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Published on January 11, 2021

8 Simple Ways To Be Mindful At Work For Better Focus

8 Simple Ways To Be Mindful At Work For Better Focus

It’s easy to get caught up in the world around us—to react to events without thinking about what they mean to us, to judge others without a thought about what may be happening in their world, and to allow distractions to keep us from doing what we should be doing At that moment. It’s this way of reacting to events and situations that lead to many people being stressed out, overwhelmed, and busy.

Becoming more mindful at work means we step back and take a few minutes when events happen and analyze their meaning to us at the moment. It means we don’t react immediately. Instead, we pause, consider the situation, and then act.

A simple example of this can be seen every day. We notice an elderly person struggling to carry a heavy box or shopping bag up a flight of stairs and yet, so many people walk by lost in their own world of stress and worry without even noticing. A mindful person would be immediately aware of the struggling person and stop and offer help because they are aware of their surroundings at the moment and not lost in the past or future.

One of the benefits of being more mindful is that it can help us to be more focused on our work. It can help us ignore distractions and focus on what’s important and not get lost in the trivialities that often lead to that unproductive feeling of being busy and overwhelmed.

By being more aware of our surroundings and knowing what we are trying to accomplish each day, we can evaluate new inputs—whether they are gossiping colleagues or office emergencies—and decide whether they deserve our full attention or not.

How do we take the practice of mindfulness and apply it to our lives? Here are 8 simple ways you can use to become more mindful at work and help you better focus.

1. Start With a Plan

Most of the reasons why we find it difficult to focus while at work is because we do not start the day with a plan. When you do not have a plan for the day, you are going to be influenced by events and any distractions that come your way.

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Being more mindful at work means knowing what you want to accomplish for the day and having a plan to make it happen. But more importantly, it means you have taken some time to think about what is important (and what is not) and evaluate what needs to happen to get the important things done.

Now, your plan for the day does not need to be detailed. It’s simply asking, “what do I want to accomplish today?” That could be to finish a report you have been laboring over for a few weeks. It could be to deliver an outstanding presentation or resolve an issue with a difficult customer.

The key is stepping back at the end of the day and asking yourself what you want to get done tomorrow and writing it down somewhere you will see the next day when you start your work.

2. Begin the Day With a Review of Your Plan

Part of becoming more mindful at work is being aware of what you are trying to accomplish and focusing your energies on accomplishing it. One way to do this is to take the plan you made the previous day, look at it, and visualize completing your plan.

This only takes a few minutes, but you would want to do it in a quiet place, reviewing your list, closing your eyes, and, for a few minutes, imagining yourself completing those tasks. Imagine how you will feel once you have finished and then, slowly opening your eyes and starting the day.

3. Have a Daily Routine to Start the Day

There is a lot written about morning and evening routines, and there’s a good reason. When you begin and end the day in the same way, you put yourself in the right frame of mind to begin and end your day.

Being more mindful at work is all about being more aware of yourself and others and having a set of daily routines that will put you in the right “state” to be aware of what is going on around you. Routines help you be more aware of how you are feeling. You will notice this if you are feeling stressed or tired, and you can ask yourself why you feel that way. You notice differences in the way you feel.

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For example, if you start the day with exercise and you notice you are not putting in as much effort as you normally do, you can ask yourself: why? Are you tired? Are you stressed? Is there something on your mind? Asking these questions allows you to be more mindful about your physical and mental condition and you can then take steps to rectify whatever it is that is bothering you.

4. Do One Thing at a Time

By now, you should have realized that ‘multitasking’ is a myth and does not work.[1] When we multitask, we are not really doing two things simultaneously. What we are doing is task-switching, which means our brain is moving from one focus to another at high speed. This is an incredibly inefficient way of working and rapidly leads to tiredness, an inability to focus for long periods of time, and a reduction in our willpower.

Multitasking also means we stop being present because we are trying to focus on too many things at once and when that happens, we are likely to miss important details and make mistakes. Instead, take one piece of work and work on that to the exclusion of everything else. Don’t have multiple windows open on your computer, and only have the window you need to do the work you have chosen at that particular time.

Once you finish that work, take a short break—move—and when you return to your place of work, start the next item you want to work on. When you get into this practice, you will soon find yourself becoming more focused and more mindful about what you are doing.

5. Close Down Email and Other Forms of Communication

If you really want to become more mindful at work, you need to do whatever it takes to reduce your distractions. This means turning off notifications and only opening your email and other communication tools when you have decided you want to work on your communications.

One thing we need to understand is that if there really was something urgent and that required our attention immediately, nobody would use email or Slack to tell you. They would either walk over to your workstation or phone you. If your house was on fire, your neighbor would not email or Slack message you to tell you. They would use a more immediate form of communication.

The same applies to your work. Stop worrying about angry bosses and upset clients. They are very rare and remember, you are employed to do your work, not to be the fastest at responding to messages and emails. If an issue was genuinely urgent, you would quickly hear about it.

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6. Give Yourself Some Alone Time Every Day

The world is very distracting and demanding. If it is not our work colleagues and customers, it is an advertisement and NEWS that are trying to get our attention and cause us to react in positive and negative ways.

With all these distractions, it is very hard to get a moment of peace, and yet, if you want to be better focused, you need some time each day for quiet reflection away from all those demands and noise.

Fifteen to twenty minutes alone in a quiet room—or better yet, in nature—will give you the time to reflect, to turn off, and enjoy the peace around you. Doing this will help you become more aware of what is going on around you and how you are feeling and brings some much-needed perspective to your life.

7. Listen

And when I say “listen,” I mean truly listen. Too often, we are not really listening. Instead, we are thinking of the next thing to say or being judgmental about what the other person is saying. Stop this. It does you no good and is not helpful to the person you are talking with or yourself.

When you stop judging and start listening, you will soon see another perspective. You may not agree with that perspective or opinion, but remember that is all it is—a perspective or opinion. You are not duty-bound to agree with them or change another person’s viewpoint, but you will find yourself better understanding why a person thinks that way if you stop trying to change their opinions and instead, listen to what they have to say.

I know this is hard to do because we naturally want other people to agree with our view of the world. But part of what makes humans so unique is we all have a different view of the world, and that is what makes us special. It would not be a nice world if everyone shared the same view of the world and events.

8. Practice Meditation

Giving yourself some time to meditate each day will help you become more mindful and more focused. Meditation is a form of training for the mind to stop thinking and just be.

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Meditating each day does not have to be done for long. I’ve always found ten minutes every day works for me. Others prefer to do two sessions a day fifteen to twenty minutes in the morning and evening.

How long and how frequently you meditate is not relevant. Just doing a few minutes each day will help improve your focus. By training your mind to stop and just focus on your breathing or the sound of the refrigerator,+ you develop a powerful ability to focus.

Final Thoughts

It can be very difficult to focus on the “always-on” world we live in today. But if you want to perform at your very best and be more mindful at work, be aware of the needs of the people around you, and live a fulfilled, stress-free life.

Becoming more mindful about yourself and others is a great way to become more focused, less stressed, and ultimately, a lot happier.

More Tips on How to Be More Mindful at Work

Featured photo credit: Bench Accounting via unsplash.com

Reference

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Carl Pullein

Dedicated to helping people to achieve their maximum potential through better time management and productivity.

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Published on July 12, 2021

Why Making Yourself a Priority Boosts Your Productivity

Why Making Yourself a Priority Boosts Your Productivity

Conventional wisdom centers around giving more of yourself to others in your life than you would to what you want to accomplish. You’re taught to make sacrifices and put your needs secondary because that’s how you’ll become a better person. However, not making yourself a priority is keeping you from accomplishing your goals and getting more done.

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You work hard all day to accomplish your goals. During your moments of focus, there are requests from others and demands from outside distractions on your time. You start each day with a to-do list of items that you want to accomplish. By the time you come to the end of your day, you haven’t completed what you wanted. If you were to analyze your time, you would see that the reason is you’re constantly being distracted.

There’s a significant difference between being selfish and being self-centered. I won’t give you the analogy that you hear every time you get on an airplane, but if you’re going to accomplish your goals, you have to stop drowning—in a figurative sense.

The reality is that you’re giving more of yourself to others than you are giving to your goals and vision of the future. By not making yourself a priority, your goals have become secondary.

Here are six important reasons why everyone should understand the importance of self-prioritization. The key to getting more done starts with taking care of yourself first and foremost.

1. You Create the Bandwidth You’ll Need to Focus on Your Goals When You Make Yourself a Priority

It takes a lot of yourself to consistently put in the work that helps you get more done and accomplish your goals. You need energy, bandwidth, and mental clarity to wake up every day and work hard.

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By making yourself a priority, it allows you to see the path to accomplishment. Too many people aren’t accomplishing their goals because their goals get lost in the busyness of taking care of others. It becomes a negative habit and a complacent way to live life.

Life rarely works out as expected, and as you’re working on your goals, you’re going to experience unexpected setbacks. You need bandwidth and mental strength to withstand those frustrating moments and still maintain the motivation to accomplish your goals.

The vital part of accomplishment is that you are working on your goals.

When you are working on what you want to accomplish to make yourself better, you can stay focused on what it will take to get there. You learn to say no to anything that will derail your path, and this creates more space and time to work on what you need to. Create the proper bandwidth through self-prioritizing.

2. Focused Energy Leads to More Production

Disorganization affects productivity. When it feels like you’re being pulled in many different directions, you can’t focus and create the energy needed for consistent production. A scattered mind leads to half-accomplished goals.

We know that in goal-setting, we need a plan. This plan has to be centered around what you want to accomplish. Self-prioritization allows you to create a plan that’s focused on the specific actions and steps it will take to achieve your goals.

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As you take action in an organized way, this leads to more production because your focus and energy are around the goals you know will help you be better and accomplish more. You simply get more done when you have the energy to do so.

3. Prioritizing Yourself Builds Clarity on What Boundaries You Should Set and Keep

Deep inside, you know when you should be saying no instead of saying yes. When you agree to anything that could derail your focus, it eats away at you inside. Prioritizing yourself and your goals helps you set boundaries and keep them because of the intense focus.

There will always be attempts and requests for your time and attention. As you start to build up yourself and accomplish more, others will notice. This will bring demand for your energy and your focus. If you give in to these requests, you won’t have the necessary bandwidth needed to work on your goals consistently.

Setting boundaries is an integral part of goal setting and living a healthy life. You have to be firm about what you allow and what you will not tolerate in your life. Human nature tends to lean towards people-pleasing—when you focus on pleasing others, you don’t please yourself.

Prioritize your goals and the things that you want to accomplish in your life. That’s the operative thing to understand—this is your life, and the focus has to be on what you want to achieve in that life. Use self-prioritization to clarify what boundaries need to be set and make sure you hold these boundaries firmly.

4. Sustainable Productivity happens With excitement for What You’re Working On

There are many reasons why people don’t accomplish their goals, but one that is not often thought about is a lack of excitement. When you spend the whole time working on things that drain you, your productivity diminishes with every second.

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Letting outside circumstances dictate your goals leads to a lack of excitement. By not focusing on making yourself a priority, you’re not creating an environment in which you are thrilled to be working on your goals. It will take a lot of hard work over a sustained period of time to accomplish your significant goals and be productive. It’s going to require energy and bandwidth to overcome the setbacks and stay focused.

Prioritizing yourself allows you to set challenging goals, but the outcome is exciting. If you look at what you’re working on and it’s not exciting, you won’t have sustainability. A lack of motivation will drain your productivity.

You’re a human being, not a machine. There will be things in your life that are not an exciting part of this process, but there has to be a balance between work and play. Work-life balance happens when the life part has an equal priority. Prioritizing what you want creates that balance and amplifies productivity.

5. It’s Mentally and Emotionally Freeing to Let Go of Outside Expectations

We are programmed to take on the baggage of outside circumstances. We’re taught that to be a good human being, we should take on what others are going through. By prioritizing yourself, you’ll come to understand that you are responsible for your life, and that involves your mental well-being.

Prioritizing yourself helps you see that you have to let go of the expectations of others. This is your life, and you have to live in the best way that you see fit. It’s important for you to spend the precious moments you have on this earth working on your goals and the things that help you live a better life.

When you let go of outside expectations of what you should be doing and how you should be doing it, it frees up bandwidth and creates mental clarity to be productive. No longer are you walking around with the burden of what others expect from you, it’s time to spend your time the way you’d like to.

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Other people’s expectations of your life don’t have to be part of your plan. It’s your responsibility to set the goals that help you live a free life and spend your time exactly how you’d like to spend it. Make yourself a priority by letting go and focusing on yourself first and foremost.

6. Optimizing Yourself Builds Every Area of Your Life

You’re probably working on your goals because you want to become the best version of yourself and create a life that brings more time freedom. The path to higher income, better relationships, more travel, and all the other things you want to accomplish happen through self-optimization and productive life.

When you can optimize yourself, it helps you be better in every other area of your life. The key to optimizing yourself starts by prioritizing yourself in more than just words. When you take action from a place of “you-first,” you’ll have the energy and capacity needed to push harder for longer.

Make yourself a priority by focusing on optimizing yourself and all the things you want to accomplish. Everything inside you might be screaming to help others first, but you can’t give what you don’t have. The best place to share is from a place of abundance, and that comes from optimizing yourself.

Final Thoughts

It’s time to take better care of yourself. It’s time to treat yourself as the most significant goal because that should always be the case. What you’d like to accomplish and your path to get there have to be a priority before you think about others.

The demands and energy of others can derail you if you let it. Self-prioritization means that you decide where your boundaries will be set and not allow others to violate them. You’ve probably spent a lot of your time up to this point focused on other people and outside circumstances. It’s time to take a dedicated period of time to put yourself first. You deserve a productive life.

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Debunk the programming that there’s something wrong with putting yourself first and making your goals the primary priority. You can always help others and be there for those who need you while making yourself a priority. It’s not an either-or situation—it’s a situation in which you can help strategically.

More Tips on How to Make Yourself a Priority

Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

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