How can you be more mindful at work and increase productivity? The problem is not easy. But you can be mindful at work and increase productivity by practice, by training your mind.
Here I have discussed 3 possible situations where you may find obstacles to become productive at work every day and 1 simple solution – that is rewiring your mind and become mindful at work.
Here the situations discussed are:
- How to be mindful when someone gives negative feedback and still you can remain positive at work
- How to stay positive and execute a task when you are given a task that you don’t like
- How you can be totally mindful and love your work
I hope this blog helps you to be more mindful at work and helps in increasing your productivity.
We all want to be successful in life. And most of us see our career as a tool to bring a sense of fulfillment in our life.
We spend a lot of time at the office and it takes a chunk of our life. And after good health, we see jobs and money as the most important part of our life. We think if we have money, we can acquire everything in life, be it a lavish life, social recognition or buying a dream home and so on. And thus, we see our job as a tool to earn money.
Thus, we go to the office every morning with lots of expectations. But even with the best of the intentions, we may fail to perform that very day. There can be various reasons for non-performance that very day, but generally, most of us put the blame on external factors.
Recently I came across a webinar of Leo Babauta at zenhabits.net which offered me a new window and a new insight to examine the problem about how can we increase our productivity daily?
Leo Babauta talks about the feeling of getting “hooked” or “caught up” – that we all go through every moment of our life – and this can (if we get aware of it) really helps us to be more mindful at work and increase our productivity.
He says, he got this idea from Pema Chödrön and the original idea originated from Tibetan thought of “Shenpa”, “which is usually involuntary and it gets right to the root of why we suffer.” You can read more about this in her blog here.
But this idea is not merely philosophical. It is true in case of the emotions and feelings we go through at the workplace too.
I shall discuss here the three common scenarios which decrease our productivity and how by applying this technique we can practice mindfulness at work and increase productivity.
How to be mindful when someone gives negative feedback and still you can remain positive at work:
Suppose your boss or colleague while talking to you suddenly starts criticizing you. In this case, what is your voluntary reaction? Naturally, you become negative and start nurturing resentment.
We came across various situations at work where we face negative feedback.
Now, this can be a spark. You suddenly get lost in the “cloud of thoughts”, your emotions start ballooning and you lose control. You get lost in resentment and negative thoughts. This is both the conscious and the unconscious part of your feelings. And Leo Babauta tries to show us the way on how to get rid of it.
How to get rid of negative thoughts and become mindful?
Most of us are guided by our feelings and we fail to differentiate between our thoughts of the minds and our feelings. Our feelings get triggered by our thoughts, and when we can detach our thoughts from our feelings objectively when we can observe our thoughts, only then we can get rid of our emotional turmoil.
In simple words, if we practice mindfulness at work, we can detach the harmful emotions from our minds, and it can increase our productivity at work.
The Process to become aware of our thoughts and become mindful:
Leo Babauta gives us a process to become more mindful. As soon as you see you have trapped yourself in some sort of negative emotions, he suggests you become aware of it and stop yourself from getting carried away. Stop, take a deep breath and pause for a moment.
Have a glass of water and notice how your body is reacting to your thoughts. Try to find out which part of your body gets tensed, is your jaw getting tight, or is your shoulder muscle getting tensed or your head starts aching? Now relax that part of your body. Watch the reactions mindfully and it shall dissolve and vanish.
Trying to be mindful is an ongoing process:
Now, this is a continuous process. You will have tides of thoughts throughout the day, and you need to be watchful. You may mess up the things (your thoughts), but it’s ok! It’s really ok! You have to start the process once again, just as simple as that. And it shall a lot of practice to stay away from negative thoughts and feelings.
How to stay positive and execute a task when you are given a task that you don’t like:
The above technique taught by Leo Babauta also helps you to increase your productivity at work in a different way.
There are incidents at the office when your boss gives you a task and you don’t like that to carry that. Or in another way, we all come across situations in office when we really don’t like to work, even knowing the fact the task may be very important and we are failing to meet the deadlines.
You may term it as procrastination at work. And it kills our efficiency and productivity at work.
He says something interesting. He says to avoid things we don’t like; we turn to momentary pleasure (we see it as our hope) – and then that gives birth to a sense of fear.
Let me explain this.
Suppose you are given a task at the office that you are not finding interesting. What’s your reaction? You get busy with your smartphone or open Facebook. Now, this is a momentary diversion or “pleasure”. And at the end of the day, you have a sense of uneasiness that you have not performed well (because you haven’t concentrated on your task).
And if it carries on for a few weeks, slowly your performance takes a toll, you start losing interest in your job.
How to stop procrastination at work and start acting:
To stop this sense of something stopping you from doing things you don’t like to do, you need to be mindful.
Don’t avoid the task and keep yourself busy in diversions. Instead, focus on the feeling of dissatisfaction on your mind and watch that feeling closely. Keep patience. And slowly that feeling of obstacle or dislike will dissolve. It’s simple like a tide of thought.
It rises and rises and then slowly vanishes. Slowly relax your muscles, have water, take a deep breath. Now you are ready to do the task that you dreaded. Continue your practice, until you form a habit of doing that task.
So, this way you can avoid procrastination and become mindful. You can increase productivity at work.
And finally, how you can be totally mindful and love your work:
We all have a common habit that we compare ourselves with others. Again, this is in our thoughts. In the office too we don’t escape from that.
Suppose you love vegan food. And you see a colleague eating chicken every day. You start comparing food habits. Suppose a colleague has some habits that you don’t like. You start complaining about that at the subconscious level and start disliking him/her. Or somebody got a pay hike and you don’t get that. And you get furious!
What are the solutions?
Accept the fact you are unique and different from everybody:
You must accept that fact you are not a copy of anyone. And you are unique. So are other colleagues. Your life is different, you are different and so is everybody else. So, the daily outcomes in everybody’s life are bound to be different.
Don’t expect others to behave as you wish or your life to be the same as others:
Here also you must stop your thoughts form expecting others to behave your own way. Or stop expecting the same result in a life that your mates have got in their career.
Try to accept everybody as they are and welcome them to your life; try to accept yourself with all the ups and downs in your career and welcome yourself to your life. Love yourself and love everybody else. You shall be more at peace and the focus and concentration at your work will improve dramatically.
As a result, you shall be more mindful at work and increase your productivity.
The process is just watching your thoughts, watching your “uneasiness”, and refrain from acting, just relax and let it pass. And practice it continuously until the rest of your life. You shall find your life and career is taking a positive turn and you are enjoying your work more and more.
Sayak takes care of both recruitments and assessment projects of The HR Monks team. He loves helping people finding their dream job.
He started his journey in career leaving the shores of Waiting for Godot and found The HR Monks a better place, where he can change the lives of people by helping them achieve their dreams.
He has been to quite a fewer place across India and loves to travel. He loves two books, in particular, one Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and the other The Shift by Dr. Wayne Dyer.