LinkedIn and Hangouts and Slack — oh my! With an ever-expanding set of real-time workplace communication tools, the constant and competing demands on employees are greater than ever before. How can employees effectively tune in to what they need to focus on, and, perhaps more importantly, tune out what they don’t? The answer is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is one of the hottest trends in workplace productivity and a top-requested program at Grokker. Successful leaders from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to Oprah swear by it. Numerous studies show that mindfulness improves attention and reduces stress and anxiety. Mindfulness actually creates changes in the brain that correspond to less reactivity, and a better ability to engage in tasks even when emotions are activated.
That’s why this month, Grokker is offering our March Anti-Madness Challenge featuring 21 days of guided meditation from top experts to encourage employees to start their own practice. We’re also continuing to launch new series focused on this topic such as Alister Gray’s Mindful Productivity. Most of the videos are 3-5 minutes so you can easily incorporate them into the workday.
Forget multitasking and start monotasking. Here are 5 easy steps to introduce basic mindfulness today:
- Schedule it. Many of us live or die by our calendars these days (as the saying goes, “If a tree falls in the forest, but it wasn’t on your Google calendar…”). So, start by blocking off just five minutes a day for mindfulness. It’s important to set yourself up for success by making the time.
- Unplug. Turn the laptop speakers off, find a quiet space or just hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your cube. Next, put your iPhone on Silent mode, and set a 5-minute timer on your phone so you aren’t distracted by time keeping.
- Get comfortable. You can sit or stand, but ideally your feet will be flat on the ground, your back will be straight, and your shoulders will be relaxed. If you’d like, you can also close your eyes to help further tune out visual distractions.
- Just breathe. Begin to take note of your breathing. Simply follow it in, and then out. In, and then out. Notice how it flows in through your airways, down into your lungs, then back up and out of your nose.
- Be kind to your mind. What should I do for dinner tonight? Did I schedule that meeting with Alex today or tomorrow? I can’t forget to take the trash out tonight! Your thoughts will wander. It’s normal and natural. When it happens, just acknowledge the fleeting thought, and then gently return your focus to your breathing again. Inhale and exhale, listen to it and observe the rhythms until the timer invites you back to your surroundings.
Most people would agree that this is a simple exercise that requires minimal effort. Everyone can do it, and that’s why it works! Just 5 minutes a day of mindfulness practice can lead to heightened productivity, performance, and overall wellness.
Encourage your employees to start with this basic approach, or better yet encourage your managers to take the first 5 minutes of every Monday morning meeting to employ this as a quick group mindfulness exercise. You can call it Monday morning mindfulness and share the 5-Steps above with your teams so they have an easy to follow checklist. You’ll see the positive impact that just five minutes of mindfulness a day can produce in your organization.
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Sedlmeier, P., Eberth, J., Schwarz, M., Zimmermann, D., Haarig, F., Jaeger, S., & Kunze, S. (2012). The psychological effects of meditation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(6), 1139.
Pbert, L., Madison, J. M., Druker, S., Olendzki, N., Magner, R., Reed, G., … Carmody, J. (2012). Effect of mindfulness training on asthma quality of life and lung function: a randomised controlled trial. Thorax, 67(9), 769–776.
Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10(1), 83.
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