We’ve already touched on how mindfulness can enhance aspects of your life. Being mindful can amplify simple pleasures, bare color in the mundane, transform a chore into therapy. What wasn’t mentioned, is how slowing down and taking time to focus can be so conducive to productivity.
How Slowing Down Can Improve Productivity
Taking time out of the day to stop and veer away from our objectives may sound like a counterintuitive tactic in achieving our many missions. However, mindful practices are becoming more and more common as people are starting to recognize and experience the positive effects of meditation and similar exercises. So much so, even within corporate America a trend is forming in which employers allot invested time to mindful “time-outs” for their employees.
Google, as an extreme example, holds bimonthly “mindful lunches” where everyone eats in silence, they practice walking meditations and over a thousand employees have participated in Google’s Search Inside Yourself training. The training is designed to teach people how to calm the mind and acknowledge and manage their emotions, thus making colleagues more effective team players. But even simple twenty minute “meditation breaks” are proving to increase productivity, stimulate new ideas and generate positive attitude within the workplace. These favorable aftereffects are reasons western companies both large and small are adopting ancient eastern practices.
Ways You Can Implement Mindful Practice Daily
Don’t lose enthusiasm if the company you work for doesn’t currently hold such progressive corporate culture. There are plenty of ways you can implement mindful practice into your day and reap the same benefits. Here are a few examples:
- Wake up early – so many have their mornings timed so precisely that the slightest “surprise” can initiate a chain reaction that keeps the dominos falling all day. Wake up way too early! Take your time, and enjoy the process. Do something fulfilling and do it mindfully before you start getting ready for work. Even something minimal like making tea can be turned into an invigorating ritual. Give yourself time to sit down and enjoy your drink as appose to racing to the nearest Starbucks.
- Exercise – research shows increased focus and higher efficiency in work performed after exercise. Actively meditate when you exercise. Don’t multitask! Reading or watching your favorite sitcom while cycling or running is minimally gainful. Turn off distractions and pay attention to your body. You’d be surprised just how much more you can push yourself by simply controlling your breath.
- Don’t Multitask – do one thing at a time and experience it for what it is. Do so without judgement and you might unlock newfound pleasure, creativity or insight.
- Take the long way home – turn your drive into a mindful segue toward the next destination of your day. Allow yourself extra time so that left-lane drifters, collision gazers and those incapable of a simple merge become mere tools for your own emotional intelligence training.
- Meditate – practically every daily activity can be done mindfully and by doing so you can truly transform your experience in this life. However, there’s nothing quite like taking a few and simply sitting. In the morning, during your break or when the kids are asleep find 10 minutes even if it’s in the parking lot and just sit. Listen to your breath, acknowledge your thoughts and let them go. Calm the mind and unleash your potential!