There was a time when hardly anyone used the word “mindful”. Sure, your school teachers may have implored you to pay attention, when staring out of the classroom window was far more appealing. But to be mindful is a very modern idea. Mindfulness has become a big part of the English lexicon as of late — and Google can prove the point with an easy search. Whether or not we are living mindful lives, we sure are interested in the topic.
Pema Chödrön, an American Tibetan nun and meditation teacher wrote in her book, When Things Falls Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh.”
At work, it can be all too easy to live in the land of monotony rather than experience moments as completely new. Monday you have a slow start. Wednesday you clean up your email folder. Friday your productivity goes down as you anticipate the weekend.
Whether you are working in a field of your highest passion, or if you are just laying the groundwork for something bigger and better, you can incorporate some of the concepts of mindfulness right into your workday. Here are five simple ideas to live the buzzword, rather than just reading about it:
1. Start your day with a deep breath
You probably have your morning routine down to a science, from the way you turn on your computer to the small talk you make in the coffee room. Start differently. Pause and take a deep breathe to distill your stess. Take stock of what is around you and be mindful with what really needs to be done first thing in the morning. When we get on autopilot, we can spend the whole morning on social media sites without realizing where the time went. With even a couple of deep breaths, you can transport yourself into the present moment and work from a more focused place.
2. Do one task at a time
This isn’t always possible, as the world is now equipped to reward multi-tasking. However, there will be pockets of time where it is possible to do just one thing. On a phone call, for example, you can scroll through your phone. Or you can just be on the phone. When you are on your computer, you can toggle back and forth between various programs. Or you can just stay in the window you are in. Try noticing when you are all over the place, trying to do everything at once. This can be a deep reflection of your “monkey” mind bouncing around. Although uni-tasking is not as valued, it does have a ton of benefits.
3. Email doesn’t always win
Email must be checked and must be answered. Some jobs do require consistent attention to the inbox, but many don’t. If it is not absolutely imperative to check your email every time a new message comes in, turn off your alerts and commit to checking it less frequently. Getting out of an unconscious habit is the first step to waking up and becoming a more conscious person.
4. Look people in the eyes
As you do business and correspond with your coworkers, do you best to connect. The more we are engaged with our devices, the less and less we are able to easily engage with one another. Even if it is one minute of your time, try to be with that person. Look that person in the eye (but don’t be creepy about it). Read their body language. As a side benefit, improving your work relationships through mindfulness can improve your business. Everyone likes being seen and heard.
5) Take stock of your day
We rush into the office. We rush out of the office. When you are done with your day, consider taking a moment to review your day. Feel the day within your body. We often carry our difficult days home without realizing it. Imagine that you can leave the work at work. Some of it may do its best to piggyback its way home with you, but it is a mindful practice to keep work in its place. Consciously release what you have done so that when you return the following day, you are more likely to be refreshed and productive.
Courtney Sunday is a travelling writer and yoga teacher who started doing teaching yoga on the roof of her old corporate job. She uses the practice of yoga and meditation to remind herself that she doesn’t need to always get it right. Courtney leads retreats and yoga teacher trainings in various locations around the world and is currently working on her first novel. You can find out more about her at www.courtneysunday.com and on https://somuchyoga.com.
*Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Zensorium.
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