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Mindfulness at Work Is About Not Interrupting Yourself

stop_interruptingHow many times a day does someone rush in and force you to stop what you’re doing and shift your activities elsewhere?

The least fortunate among us have it happen several times a day. And yet we all know the key to contentment and satisfaction at work is to be able to focus on what we need to achieve and to work steadily toward completion. Most of our colleagues and loved ones respect that. It’s the reason that fewer and fewer spontaneous telephone calls are taking place. Many of us schedule when we are available to spend even as little as 10 minutes on the phone. There is a strong human need to be in control of how we spend our time – it’s called autonomy, agency or self efficacy. Psychologist have understood for decades that it’s a major component of happiness.

But when it comes to interruptions, how many of us are actually our own worst enemies? I know that on a bad day I can flit around incessantly. For example, I might stop in the middle of writing an e-mail to check a text message, which leads me to look at Twitter and the next thing I know I’m reading a fascinating full-length feature article in something like The New Yorker Magazine. Interesting, often delightful but totally off topic. That’s because the matter at hand was the e-mail message I started writing 15 minutes earlier.

Getting in Flow with Mindful Working

Is there a simple solution? Yes, of course. But while it’s a simple solution, it’s not an easy solution. Practice full focus. Sit and simply stay in the present moment with your breathing. Recognize when your thoughts interrupt your focus on your own breathing. Accept the interruption, but turn it away. Go back to your focused breathing. Again and again. The flow state at work is what we’re aiming for, and there is nothing so fluid as a calm breathing patterms, rolling like ocean waves.

Topics: Interrupting yourself, mindfulness at work; workplace meditation