Toolkit for Mindfulness at Work

( Excerpts From the book Develop Good Habits)
  1. Drive to work mindfully – When you get into your car, take a few deep breaths. Turn your phone on silent. As you begin to drive, make an extra effort to notice your surroundings. If you get stuck in traffic or someone cuts you off, notice the feelings that arise (anger, frustration, anxiety, competitiveness), and simply identify them. Use traffic stops or other necessary stops to practice a few deep, calming breaths. Once you arrive at your destination after you’ve turned off the engine, sit for a moment and take three deep breaths, really letting go on the exhalation.
  2. Practice Transition Breathing – How many times have you raced from your car into your office or work and immediately started doing something—checking emails, talking to coworkers, or jumping right into a project? Allow yourself a mindful moment before you switch gears so you can approach your work in a more calm and centered way.
  3. Clear Your Desk – Visual clutter is distracting and agitating. It slows you down and makes you less productive. The act of clearing and organizing your desk allows you a few minutes of focused mindfulness, as you decide where to put your stuff and what to keep and throw away.
  4. Focus on Your Work Purpose- Approach your work with love and purpose—no matter how challenging, uninspiring, or difficult it might be. Even if you hate your work, you can find a purpose for your efforts and reduce your feelings of negativity about your job and your life.
  5. Decrease Distractions – Each distraction enters our mind with one mission: harnessing control of our attention and resources. We are so addicted to the immediate gratification of giving into distractions that our ability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time has become rare.
  6. Be Present with Peers – One of the common complaints people have about their jobs, involves their interactions with a boss, client, or peer. The pressure to perform coupled with personality differences creates an environment ripe for conflict and competition. You can contribute to a more emotionally intelligent work environment, as well as your own peace of mind, by being more present with the people you work with.
  7. Create Mindful Meetings – Meetings can be a big drain on your energy and productivity. Rather than thinking of meetings as a waste of time and energy, you can practice mindfulness, before and during meetings, to make them more valuable to you and other attendees. During meetings encourage a beginners mindset, request mutual respect and offer positive feedback.
  8. Stand, Stretch, and Get Moving – Even if you spend time every week at the gym or exercising, it doesn’t offset the negative impact of extended sitting. Think of standing and stretching as pushing the reset button on your body
  9. Show Appreciation We are so consumed with our own thoughts, tasks, and obligations that we are unconscious of the many ways others support and help us. Taking the time to express appreciation shows that you are fully present with the other person and tuned into their essential worthiness and their humanity.
  10. Mindfully End Your Workday – By the end of your workday, you drag yourself to the car, and mindlessly make your way home before one more email hits your inbox or one more person asks you to do something. But if you can mindfully bring your workday to completion, you free your mind to transition more easily to your evening routine, and you set yourself up for a more productive and peaceful start to the next day. Taking just ten minutes to close today and prepare for tomorrow will give you a sense of renewal that you can carry with you out the door.

April 3, 2022

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