Whether you’re trying to cope with an unsavory coworker, or are struggling to find air beneath a growing workload, taking your mindfulness practice to work is always a good idea. Even if you wouldn’t describe your environment as contentious, you’re bound to experience some form of stress in the workplace, no matter your occupation. And while being mindful at work is a great idea, actually putting it into practice can be challenging, to say the least. Still not quite sure what we mean when we say mindfulness? Mindfulness refers to the practice of being truly present in any given moment, and reacting to life in a way that is calm, measured, and free of any erratic emotional influence. Read on to learn about the ways we stay mindful around the office.
Stick to Your Tasks
With office chats (and chatter), and a rapid flow of emails and new projects, staying mindful and focused at work is a pretty tall order. We’re big on list-making here at the IB offices and will sing the praises of a fresh handwritten list whenever given the opportunity. At the start of your work day, try writing a list of the tasks you know you need to complete that day – and be sure to include the standard housekeeping things like checking your inbox. Once complete, tackle one task at a time – that’s right just one – and avoid starting anything new that may come your way until you’ve completed the task at hand. Work from a more solitary workspace (if possible), mute your chats, and quit your inbox if need be, so you can stay fully present in the task at hand – which ultimately means less mistakes, and faster turnaround times.
It isn’t work if you haven’t had an emotional breakdown at some point, right? We’re half kidding, but the fact remains that we are in the midst of the burnout age – jobs have grown more demanding, the tasks are compounding, and there’s bound to be an office emergency that will test you. When the stress feels like too much to handle, we are major proponents of meditative breathing practice during a walking break outside the building. Getting away from your desk and out in the fresh air will give your brain a break from the blue light of the computer screen that’s been screaming at you, and the breathing (long breaths in and out on counts of 10) will calm you down, take your mind off of work, and allow you to just be. Then you can return to your desk and take on whatever task (remember: one at a time), with a clear mind.
Corny as it may sound, gratitude is a must for staying sane and for practicing mindfulness at work. When you’re constantly thinking about all of the things you need to, it’s crucial to take a moment and acknowledge the things you have done. When the stress seems insurmountable, pause for a second and give yourself credit for making it through yesterday’s tasks, remind yourself that you made it out of the last office hurdle, and you’ll surely make it out of this one too. Further, be grateful for the opportunity to learn something new when approached with what looks like a daunting and unfamiliar task, instead of letting it cloud your mind with negativity and impact your performance.
Try integrating these small practices into your work day and we’re positive that you’ll come out of the other side feeling accomplished and stress-free. How do you practice mindfulness at work? Share your tips in the comments!