5 Hacks on How to use Mindfulness to Increase Productivity

Productivity is the key to success when working from home

Working from home is a blessing but at times it can also be a curse.

As women, we tend to multi-task. Multi-tasking however has been proven to be detrimental. Multi-tasking, mindfulness and productivity do not go hand in hand.

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are becoming well known and when practiced with every day tasks can greatly aid productivity and well-being.

While we may start the day with clear intentions we may still finish the day with that feeling of not quite achieving what we needed to achieve.

This can be particularly pertinent when we have children at home or at school when we need to be even more focused than ever between school hours.

And it is easy to get distracted because there is so much to do.

Our mind can be very persuasive if we are not aware that it is keeping us procrastinating and we are not mindful of its internal chatter.

Most of us have done it, it goes something like this….

“I will just pop this load of washing on, it will just take 5 minutes”

Or……..

“I can’t concentrate if the dishes aren’t done”

And then……

“It’s 10 o’clock, I’ll just have a quick cuppa and then get started”

I know that for me a tidy, well organised home contributes to me feeling in control and balanced and if the house looks like a disaster zone I can feel overwhelmed in minutes, BUT….

With time and life experience I have realised that not being mindful of my bigger goals and vision impacts my productivity and ability to achieve my career and financial goals, and if we don’t learn how to practice mindfulness in our everyday life, then life passes by, quicker than most of us every imagined.

 

What is Mindfulness and How does it Help Productivity

Mindfulness is a seemingly simple habit that involves being present in the moment. While straightforward in instruction it is harder than most of us imagine.

Mindfulness and Productivity when Working from HomeWe all know the feeling, and there can be hundreds of examples in a day. Like, when you pick up the children from school. They are chatting a million miles an hour but your mind is actually a million miles away, distracted by thoughts of what you have to pick up on the way home for dinner. Or you need to get home to answer that email that you forgot about earlier in the day.

And then you look in the rear vision mirror and you can see your child is visibly upset, and you don’t know why because your mind was busy.

If we are mindful and present in the moment we are less likely to forget, get distracted and feel overwhelmed.

 

5 Hacks to Mindfulness and Productivity

Tip 1: Stop Multi-tasking

Research shows that Multi-tasking is inefficient. When we multi-task we never get in the ‘flow’ of what we are actually doing and are less productive. Every time we switch tasks it takes time for our brain to engage in the new activity, wasting time and energy.

 

Tip 2: Make a List

Lists are extremely useful, because it clears space in your head and keeps you mindful.

The discipline of making a list is not simply to tick things off the list, but it is the benefit of the mental clarity that increases productivity.

 

Tip 3: Find Your Sweet Spot

Sometimes one of the hardest questions is ‘What do you want to do’ and many people find it hard to answer, because we have been so busy doing what we need to do that we no longer recognise what we want to do.

Being mindful of what makes us happy and what we love to do puts us in flow. When we are in flow, time can disappear, and we are more productive.

Try spending the day doing what you want to do, by simply asking the question – “What do I want to do?” –  and then do it.

This practice can be enlightening, especially on how the use of our language can influence our enjoyment of the day, even on the simple things.

 

Tip 4: Recognise when you need to take a break

Pushing ourselves to do more and be more is exhausting. When we are exhausted our reserves are low and we are less productive.

For some the thought of meditation and mindfulness can in itself be quite overwhelming. I know I have said it myself, “I don’t have time to take 10 minutes to meditate – I have too much to do”.

But with time I have realised the truth in the Zen saying “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.

After a break, whether it’s a walk around the block or 10 minutes sitting in meditation, productivity increases.

 

Tip 5: Delete Distractions and stay on Task

How Does Mindfulness Help ProductivityDistractions are as unproductive as multi-tasking – our brains start to buzz rather than hum.

If you are working on a project that needs focus and concentration pop the phone on silent, disable facebook and turn off your emails.

We know that when we start a project that requires deep thinking it can take a while for us to engage fully in the task, and it can be hard to get started and if we are not aware, we can become distracted and not ever really start.

Training ourselves to stay on task helps us to overcome ‘blocks’ in creativity and planning.  We have become so available to the wider world through technology that the lure of ‘busy’ can stop us being productive.

If you do become distracted ask yourself the question ‘why am I distracted, what am I avoiding, what am I training myself to do’.

 

Whether we are working, spending time with our families or enjoying a walk outside, being mindful of the present moment makes us more connected and ultimately more productive.

Mary Warner

Mary Warner is passionate about living a good life and aging with grace.  She is a member of the  Fit4100 Team, dedicated to providing the latest research, advice and tips on living to 100.

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