Everybody knows the feeling of just wanting a timeout. Just a moment where everything quiets down and you don’t have 60 thoughts at once. As you might have heard in one of our Time Management Workshops or read in our ‘How to be a Productivity Ninja’ book, one of the 9 core characteristics of a Productivity Ninja is zen-like calm. You’ll probably also heard us talk about meditation, so it’s no secret that we’re big fans of mindfulness and see it as a key element to a Productivity Ninja’s life.
Meditation is just one of the many ways to reach mindfulness and it shouldn’t just be a personal goal but you can get your whole team involved and strive for a mindful workplace. Here is how…
What is mindfulness?
Before we jump into the different ways to improve mindfulness, let’s first have a look what mindfulness actually is. We tend to always think ahead 3 steps in advance – which in the world that we live in, is certainly necessary. But while we do all that planning and thinking ahead and scheduling, we often forget to live in the moment and to be present in the moment. This is essentially what mindfulness is all about. It’s about clearing our heads and paying more attention to the moment right here and now. Paying more attention to our own thoughts, emotions and to the world around us.
Life gets busy and we often forget to stop and appreciate what we have achieved and really connect with the world around us – and that’s excluding the internet and our phones. So, what can each and everyone do for their “offline” mindfulness?
The obvious road to mindfulness is meditation. Our team here at Think Productive North America, use 3-minute- long guided meditations every morning before our Daily Team Huddle. Guided meditation is also great for people just starting off as it’ll guide you on what to focus on, rather than you just sitting there thinking “OK, ready-set-go, let’s think of nothing”. Speaking of thinking of nothing, in the summer our team often heads down to the beach (aren’t we lucky?) to take in the sea breeze and watch the waves, as we enjoy our weekly “Do Nothing” slot at the end of the day. We generally use the app Calm to do our meditation in the office, but there are many different meditation apps out there – so as always, choose what works for you!
“Thinking nothing” and “doing nothing” can be quite difficult for some people. Another form of meditation and mindfulness is to sit back and concentrate on your breathing. No matter if you’re by the beach or in your office and imagining you’re on a tropical island, simply taking the time to sit back and focusing on breathing in and out, can calm you down before a big meeting and lessen the impact of every-day stress and anxiety. It can also help you clear your head and might spark some brilliant new ideas.
Going for a walk
A change of scenery and movement does not only help us re-focus and concentrate better, but it also helps us shake off stress and loosen up those tense muscles. Our office jobs involve lots of sitting down and not enough moving around. Remember that constant back pain which you now take for granted and don’t even realize? This as well as your emotional well-being could be improved by simply taking breaks to get out of the office and reconnect with nature.
Find what works for you
As all things productivity related, one doesn’t fit all. If you don’t enjoy meditation or the area you work in isn’t great for afternoon walks, simply find what helps you relax. Is it cooking a meal at the end of the day? What about walking away from your desk and putting on your top playlist and take 10 minutes to simply enjoy the music, without having to worry about anything else. Remember that guitar you bought years ago? Playing music can be very relaxing and it helps you take your mind completely off work at the end of the day. If you’re the creative type, why not have a go at coloring in, drawing or painting? There are lots of different coloring books which can be bought and if you want your whole team to get involved, create a little area in your office where people can get comfortable and do some coloring in throughout the day. This might get a little competitive, just a heads up!
What are you and your team implementing to implement mindfulness in your office? Share your pictures and stories with us in the comments below or @thinkproductivecanada
By Hannah Urbanek
Hannah is Think Productive UK’s Head of Outreach and is the voice behind much a of our global blog and social media content.