Using Mindfulness as a Productivity Tool

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Numerous studies suggest that mindfulness helps improve your mental state and overall well-being. But did you know that practicing mindfulness can also improve your productivity in the workplace?

Most adults spend more than a third of each week at work, and the resulting stress has become one of the biggest recognised causes of illnesses like insomnia, depression, and even type 2 diabetes. While mindfulness as a technique is mostly associated today with yoga and similar practices, the science is catching up, and organisations are lining up to maximise its potential as a tool for business.

Here are some of the ways you can utilise mindfulness to enhance your work productivity.

Make Better Decisions

Mindfulness is a receptive state of mind wherein attention is informed by an awareness of what is happening at the moment – cognizant of both internal and external stimuli. Simply put, a mindful state makes mindful decisions.

For managers, the daily grind entails making multiple decisions – including but not limited to prioritising, allocating, and directing time and efforts towards different tasks. One bad decision can easily spiral and affect not only you and your team’s disposition, but also your overall productivity. Mindful decision-making means getting into the right headspace before choosing what to do.

Mindfulness exercises can help clear your thoughts and impart a positive attitude when facing overwhelming and complex workloads. Being present and fully aware of how you feel towards tasks, decisions, and outcomes can help you be more objective. Try doing breathing exercises before making big decisions at work.

Optimise Learning

Anything we do at work requires learning. Mindfulness helps develop people’s natural learning propensities, which makes it easier to understand, allocate, and implement tasks with particularly steep learning curves.

A recent study published by the Ball State University shows that mindfulness techniques can greatly improve learning capacity and memory retention. In the study, those who were given mindfulness exercises demonstrated enhanced data encoding, consolidation, and retrieval capabilities in all phases of the test. When it comes to cognitive tasks, there’s nothing more helpful than a clear and relaxed mindset. Even 10 minutes of meditation can greatly improve recall and comprehension.

Focus Better

Mindfulness combats the urge to do more than one thing at once. It helps you tune out that nagging sensation that something’s amiss, and prevents you from being overwhelmed by hectic thoughts that rob you of focus.

The Entrepreneur suggests meditating in short sessions to reduce your chances of getting distracted during work. While counter-intuitive, allowing yourself that two minutes of meditation can significantly save you time throughout the day. Verizon Connect explains how time is precious especially for those running a business. Shorter but more frequent breaks for meditation can add hours to your productivity than longer but intermittent breaks.

Mindfulness meditation can also lessen your ruminations from past mistakes, allowing you to concentrate better on what you’re doing in the present moment.

Overall Wellbeing

This cannot be overstated: the quality of your work can only be as good as your present condition. Studies have shown that mindfulness exercises can prevent depression, which is a major cause of employee disengagement. Meditating when you feel overwhelmed can boost resilience and enhance your stress management capabilities.

INC cites that meditation exercises improve sleep patterns – something any working adult aspires towards. Studies suggest that practicing mindfulness can help you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep, which helps to improve both your mental and physical health.

As with any productivity tool, turning mindfulness into a habit will ensure that you reap the full benefits that it affords.

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Contributed by: JBartley