In today’s busy culture and digital age, we’re often reminded to be more mindful at home and at work. When looking for coworking in Austin, it's hard to cut through the noise, that's for sure. But we've identified four ways we all can be more mindful at work. But what does it mean to be mindful?
Mindful.org defines mindfulness as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” Simply put, being mindful is all about living in the present moment.
While mindfulness may be an innate quality that everyone possesses, applying it to our day to day lives--especially at work--is something that takes practice. But once we’ve harnessed the ability to be more mindful at work, it can be used as a powerful tool to decrease stress, improve productivity, and re-center our focus.
If you want to work more efficiently--with less stress--and be more present on the job, here are a few ways you can successfully practice mindfulness at work.
With a seemingly endless to-do list, back-to-back meetings, and tight deadlines on our plate, we often move at high speed at work. One of the hardest things to do is to slow down, but it’s absolutely necessary in order to be more productive and focused.
If you find yourself overwhelmed or stressed, take a minute to slow down and do a few breathing exercises. You don’t need to spend 20 minutes working through a meditation routine (although meditating is the ultimate mindfulness technique) in order to slow down. Just a few minutes spent connecting with your thoughts and re-centering your focus is enough to turn your energy around. Even if you’re not busy or stressed, it’s always a good idea to check in with yourself and connect with your feelings and surroundings before rushing to the next task.
Bouncing around from tab to tab, working on several tasks simultaneously, attending team meetings, and responding to emails in between pretty much sums up a typical workday for most people. This may be the norm, but it’s not the best strategy if you want to get things done. Being busy often makes us feel like we’re being productive but it actually has the opposite effect. Studies have shown that people who multitask actually take longer to get things done and have a harder time tuning out distractions. Research also shows that multitasking can even have long term effects on our cognitive abilities.
Instead of multi-tasking, consider focusing on a single task at a time. Giving all of your attention and energy to one thing will not only help you complete the task in a shorter period of time, but it gives your brain an opportunity to slow down and be present with the task in front of you.
Take a lunch break
Working through lunch is an all too common practice in the workplace. But there’s a reason that lunch breaks are built into our schedules. Taking a break is necessary in order to physically step away from your desk and mentally take a step back from your work. Instead of eating at your desk--or worse, skipping lunch altogether--take an actual break. Whether you grab lunch at a restaurant near the office, sit outside, or take a walk, prioritize being present during your break. Try not to think about the tasks waiting for you back at your desk; avoid scrolling through Instagram for the entirety of the break. Instead, use this time to reset and refuel in order to be productive for the rest of the day.
It goes without saying that we’ve all experienced a bad day at work. Whether due to an overload of tasks, a stressful team meeting, or even personal issues that make their way into the office, we’re bound to have days when we’re just not feeling our best. It can be hard not to let those negative feelings take over and affect your entire day, but these are the best times to practice gratitude.
There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of, “every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” This sentiment could not be a better example of how to practice gratitude. If you’re having a bad day at work, remind yourself of the things you’re grateful for, both on the job and outside of the office. Focusing on the good will lift your spirits and turn around your mindset.
You don’t even need to be having a bad day to practice gratitude. In fact, starting your workday with a simple reminder of what you’re grateful for is an easy way to infuse more mindfulness into your daily routine.
Coworking at Impact Hub Austin offers great ways to practice mindfulness at work. Our spaces are intentionally designed for both connection and focus. Whether you’re coworking in our shared workspace, have your own dedicated desk or private office space, we encourage mindfulness and breaks! That’s why we offer weekly happy hours, monthly morning bagels, and other perks to help you unwind and stay focused.