Mindfulness for Productivity by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Most of us move through the day with the intent of accomplishing many things. If you’re like most of us, however, some days find you caught up in a whirlwind of unplanned activities at work that can leave you wondering where the day went and frustrated that you didn’t complete your planned task.

Mindfulness is the act of moving through the day with purpose, and learning to separate the whirlwind that distracts you from the meaningful activities for the day. There are several ways to help improve your mindfulness as you go about your daily tasks.

Make lists. Making lists is a two-part activity. The first is creating that “to do” list for the beginning of the day that highlights the things you need to accomplish. This helps you to achieve focus and have a daily plan. The second part of list making is to document what you accomplish. This may be as simple as marking things off that “to do” list as these are completed. At the end of the day, you can clearly see what you have accomplished and what might need to be moved to the following day’s list.

Speak with intent. Verbal communication at work is essential for an effective and happy workplace. Plan, for example, what you will say at staff meetings ahead of time, being mindful of the items that really need to be on the agenda, while also being mindful of the amount of time. Meetings that are unnecessarily long, or filled with agenda items that could just as easily have been communicated through a simple email are a waste of everyone’s time. People will appreciate attending your meetings if these are clearly important and effective.

Structure the socializing. Happy co-worker relationships are another key to a happy workplace. However, socializing can waste time and decrease productivity. Be friendly with your coworkers, but make it a point to limit your own socializing to specifically carved out times of the day, being mindful of the amount of time you’re spending on each occasion. You may find that you get back an hour or more each week just by focusing on not over-socializing at work.

These three simple tasks are really all about being more aware of how you spend your time. If you start by looking at how many unproductive days you have, and begin being more focused on how you spend your time, you will see your productivity increase immediately. Over time, you may find that you are accomplishing more than you ever thought possible in one day at the office.