You might see the word mindfulness and expect an article about how you should meditate for fifteen minutes every morning to find your true peace. While meditating in the morning is a great practice, it may not be for everybody, and once you leave that morning head-space, the calm that comes from meditating can be hard to recapture throughout a busy day. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is simply the practice of being completely present in a given moment, acknowledging your racing mind, and working to stay in the present moment with the people around you. Here’s how to use mindfulness to positively impact your work.
Stay on Task
Mindfulness is important because it keeps us from rushing onto the next task before we finish the first. Try making a list of goals in the order they should be completed, and avoid drifting into daydreams about the second or third or tenth goal while working on the first. Keep a designated place to write down your stray thoughts on future tasks so when you get to them, you’re ready to roll. This way, your focus will be on the most important task at hand, and when that’s complete, you’ll still be on track with your priorities.
Budget Your Time
Another way to work mindfully is to work in sprints. Set a timer for fifteen or ten or five minutes (whichever sounds the most doable) and work on one thing without stopping until the timer goes off. It’s too easy to get distracted by an email you forgot to respond to or a picture of a dog on Twitter; setting a timer for short bursts of attention will be less overwhelming than spending a whole day on a project. Dividing that load into manageable chunks will help you stay mindful of your projects and on task for your goals.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, remember that you’re a human being with a body you need to care for. Every hour, or even better, every thirty minutes, tune into what your body needs. This will help you stay mindful of your well-being and strengthen your endurance for long days of work. Do you need a glass of water? Are your fingers sore from typing and need a stretch? Can you take a two-minute walk around your work space to get your legs moving? And take a break from that blue light!
Mindfulness is a skill that can impact each and every aspect of your everyday life, but particularly has some useful applications in our everyday work. Remember to take care of yourself and your mind – two minutes of mindfulness every hour will improve your mood and your focus, making you a more successful and productive student and co-worker.