Easy Ways to Create Workplace Mindfulness
Workplace mindfulness is not something people often think about.
When most people think about their workplace environment—they likely think about how busy and hectic it is on a daily basis. Meetings, interruptions, phone calls and emails can all make your workplace one of the most stressful places in the world.
However, it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. There are ways that you can bring the calm that comes with mindfulness into your work environment. If you stick the main principles of your mindful practice, you can start feeling more present, focused and productive at work—and less overwhelmed and stressed by the pressures that work can bring.
Incorporate Short Workplace Mindfulness Exercises
Just like physical exercises train your muscles, mindful exercises can train your brain to be more mindful. The more mindful exercises you do—the easier it will be for your brain to get into a mindful state.
Mindful exercises don’t need to be long—they can even be a minute or two, and they don’t need to be particularly creative. Just find time to relax in a quiet place and connect with one of your senses. Even if you are spending a minute on the train to work closing your eyes and being mindful of all of the different sounds you hear on your ride in.
The more your practice mindfulness either with these exercises throughout the day, with mindfulness walks or with mindful meditation—regular practice will only help you be more mindful at work.
Stop Multi-Tasking and Start Single-Tasking
So many of us try to survive at work by being a multi-tasker. However, if you feel as though you are not giving certain areas of work enough attention—and aren’t being mindful of what you are doing at work—then you need to switch gears in order to start being a “single-tasker.”
Many people think that they are multi-tasking successfully, but really your brain is hyperactively switching from one thing to the next. Your brain is being frantic, and you often lose data in the process. We can get addicted to multi-tasking, and when we do this, we aren’t being mindful, and we aren’t putting enough attention into the things that matter most.
If you are struggling to transition from multi-tasking to single-tasking, then consider keeping a time journal of what you are doing in blocks of time throughout the day—it will help reprogram you to be think in more of a single-task way.
Use Daily Workplace Mindfulness Reminders
Because mindfulness is a state of mind—it can be difficult to remember to slip back into this state of consciousness. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be overly complex—you just need to use daily “mindful” reminders, or something that will remind you to refocus your attention and be mindful of what is going on around you at work.
This can be a reminder in your calendar, a Post-It note, or better yet, setting an alarm on your phone that reminds you to stop, take a mindful breath and refocus your attention. This alarm should help you pause and be more mindful of your surroundings at work, so you can take a small step back and reflect on what is going on around you so you can see your surroundings with a fresh perspective.
You may think that mindfulness, or better yet, slowing down, is counter-intuitive to your current work life. Have you ever heard of the phrase “slow down to speed up?” This is a great philosophy if you are looking to be more mindful at work.
If you slow down and force yourself to be more conscious of your work environment, you will actually be more productive and get more done. If you are trying to go as fast as you can to get work done, chances are you are going to miss some important details.
Instead of being in a rush, which can lead to poor decisions and a misappropriation of your energy—stop and focus on listening and take your time when at work so you can make your best decisions and actions.
Be Aware, Awake and Present
When it all comes down to it, mindfulness, above all things is about being aware, awake and present. This should be your goal for each and every day when you step into your workspace.
When you are consciously present at work, you are not only going to be aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it—as well as being aware of what is going on within you, including your mental and emotional state.
If you have something in front of you, even something like paperwork—you need to give it your full attention. Every time your mind wanders to something else, just acknowledge these thoughts (don’t ignore them) and do your best to bring your attention back to the task at hand.
Start your day by setting your intention before the start of the work day—and write out a reminder for yourself to keep this awareness at your forefront each day.
Learn to Accept What You Can’t Change
Acceptance is at the foundation of workplace mindfulness. If you want to be more mindful at work, you need to learn to accept the present moment the way it is. This means accepting yourself, just as you are and accepting work challenges that come your way, just as they are.
Don’t waste your energy in trying to change something that you can’t change. Mistakes happen at life and at work, and instead of being mad at yourself or others at things that come your way, you need to be mindful enough to know when you can change things and when you can’t.
If you practice acceptance at work—it can lead to positive changes for yourself and your career. You will stop wasting energy on self-criticism and anger and instead refocus you attention on solving problems and moving forward from setbacks.
The workplace can be a stressful environment, no matter what your job may be. The more you can do to take these extra steps to bring mindfulness into the workplace, the better. Take these tips to heart and start making some positive changes in your work life—you may be surprised by the calmness and mindfulness and can start to infiltrate into your work environment.