In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, finding moments of calm and focus can be a challenge. However, practicing mindfulness at work can have transformative effects on your well-being, productivity, engagement with your team and overall job satisfaction. Mindfulness is described as a practice of non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. When we practice mindfulness, we practice being fully present and engaged, which can lead to improved focus, better stress management and enhanced decision-making skills.
This all sounds amazing but how do you cultivate mindfulness at work? Below is part I of some practical strategies to incorporate mindfulness into your workday for greater focus and wellbeing.
Start Your Day Mindfully
Before you dive into your inbox and meetings, set an intention for your workday. This intention can be a word (ease, focus, productivity, clarity, etc.) or a phrase (I will complete one task before starting a new one…) that helps you set the tone and begin your day with your wellbeing as the priority. You might also try a visual signal that marks the start of your day like turning on a desk lamp or lighting a candle in your workspace. Sure, the rest of the day’s events may be completely out of your control, but starting your day mindfully helps you approach your work with clarity and presence.
Embrace Mindful Transitions
Our brains don’t function properly when we jump between tasks without taking a break to process the information we just absorbed. As you transition between tasks or meetings, use these moments as opportunities to reset your brain and center your body. If you’re the meeting organizer, consider scheduling meetings for 50 minutes instead of an hour or even 30 minutes, whenever possible. This may seem like a small step, but it can help establish healthy meeting norms for your entire organization. Take a few deep breaths, consciously let go of any residual tension or thoughts from the previous activity and enter the next task with a fresh perspective.
Practice Active Listening
The art of communication was warped with time when the world moved to a hybrid work environment. Friendly, natural workplace banter was replaced by quick Teams chats and stopping by someone’s desk to ask a quick question (that turned into a long strategy session) was replaced by emails that state just the facts. To be an active listener, you must be fully present and listen to understand: maintain eye contact, put your phone down, allow for silence and respond thoughtfully. This is even more important in a hybrid work environment when communication is filtered through layers of technology. Mindful communication is crucial in fostering meaningful connections and understanding at work.
Engage in Mindful Eating
Step 1: take a lunch break! Step 2: use your lunch break as an opportunity to practice mindful eating by slowing down, eating away from your laptop and paying attention to the taste, texture and sight of your food. You’ll miss out on important hunger/full cues when you eat while you work and the chances of skipping lunch altogether are greater when you’re distracted. The simple act of eating mindfully not only enhances your meal experience but it can also help promote digestion.