We have become a culture of multi-taskers. Information is coming at us in all directions, and we have become accustomed to moving through life at a pace that is not natural to the human body.
You can learn to slow down the pace -- and even heighten your productivity -- if you approach life from a more conscious perspective. By becoming more cognizant of what is going on at any given moment, you become more mindful of your actions. Albeit, the term “mindful” has become a little overdone but it simply refers to being “in the moment” -- to take a breath and value the here and now.
The path to a more grounded, balanced lifestyle may be as simple as allowing mindful elements such as self-awareness, patience and non-judgment to pervade your thoughts and actions. When you are calm, you are also more focused and productive. But the search for inner peace does not require a pilgrimage to a Tibetan monastery or an extensive stay at a remote ashram. Every day you have the opportunity to connect with the present moment, even on the job. All it requires is planning, commitment, and consistent practice.
Here are seven ways to make your workday more calm and productive:
1. Be conscious of other people’s time.
People are extremely time-stressed -- and this is an issue that may cause unintended frustration.
2. Take a break every 90 minutes.
There is scientific evidence that motivation and focus improve and productivity increases when work tasks are implemented in 90-minute intervals.
3. Practice mindful breathing during the day.
In my book, "Kensho: A Modern Awakening", I researched simple breathing techniques that can lower your blood pressure and keep you grounded. Mindful breathing can be done anywhere -- before a meeting, in an elevator, and at your desk. There are many techniques to use, such as “belly breathing.” Take a slow deep breath from your lower abdomen; count to four and then exhale to the count of five. Repeat this in one or two-minute spurts throughout the day.
4. Take breaks and do something that uplifts you.
For example, it could be it going for a short walk outside or calling a loved one.
Get in the habit of putting aside a minimum of 15 minutes each day -- either before work or during the day, if you have some privacy. There is a multitude of apps to choose from such as Buddhify and Headspace. Some sites even offer themed meditations, such as the escapist Middle Earth Meditations, reminiscent of Tolkien folklore. The payoff of meditation is greater mental clarity, reduced stress and an enhanced feeling of centeredness that can carry you through a hectic workday.
6. Limit multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking diminishes mental productivity, elevates brain fatigue and increases stress.
7. Reduce distractions.
Turn off your email and other notifications, and let others know when you don’t want to be disturbed while you focus on the task at hand.
Try a few of these mindful guidelines -- at home and in the workplace. You may discover a renewed sense of calm and “peaceful productivity” that yield fruitful results in all aspects of your life.