Practicing Mindfulness Throughout Your Work Day
Some useful suggestions from Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter:
“People spend about half of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. In other words, many of us operate on autopilot. Add to this that we have entered what many people are calling the ‘attention economy.’
“In the attention economy, the ability to maintain focus and concentration is every bit as important as technical or management skills. And because leaders need to absorb and synthesize a growing flood of information to make good decisions, they’re hit particularly hard by this emerging trend.
“…First, start off your day right. Researchers have found that we release the most stress hormones within minutes after waking. Why? Because thinking of the day ahead triggers our fight-or-flight instinct and releases cortisol into our blood. Instead, try this: When you wake up, spend two minutes in your bed simply noticing your breath. As thoughts about the day pop into your mind, let them go and return to your breath.
“…E-mails and texts have a way of seducing our attention and redirecting it to lower-priority tasks because completing small, quickly accomplished tasks releases dopamine, a pleasurable hormone, in our brains. This release makes us addicted to e-mail and texting, and compromises our concentration…
“…To get a better start to your day, avoid checking your e-mail first thing in the morning. Doing so will help you sidestep an onslaught of distractions and short-term problems during a period of exceptional focus and creativity.
“… as the day comes to an end and you start your commute home, apply Mindfulness. For at least 10 minutes of the commute, turn off your phone, shut off the radio, and simply be. Let go of any thoughts that arise. Pay attention to your breath. Doing so will allow you to let go of the stresses of the day so you can return home and be fully present with your family.”