The art of slowing down is picking up traction in workplaces across the country. While it may sound counterintuitive to start, studies show that practicing mindfulness will make you more productive.
If your to-do list has you wondering when you’ll find time to breathe, then that’s likely the very first thing you need to do: breathe. Implementing strategic mindfulness techniques into your everyday workflow has the power to increase your focus, decrease stress, and elevate your awareness so that you can make better decisions.
Mindfulness may be buzzy right now, but it’s not just for yoga-loving moms who use nature sounds to escape their screaming children. Regular mindfulness practice could be exactly what you need to achieve optimal productivity and reach your goals.
If you’re in a leadership position, it could help you be a better manager and foster productivity in the workplace.
With your mindfulness practice in place, you will feel more in control of your workflow and that to-do list won’t stand a chance. If you’re looking for a way to take performance in your business to the next level, start with understanding how mindfulness and productivity are connected.
What is Mindfulness?
Don’t worry: mindfulness doesn’t involve sitting cross-legged on a pillow or lighting incense. You don’t even need to download an app (unless you want to, of course).
In fact, the less you complicate mindfulness the better. You see, mindfulness is the absence of distractions. It’s clearing your mind and allowing yourself to be fully present in the current moment.
With a clear (not empty) mind, you can focus on achieving total awareness. When you’re fully in the moment, it’s easier to commit to whatever important task you have at hand.
Mindfulness and the Five Work Modes
Science shows that practicing mindfulness alters your brain activity in a way that allows you to leave your most unproductive habits behind and reach your full potential in the five work modes.
The five work modes are focus, collaboration, learning, socializing, and rejuvenation. Recognizing these five work modes is essential for total wellness. Having an established mindfulness practice for rejuvenation mode will increase your productivity and overall success in the other four modes.
Consistent mindfulness practice can help you more seamlessly switch between the various work modes as well as improve your relationship with coworkers, enhance your creative problem-solving abilities, and increase your overall happiness.
Why You Aren’t Productive In Focus Mode
Your lack of productivity isn’t necessarily your fault.
When your brain is tuned into focus mode and working on a task, it produces beta waves. When your brain is producing beta waves at too high a frequency, you’re likely to experience increased levels of stress and have trouble focusing.
The brains of people with ADHD produce more theta waves, which make it even more difficult to concentrate. Many people with ADHD struggle with internal or external distractions. Others find time management and organization difficult.
If you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, there are strategies you can practice at work to be more productive. Even if you don’t have ADHD, mindfulness can help you get more done.
How Mindfulness Helps You Get More Done
Research shows that taking a step back to practice mindfulness can help get your beta waves under control. When your brain is producing beta waves at a lower frequency, it’s easier to maximize focus mode and you’re more likely to make better decisions.
In addition to enhancing your concentration in focus mode, mindfulness will improve your ability to collaborate. When you switch into collaboration mode, mindfulness techniques can ensure you’re devoting all your energy to the project at hand. Your team members are sure to appreciate that effort and it will likely boost the enthusiasm of the entire group.
For people with ADHD, mindfulness techniques such as standing up from your desk to stretch, setting a timer to work, and listening to classical music can assist the brain in shifting from its theta state to a more productive beta state.
When implemented strategically, mindfulness techniques can help you tap into your most productive beta state. For example, EEG scans show fewer beta waves during meditation.
As with collaboration mode, your heightened awareness will help you make the most of learning mode. When you’re researching and gathering information, it’s easy to get sidetracked or feel overwhelmed. But, simple mindfulness practice can ensure you’re doing your best work and staying on task.
Starting a Mindfulness Practice
Downloading a mediation app is one way to practice mindfulness, but maximizing rejuvenation mode can also be as simple as taking a step back.
The next time you find yourself in the middle of a stressful situation or task, take a short break. Put aside whatever it is you’ve been trying to do, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths.
Instead of thinking about the stressful situation or task, focus on the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. After a few minutes, open your eyes. You should feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to the appropriate work mode.
If that work mode is a socializing mode, mindfulness will help you establish deeper and more
meaningful connections with your colleagues. For team leaders, this is especially important since engagement is critical for employee satisfaction. Employees want to feel like they matter.
According to a Gallup poll, only 13% of employees worldwide feel fully engaged with their work. As a leader, you can use your mindfulness practice to cultivate an environment of engaged employees which will, in turn, elevate the company’s productivity and performance.
Whether you decide to download a meditation app or set a timer to remind yourself to take a step back, committing to a consistent mindfulness practice will help you optimize your productivity so you can accomplish more in the five work modes.