While many of us value the focus, peace of mind, and resilience that mindfulness brings in daily life, it can be challenging to keep up the practice at the office. In this post, MindSpace’s corporate mindfulness program director Jill Graham shares her favorite simple strategies for integrating mindfulness into a busy work day.

 

  1. Start your day off right: Take a few minutes to focus on your breath before turning on your computer and checking your emails and calendar.
  2. Practice mindful walking:. When you walk to the washroom, printer, or boardroom, pay attention to  each step. Notice how your hips and legs are moving, how your feet feel in your shoes, and the contact between your feet and the floor.
  3. Eat lunch mindfully: If possible, once a week, try to eat your lunch in silence with no distractions. Take the time to taste and appreciate your food.
  4. Take regular breaks: Scientific research suggests that taking regular mini-breaks throughout your day actually improves productivity and creativity. Get up from your chair, have a stretch and tune in to how your body is feeling.
  5. Shut off distractions: When working on a specific task or project, give yourself a chance to focus uninterrupted by turning off your email and text notifications.
  6. Practice mindful email: When reading or writing an email,  visualize communicating with an actual person–not just your screen. Notice physical sensations or feelings such as anger or defensiveness. Reread your message before pressing send, noticing  if anything you wrote could be misinterpreted.
  7. Unitask: Multitasking is proven to be both less efficient and more stressful. Doing one thing at a time will help you focus on the task at hand, avoid errors, and prevent that stressed out, scattered feeling.
  8. Practice mindful listening: Be present when interacting with your colleagues or attending a meeting. Careful listening will enhance your u understanding of the conversation and improve your  connection with your colleagues.  
  9. Mindful habit: Take one action that you repeat throughout the day (e.g., grabbing the doorknob to open, close the door, sitting down at your desk) as a cue to stop, breathe, and return to the present moment. It only takes seconds!
  10. Wind down by letting go: At the end of a long work day, take a moment to reconnect with  breath. Acknowledge all the effort and energy you invested in your work that day and set an intention to leave work behind you until tomorrow.