Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves focusing on what you’re currently doing, seeing, hearing, and so on versus the traditional clearing pf your mind. In recent years, mindfulness has become more popular along with mindful productivity. While it may sound more like something you’d do during a break, you actually do this while working, leading to improved focus and increased awareness.
Mindful Productivity Defined
Mindful productivity doesn’t mean stopping to breathe deeply or say a mantra to yourself. It’s about becoming fully present in the current moment and shutting out everything else. This includes boredom, random distractions, daydreams, and frustrations. Mixing mindfulness and productivity means making self-care a priority while making your work day easier to manage.
One important aspect is being compassionate with yourself. Instead of judging harshly when you forget a task or miss a detail, you calmly accept that it happened, forgive yourself, and move on to the solution or next task. Otherwise, your anger and frustration at yourself would decrease your productivity, hurt your self-esteem, and lead to damaging stress.
You don’t have to work in a constant state of mindfulness, but if you feel your mind wandering or stress is starting to overwhelm you, it’s time to actively practice it.
Analyze Why You Procrastinate
One of the most useful mindful productivity exercises is analyzing why you procrastinate. It’s easy to recognize when you’re procrastinating, but do you know why you’re doing it? Finding the reason helps you overcome it.
For example, you may discover that you don’t feel like you’re good enough at a particular task, so you put it off. As a result, you aren’t able to do your best. A pep talk and allotting a little extra time to that task helps you get better and your procrastination disappears. Remember, be compassionate with yourself.
The more you try to do at once, the less you’ll accomplish. Be mindful of what tasks you’re working on. If you’re doing more than one, stop yourself and ask which one is most important at this very moment. Then, finish that task before moving on to the next.
You’ll not only finish more quickly, but the quality of your work will improve as well. However, it may take time to deprogram the mindset of having to multitask due to hectic schedules.
Know What You’re Capable Of
Yes, it may look great if you take on more tasks, but are you capable of finishing them without compromising your current workload? How will more work affect your mental health or work/life balance?
It’s okay to say “no.” Practice mindful productivity and only take on what you can handle. This won’t always be possible, as your job may be extra demanding. However, you still have to be mindful of how your work is affecting you and take steps to better take care of yourself, reduce the stress, and feel physically and mentally well enough to handle your workload.
Acknowledge Thoughts and Feelings
Everyone’s mind wanders throughout the day. Mindful productivity means taking a moment to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, accepting them, and moving your attention back to the task at hand.
Sometimes, you replace the thought with another. For instance, you may start thinking – “I hate this task. I’ll never finish. Maybe I should just give up.” Acknowledge this and replace it with – “I may not enjoy this task, but if I focus on it now, I’ll finish more quickly and move on to something better.” It’s more motivational and compassionate.
Attend to Your Needs
As counterproductive as it may sound, mindful productivity means paying attention to when you need to do something other than work. You may be in the middle of a particularly arduous task. By being mindful, you realize you’ve hit a point where you can’t be productive any longer and a break is necessary.
Instead of just pushing yourself to work harder, take a short break to address your mental and physical health. Relax, stretch, and grab a snack. If it’s the end of the day, stop working and focus on your personal life instead. When you return to the task, you’ve had time to reset.
Be mindful of what you truly need versus what you want. You may want to go sit on a beach away from everything. But you need to take breaks or eliminate certain tasks from your day to have better balance in your life.
The most important thing to remember about mindful productivity is it takes practice. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t immediately see benefits. You’re changing how you think, and it may take a few weeks. However, when you do, you’ll feel better and see your work in a new way.