Mindfulness practices like meditation have been working their way into corporate culture for some time now. At Google, for instance, mindfulness meditations are considered key to boosting productivity and preventing burnout.
Still, the average company doesn’t offer employees a meditation break, let alone an entire department dedicated to mindfulness. So what can we do each day to keep up with our mindfulness practice? Here are seven ways to reduce stress, foster creativity, and stay present - without clocking out.
1. Take advantage of the space between tasks.
Bogged down by emails? Multiple meetings scheduled? Insert mindfulness breaks between tasks. Each time you can safely check something off of the day’s list, take a minute to turn away from any screens and slow down your breathing. It might only be for 30 seconds, but you’ll be transitioning into the next part of your day with more focus and perspective.
2. Hand deliver.
Much of the time, emailing a colleague is much more efficient than tracking them down in person. However, for some of these interactions, consider taking a walk to their desk to address it face-to-face instead. You don’t have to go slowly; walking briskly with purpose can be a mindful moment, too.
3. Take your lunch break.
It’s common for us to eat at our desks, or to just grab whatever we can as quickly as possible. Whether you eat with coworkers or all alone, try to work in some mindful eating. Chew carefully, paying attention to the texture, taste, and temperature of your food. Consider where it came from, and note how you feel when you’re finished.
4. Look for things to be grateful for.
When you’re feeling stressed, the negative stands out. The best way to deal with feelings of overwhelm and bust up a dark mood is to accentuate the positive. The next time you feel the pressure rising, use mindfulness to momentarily focus on one positive thing. As you continue to do this, the worst parts of your day begin to shrink.
5. Come in early.
How you enter the workplace can set the tone for the whole day. If you rush in to bright lights, noise, and bustling coworkers, change this up. Arrive a little early, absorb the quiet, and notice how the activity increases gradually. Even the sun takes some time to rise.
6. Stop multitasking - for a few minutes, anyway.
If an unscheduled break just isn’t in the cards, don’t force yourself to stop. Instead, ease up and focus on one task, and one task only. Perform it with intention. When it’s complete, ask yourself if the quality improved with your undivided attention.
7. Keep a reminder close by.
As meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says, mindfulness isn’t difficult, it’s just that we need to remember to do it. That’s especially tough when our inboxes are stuffed. Keep one object in your workspace that reminds you to come back to the present. For some, it’s a crystal, a small statue, or a singing bowl. Reach out and give it a strike to aid in getting grounded and remember - there is enough time in this moment.