement.
A recent Paychex survey of over 2,000 employees found that workers feel stressed by factors both in and outside of work such as struggling to balance work and personal lives, job security, workload and other people-related issues. They have turned to mindfulness as an essential strategy to fight work-related stress.
Absorption Of New Info
How do you create space for your mind to absorb new information? Science shows that when you allow your brain to take a break from problem-solving, critical-thinking and developing new skills, it helps increase future learning and creativity possibilities. Skipping or refusing to take breaks altogether can lead to increased stress, exhaustion and stagnant thinking. This is especially true for projects or tasks that require an extended period of focus.
Being able to adapt quickly and efficiently at work is essential. It means you can quickly acclimate to new situations and handle multiple demands. The more you practice and expose yourself to different ways of doing things, to learning, and to gaining confidence in uncertainty, the more adaptable you will be. Adaptability plays a prominent role in leadership performance and is typically present in leaders who can manage shifting priorities and are open to adjusting their perceptions and beliefs.
Problem-solving is the ability to remove clutter from the untrained mind; it helps improve concentration which leads to untying the notes of problem-solving. Another way in which mindfulness may help you problem solve is by freeing you from distractions and giving you a new angle to reflect on. When you are in the thick of a challenge, and you practice mindfulness, you may be able to process the information in a new and different way that is needed for a resolution.
A core aspect of creativity is divergent thinking, which refers to the ability to come up with an abundance of new ideas. Practicing mindfulness to enhance creativity in the workplace motivates you to think more innovatively than usual. Mindfulness helps liberate your brain from distractions. This boosts your ability to look at the things around you with a new lens. Fundamentally, creativity is just an outcome of taking a different approach via a fresh perspective.
Each day you bring a certain amount of energy to work. Some days may be high energy days, and some days you may feel like you’re running on empty. For scientists studying people’s motivation at work, this is known as vitality. It is the use of your physical power to invest in actions and others around you. Vitality is essential to accomplish tasks while simultaneously enjoying the work you are doing. Continuing to stay focused and mindful is likely to have a positive effect on your vitality as it helps you remain cognizant of your aspirations and goals. If goals are clear to you, you are more likely to work towards them when your vitality is high.
Increased Empathy For Others
You are probably familiar with the saying, “to stand in someone else’s shoes,” when a situation arises. Empathy plays a role in allowing us to understand the minds of others and to resonate emotionally with those states. Practicing mindfulness in the workplace enables us to feel empathy for others.
Remember, it is not uncommon for mindfulness to take a turn when things are hectic. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed remember these best practices to help clear your mind.