10 Ways to be Mindful in Career
How often do you find yourself rushing through your day, full of stress and feeling overwhelmed by everything in your job? Careers can be incredibly stressful, and sometimes it can be hard to remember to take the time to check in with yourself and make sure you’re actually happy and content.
A great way to slow down your day and ease your stress is by practicing mindfulness. It may seem difficult, if not impossible, to take the time to be mindful when you have emails to answer, meetings to attend, and projects to complete. But mindfulness will actually help you do better work, in addition to clearing your mind and keeping you present and happy.
Studies show the act of mindfulness, which is about bringing your attention to the present moment through meditation, breathing, and other techniques actually relieve stress, improves focus, bolsters creativity, and even makes you a kinder person. In fact, those who practiced mindfulness were 50% more likely to show compassion to others than those who didn’t. Clarity and calmness are at the helm of mindfulness, and can vastly improve your work and life experience.
Here are ten great ways to bring the practice of mindfulness into your career, so you can be more productive, centered, and at peace.
1. Focus on your breathing.
You don’t necessarily have to go find a corner in your office to meditate in (although that’s actually not a bad idea) in order to practice mindfulness. All it takes is a little bit of focus on your breathing. You’re constantly breathing, but how often do you actually pay attention to your breath? Take a few moments to take slow, deep breaths, and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Chances are, you’ll feel more relaxed, calm, and rejuvenated. It can actually slow your heart rate, calming any anxiety… Which makes it a great practice for before meetings or presentations.
2. Become a more active listener.
How many times have you been in a conversation where you realize you didn’t hear what the other person said? Or you heard them, but some of the content just flew right over your head? Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment, and there are few better times to employ the practice than when trying to listen to someone else. It’s easy to get distracted, but make an effort to practice active listening. Not only will it make the other party in the conversation feel respected and heard, but it will also make you more empathetic, an incredibly valued trait in business. Try asking clarifying questions to really get deep into the conversation, rather than spacing out about emails you have to return.
3. Tune in to your emotions.
You may not even realize how overwhelmed or anxious you are about your work day until you get home, at which point the rest of your day is spent upset about something that happened earlier in the office. This is no way to spend your evenings after a long, hard day at work! Try tapping into your emotions as soon as possible, so you can understand how you’re feeling at any given moment and address those emotions promptly.
4. Start your morning off right.
It might sound silly, but making your bed every morning might just be the key to more success and happiness in your career. Starting your day by accomplishing something, even if it’s little, sets a positive tone for the rest of your day. Making your bed in the morning is your first step toward a day filled with success… And it’s a nice thing to come home to, as well!
5. Set boundaries.
How many times do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to every request, invitation, or question, even if you don’t have the time or the interest? The best thing you can do for your career success and fulfillment is to set boundaries, and start saying no when something doesn’t align, or you just don’t have the time. And, studies show saying no actually improves your productivity!
6. Be present.
Think about how many times you’ve driven to a destination just to realize you have no idea how you got there, or how often you find your mind wandering when you’re supposed to be focused on work. Being present is a way to keep your mind on the task at hand, which will keep you focused and engaged. Try giving your full attention to tasks you may usually not focus on, such as eating lunch or taking a walk.
7. Stop multitasking.
If you’re like most people, you probably shoot off emails while talking to coworkers, or plan your schedule in your head while grabbing coffee with a friend. Unfortunately, we are not as good at multitasking as we think. Try breaking your multitasking habit. Your quality of work will improve and you’ll actually be more productive.
8. Get more sleep.
Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves memory function, mood, motivation, and judgment. If that doesn’t sound like the recipe for a productive and successful workday, I don’t know what does! It can be hard to focus on your sleep, especially if your head is crammed with swirling anxieties and stresses about your work. A few ways to get more (and better) sleep are to exercise, avoid caffeine and sugar late in the day, and try not to nap after midday. And for reference, the recommended amount of sleep for adults aged 18–64 is 7–9 hours.
9. Cultivate a growth mindset.
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I can’t do this, I’m not good at it,” or “I’ll never be skilled at this?” If so, you’re operating on a fixed mindset. We want to change that to a growth mindset, one that allows you to embrace change and improvement over the belief that you’re stuck in your current state and skillset. A growth mindset is a huge part of mindfulness, as it allows you to focus on the present without judging your talents or intelligence, and keeps you open to improvement and possibilities.
10. Slow down.
You probably find yourself rushing through your days and your calendar as quickly as possible. It’s understandable — You have a lot to accomplish. However, take the time to slow down your speed and really be present with and focused on the given task at hand. Slowing down actually will improve your productivity and success by allowing you to take the time to make better decisions and focus on your work.
It can be hard to take the time out of your day to really practice mindfulness. I hope that these ten tips show you that mindfulness doesn’t mean taking hours on end to meditate or reflect on yourself. It can be as simple as doing a one-minute breathing exercise or getting more sleep. If you shift your focus to the present, you’ll find yourself swimming in productivity and success rather than stress and anxiety. Which of these ten tips do you like the most? Will you try any, if not all, of them?