I used to have this notion that if I concentrate harder, think more and spend more hours working that it would ensure I was more productive. The result was totally the opposite. I ended up producing less good work because my brain was frazzled and my concentration was really poor. I would find myself jumping from one thing to the next and back again like a wired fly!
When I got into meditation and mindfulness it was really strange to hear that actually doing the opposite of that would be of more benefit. In all honesty I initially rejected that notion entirely and was silently outraged that someone could propose such a thing, ‘really…you’re trying to tell me that if I think less, I’ll achieve more?!’
However, as I started to build on my practise of mindfulness, I began to notice a shift in the way my mind behaved. Slowly I began to feel more alert and tuned in to what I was doing, as though my mind was more still and focused rather than feeling pressured to hurry up, and move on to the next thing.
It was nothing short of a revelation, and it felt really nice. Like someone had turned down the noise in my head. And it had such a great impact on my workday. I found I could concentrate more, had more inspiration for ideas, more creativity and was far more productive.
It turns out that connecting to the present moment, switching your thoughts off, and creating some peace and quiet in the mind, even for a few short minutes opens up space for new ideas and clearer thoughts.
Try these 3 quick and easy mindful practises to improve your workday
1 – Take a 2 minute breather
Stop what you are doing and turn away from your screen
Ideally close your eyes
Take a deep breath in through the nose
Then breathe out through the mouth
Breathe in through the nose
Out through the mouth
Taking the deepest breaths that you have so far today
Bring all of your attention to your breathing
Feeling your lungs fill as you inhale
Feeling a sense of release as you exhale
Continue for 2 minutes
2 – Have a mindful cup of tea
When you have a cup of tea or coffee, give it your full attention
Stop everything you are doing and concentrate only on the cup in your hands
Take a deep breath before you begin to sip your tea
Take each sip really slowly
Notice how each sip feels as the liquid moves down your throat
Continue to notice the smells and tastes as you slowly drink
Allow yourself to stay connected to the moment until you have finished
3 – Walk it off
Find a space to walk whether outside or in a quiet room
As you walk bring your awareness to your body
Physically feel your feet touching the ground with each step
Notice how your body feels as you move
Notice how your breathing slows down as you move more slowly
Notice the sounds around you, if it is silent notice the silence
If your mind wanders, gently come back to focusing on your steps and feeling your feet on the ground
Notice the smells around you
Look around and really take in all that you see
Connect to your surroundings
Walk this way for 5 minutes and see how you feel
These practises can be used daily and are so quick and easy to implement that you can use them anytime you need a moment or two to switch off and relax.