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Discussing mindfulness often elicits images of a monk sitting out in a forest in solitude or someone who has thrown corporate life to the wind to follow their spiritual calling. The truth is that mindfulness practice can be present in and enhance everyday activities, especially at work. Mindfulness is about noticing and calmly evaluating thoughts, sensations, emotions and reactions. Someone who nurtures their mindfulness can harness these components of being human to increase productivity.
There are a wide variety of mindfulness practices that can support growth and success. A key component of the mindfulness formula is to find a technique that works for you. Once you find a methodology that supports your objectives, it is important to take time to regularly develop your practice. Mindfulness is like a muscle; the more you practice, the more the benefits will be present throughout your day-to-day life.
Here are seven mindful practices that can help maximize productivity for both you and your team members:
The benefits of meditation in the workplace have become widely known and accepted. Many successful people, from Ray Dalio to Jack Dorsey, credit aspects of their success to their meditation practice. There are many types of meditation. If you’re a beginner, I usually recommend trying different styles to find your preferred technique. Seated meditation, mantra meditation and transcendental meditation are a few practices that you could explore to start. Meditation is often championed for its stress and anxiety-relieving properties, but it also delivers real benefits in terms of focus and productivity.
2. Breath Work
Slow, controlled breathing has been shown to deliver numerous physical and mental benefits. Not only does breathing keep you alive, but it also sends oxygen throughout your body, energizing and activating your brain and muscles. Additionally, there is evidence that controlled breathing creates electrical activity in the brain that enhances emotional judgment and memory. Breathing also activates the parasympathetic nervous system and promotes well-being. There are many practitioners and applications that can guide you through breathwork practices that will support all aspects of life, including work performance.
3. Mindful Decision-Making
Many of the high performers I work with in my reiki practice use meditation as a tool to enhance clarity in decision-making. According to an INSEAD research analysis, mindfulness practices can support the early identification of decisions that need to be made, boost creativity during problem-solving and improve the ability to recognize limits of knowledge. Consider carving out a meditation time at the beginning of each day and use this time to tap into gut feelings about the day ahead or broader business goals. I find that this practice helps people work through tough problems and prioritize their day before facing a parade of emails and distractions.
4. Mindful Delegation
It is no secret that effective delegation is a key to organizational productivity. You can make delegation a mindful practice by using it to manage, preserve and utilize your personal energy. Tune into which tasks bring you joy and make you feel energized. Which activities drag your energy down? Which of these can you delegate to others? Learning how to work with and harness your energy for the activities that will create the most impact is a powerful practice that can significantly enhance your individual performance.
5. Sound Healing
Sound healing is an ancient practice that has been fairly well researched and is beneficial for creating the ideal mindset for productivity. Not only does sound healing reduce stress and increase mood, but it can also be used to support cognitive function. There are many types of sound waves that can be used in healing, but binaural beats are particularly interesting for the workplace. Listening to binaural beats has been found to have real benefits for increased focus, attention, cognition and memory. You can find binaural beats playlists for productivity on Spotify or YouTube. Binaural beats require headphones because the frequency is created from a difference in inputs between your ears.
6. Intuitive Work Schedule
One of the most powerful mindfulness techniques that I use with my nutrition clients is intuitive healing. Learning to notice and leverage your natural tendencies is one of the most significant ways to realize optimum wellness. Managing your energy throughout the day to optimize productivity is no different. To begin this work, take some time to understand your habits. Do you find that certain activities come more naturally to you at certain times of the day? Do you find that you start to lose focus around a certain point? Does taking a break to exercise or socialize give you a burst of energy? If you are in charge of your calendar, do your best to schedule tasks and meetings around the times that you feel naturally more inclined to do certain activities.
7. Maintaining Balance
One of the main goals in my work as both a nutritionist and a reiki master is to help people find balance in the body. Let’s take the gut microbiome as an example. The microbiome is a collection of trillions of bacteria that resides in your intestines that must stay balanced to keep your entire body healthy. When your microbiome is out of balance, it can cause discomfort, disease and even mental illness. Where could this concept be applied in your broader life? Are you balancing intense mental expenditures with time to rest and restore every day? Are you balancing spending time hunched in front of a blue screen with time out in nature breathing fresh air and relieving stress? Finding a place of homeostasis in your external life can create an optimal environment for growth and productivity.
Mindful practices can be applied to everyday tasks to optimize productivity, happiness and success. Try several mindfulness techniques at different points in the day to see what works best to maximize your personal performance.