Entrepreneurs often find themselves swamped by work, with little or no time to be mindful of themselves and what is happening around them. Mindful moments aren’t always easy to come by, so business leaders need to take advantage of them when they show up or learn to be intentional about making the time for them.
To help you find easy ways to incorporate a mindfulness practice into your daily work routine, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council explore how you can be mindful during work and how vital it is in keeping you productive and focused on your tasks.
1. Take a Few Minutes to Breathe
The science behind mindful breathing and its benefits is overwhelming. Pause, focus your attention on your breath, inhale through your mouth into your belly and then exhale. Find a relaxed, comfortable position. Close your eyes. Sense your body and its surroundings. Observe each breath. Be kind to yourself if you do wander in your thoughts, but come back to your breathing.
2. Express Gratitude Every Morning
Every morning in our management huddle we end with one statement about what we’re grateful for. No matter how hard the day is, you can always find one thing to appreciate.
3. Use the Pomodoro Technique to Work and Rest
A powerful way to practice mindfulness while you work is by using the Pomodoro technique. This means 25-minute time blocks of uninterrupted, focused work followed by a 5-to-15-minute break. This technique not only keeps you focused and increases productivity, but it also allows you time to rest and take a break. Contrary to popular belief, rest is essential for our overall health and productivity.
4. Focus on One Task at a Time
To practice mindfulness at work, it helps to pay attention to one task at a time. Because of the fast-paced world we’re used to living in, it’s normal to see people multitasking and trying to do a million things at once. However, this leads to inefficiency and subpar results. Taking the time to focus on one task ensures you’re mindful of the work you’re doing.
5. Turn Your Phone Off
This one is not an ancient meditation technique, but it does work: Turn your phone off. The constant dings, pings, flashes and banners are the enemy of mindfulness. Let yourself be immersed in the moment by turning your phone off and paying attention to the people and work in front of you. You will feel more at peace.
6. Deliberately Notice Things Around You
One way to practice mindfulness is to deliberately notice things in your environment. Go through an exercise in your mind where you can name five different items in your room. Then try to hear five different sounds. See if you can smell different things. This exercise grounds you into the present moment and will keep you from getting lost in your thoughts.
7. Think About Where You Are
I find taking a minute or two to think about where I am at that time is an effective mindfulness strategy for me. It allows me to be fully engaged in what I’m doing. For example, any creative activity that I do at work is the ultimate form of mindfulness because I enjoy working on creative projects.
8. Ground Yourself
Grounding is physically connecting to the earth. You can go outside and place your feet on the earth or you can close your eyes in your office chair and connect yourself with the ground. Take a few breaths, but really feel the ground beneath you. It takes you out of the space where things can feel unsurmountable, like deadlines or dilemmas. Grounding is a great practice at any time.
9. Don’t Be Available 24/7
A typical workday for every business leader is full of distractions. The thing that changed my life in a good way was learning to focus on one task at a time. One important note though is that you have to stop being available 24/7. Treat answering emails and chats as a separate task too. When your mind is not rushing in five directions at once, it’s much easier to stay calm and present in the moment.
10. Recognize When You’re Drifting
I think mindfulness is more about knowing when your mind is going off track and correcting the issue instead of constant focus. My tip for people who want to practice mindfulness at work is to recognize when you’re drifting and get back to the task at hand. You’ll need plenty of practice, but awareness is the first step to mindfulness.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.