Productivity is something that every company, every business owner, and almost every person I know is striving for. When we are more productive, we accomplish more. Productivity isn’t always an easy thing to achieve though. We are bombarded with distractions from a variety of places - screens, coworkers, children, delivery people, the need to rummage for food. Enter: Mindfulness. Mindfulness is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot but doesn’t seem to have a definitive how-to attached to it. Let’s find ways to be more productive by utilizing mindfulness tools.
What is mindfulness?
The art of being aware, in that moment, of one thing that you are doing. No multi-tasking allowed (gasp!). If you are washing dishes, notice how the water feels on your skin, the smell of the soap, the sound of the plates. Be there with the dishes. If you are working on a project, be with the project. If possible, put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb,’ and close down any social media tabs (unless that’s your job), and focus on the task at hand. Embrace it. You might notice your brain resisting, telling you to go get a snack or scroll for just a few minutes. Mindfulness is the art of being mindful, being aware, moving through each day, each task, with intention and purpose.
You can probably see where this is going. It’s simple, but it’s not always easy.
Mindfulness Boosts Productivity
You stop multi-tasking (wait, what?)
Some people say they are master multi-taskers. But it’s kind of impossible to actually, truly multi-task. Sure, I can answer the phone, skim an email, and take a drink at the same time. But how well am I really listening on that phone call? How many times am I going to have to read that email? Did I enjoy the taste of my beverage? Productivity and mindfulness go hand-in-hand. It’s difficult to be productive if you are scattering your time all over the place. It’s easier to be productive when you set aside time to complete one task. And then another. Each in their own dedicated spaces.
You produce better quality work.
When you focus on one task with intention, you complete it well. You are invested. You are present. Imagine how much more you can give in a conversation when you are fully present. This is even more critical when face to face with someone. Being mindful about how you work, when you work, how long you work, and what you work on means that you are moving through the work with intention. You are completing each task fully, individually, before moving on to the next project.
You tap into your intuition which is critical for success.
Mindfulness also boosts productivity by alerting you when you need to take a break. Being aware applies to yourself, your body, and your mind as well. When you are present and intentional, you notice when something feels good or bad. If someone asks you to take on an extra task that you don’t have time for, your reaction might be to say yes. But if you are being mindful, you’ll absorb the question, process it, and then check in with yourself about whether you truly want to and can take on that extra work. Tapping into your intuition and what you truly want also allows you to slow down when you need to slow down. Burnout is not conducive to productivity.
You choose what really matters.
There’s a book called “The One Thing.” It talks about choosing one thing each day that will move you closer to your goal. You could have a to-do list a thousand miles long every day, and none of those tasks could get you any closer to your goals. When you are mindful about how you are spending your time, you are better able to prioritize what really matters, personally and professionally.
You can still be productive without mindfulness, but it will be similar to a fish swimming upstream. Sure, they eventually get there, but can you imagine how exhausted they are? Taking just a moment before every task that you do, whether that is giving a presentation or making yourself a sandwich, and checking in with yourself, being aware of the present moment and the task at hand with all of your senses, will allow you to be productive in a more efficient and effortless way.