The Relationship Between Mindfulness and ProductivityAUTHOR: Noah Rue
Mindfulness can often feel like a buzzword nowadays. You’ll often find it suggested when you’re trying to reduce stress or anxiety, practice self-care, or even include it as a part of your daily routine.
But, mindfulness has gotten so much buzz because it’s effective.
In terms of productivity, mindfulness is a practice that can help you to stay focused and get things done. The average employee is only fully engaged and productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes each day. Think about how much more you could accomplish – both at work and at home – if you could give your productivity a boost.
Let’s talk more about how mindfulness can help you to do just that.
Dealing With Distractions
Think about how many times during the day you get distracted. If you’re in the office, you might get caught up reading emails or chatting with co-workers. At home, other family members or even household chores could keep you from getting things done. Another major culprit (no matter where you are) is your phone. Mindfulness is a habit that teaches you to power down, as it were, and helps you to reduce those distractions.
When you practice mindfulness, you disengage from whatever might be distracting you. Instead of focusing on the things fighting for your attention, you remain in the present moment. Your focus will solely be on your breathing, how your body feels, and the things you hear, smell, and can feel around you.
Even just taking a few moments away from those distractions can make it easier to get back on track. It will also make it easier to stick to boundaries. For example, if you know your phone is a problematic distraction, practicing mindfulness can make it easier to stick to your own rules about limiting your screen time.
Sometimes, your own thoughts can be distracting, especially if you’re stressed. Mindfulness comes to the rescue again. When you’re only focused on the present, you’re not worried about whatever might be contributing to your high stress levels. Taking a step back from those stressors for a few minutes can make them less severe and less distracting.
More Sleep, More Productivity
There’s a direct correlation between sleep and productivity. Why? Not getting enough sleep impacts both your physical and mental state “in a variety of negative ways”, including:
- Memory issues
- Mood swings
- Difficulty thinking/concentrating
- Poor balance
- Weakened immune system
When you’re not able to focus or concentrate, you’re not going to be as productive as you want. You might even find yourself nodding off during the day or feeling so exhausted that all you can think about is taking a nap.
So, what does mindfulness have to do with sleep?
If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, mindfulness can make a big difference. Often, the reason people can’t get to sleep or stay asleep is stress or racing thoughts. By practicing mindfulness as part of your nighttime routine, you can go to bed focused only on the present.
Plus, because mindfulness requires you to practice deep breathing, you can ease your body into a more relaxed state. Breathing deeply can even help your body produce more melatonin, a natural hormone that can improve your overall sleep quality.
Mindfulness Over Multitasking
To say we live in a busy society would be an understatement. Unfortunately, that causes many people to think they have to multitask to get things done. If you find yourself biting off more than you can chew each day, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Not only can that lead to extra distractions and stress, but it can also cause a lack of motivation. No one wants to look at a to-do list that feels like it’s a mile long. When you have too much on your plate, even thinking about it can make you want to go back to bed without tackling a single thing.
No matter how much you might have to do each day, mindfulness can help you accomplish it without feeling overwhelmed.
First, mindfulness can help you to get into a “flow” state. Once you decide to work on one thing, being mindful of that particular task will makes it easier to stay focused. You won’t be as tempted to work on other things at the same time. If you need help getting into that flow, try a few of the following tips:
- Decide what to work on first
- Define your goals
- Eliminate distractions
- Take a few deep breaths
- Start small and work your way into the bigger parts of the project
Sometimes, it might be next to impossible to strictly focus on one thing. If you’re working on a project and get an urgent email, for example, it can be necessary to respond right away. But, things like that don’t have to throw you off track. Try mindful context switching to break down manageable chunks of work and dedicate time to everything without getting distracted.
Whether you’re working at home, in an office, or want to be more present in your personal life, mindfulness can help to boost your productivity and help you get more accomplished each day. Use these suggestions to reach your goals – you might be surprised by just how much you can get done.