Hello and welcome to the second edition of my mindfulness blog in this series. Today we are looking at mindfulness and productivity – sounds like a bit of a conundrum doesn’t it? However, this concept is not a conundrum at all! The whole premise of being mindful is to pay attention to the moment and to be present in all activities. It’s about being non-judgemental and in actual fact once you begin to practice mindfulness, you’ll realise that you’re more focused on the task at hand and that you enjoy doing it!
I get so many people who are in really busy jobs saying to me ‘mindfulness sounds good, however I just don’t have the time to take 10 minutes out of my day to practice it.’ What I would like to suggest to you is that although I promote taking a few minutes out of your day in the morning to practice mindfulness, you don’t have to be a Yogi expert in order to be mindful. It’s just what I found, and research backs up, is that if you take a little bit of time out of your day in the morning, then it sets you up for the right frame of mind during the day.
What I would like to emphasise in this blog is that if you are one of these people that thinks that you don’t have time to be mindful due to all the stresses and busyness in your life, then you are probably one of the ones that could really benefit from mindfulness.
Until recently, I was one of those people that I’ve mentioned above. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I still get overwhelmed with balancing activities. However, now it’s much more manageable. What I used to do before was to write a to do list listing everything I had to do, let that list build up, then let that overwhelm me and then not get anything done!
So, if mindfulness is related to productivity, then how does that work? Being self-employed has meant that I have learnt to be super organised. So this is what I do and this is how I believe mindfulness and productivity to go hand-in-hand (I’m not saying you should copy this step-by-step, but some of these aspects might help you):
1. My week actually begins on a Sunday evening. I love Sunday evenings, as it allows me to plan for my week without Monday feeling like such a dread. I write my ‘to do list’ and then I priorities the tasks for the week ahead. I also estimate how long each task will take to complete. Once I’ve done this, I then get my Google calendar up and I schedule the activities that need to be done during the week onto my calendar.
How is this linked to mindfulness? Well, because I am organised and I’m bulking my activities, it means that I’m actually present and focused during the week. I’m not continually assessing what I need to do and when I need to do it. I’m just focused on the task at hand and therefore I have increased productivity.
2. I bulk similar activities for the same day. For instance, phone calls on Monday, creative stuff on Tuesday, report writing on Wednesday etc whilst only checking my emails at the beginning and close of day.
How is this related to mindfulness? Bulking your activities again helps you to stay focused. This works for me, bulking similar activities, but other people like to mix and match to vary their day, so it’s whatever works for you.
3. I then block out free time. This is very important. When I hang out with my family or friends, or even decide to have a bit of alone time, I do not want to have the added pressure of what I need to do for the week. It’s really important to have a work life balance and it’s really important that you are present during your free time so that you can actually indulge and enjoy what you are doing.
How is this linked to mindfulness? Scheduling your free time means that you’re more likely to enjoy it and are less likely to feel guilty about it. I don’t know about you, but when I have free time, I want to immerse myself totally in it without having added pressures in the background. It also revitalise you and means that you more motivated when you go back to work.
4. Finally, of course life can get in the way! You might have that emergency meeting which means that you fall behind on that report that you are supposed to be writing. You may also have had personal circumstances to deal with, which leave you distracted you during the week. That’s okay, it’s part of life and we cannot always control external circumstances. However, by sticking to the above methods, you are less likely to freak out. It obviously happens to me too, so when Sunday comes around again, I make sure that I prioritise any of the tasks that I have not completed the week before, for the next week.
How is that related to mindfulness? Well again you are staying focused and taking control of your week. It means that you are less likely to be stressed on Monday due to incomplete work and that you know you’ve been as organised and productive as you can be!!!
I hope you’ve found this blog useful.
Until next time,
(p.p.s. why not become an ambassador for You Own It and empower others to take ownership over their health and wellness?)