Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. ~ Psychology Today
When I read the definition of mindfulness from Psychology Today my initial reaction was to question if it’s possible to practice mindfulness at work? Most people multitask to the point that their attention to the present is more like an emergency room triage situation: Which fire gets put out?
However, if we can reach the point that we are only focused on one fire at a time then we can be mindful. We need to be mindful — otherwise we end up redoing our work.
The easiest way to stay mindful of our tasks is to do them in the Block and Tack method. It’s counterintuitive, but study after study shows that no one is as efficient of a multi-tasker as they think they are. We do better work if we focus on what we are doing one task at a time – therefore we are being mindful.
It’ll be rare when you can block out an hour to focus on one project. But you should be able to block out 10 or 15 minutes at a time to do tasks, answer emails, and make phone calls. Of course, your day won’t go completely as planned, but by paying attention to the moment you’re in, it will feel less chaotic thus making it easier to be happier at work.
Practicing mindfulness also means when you quit working, you really quit working. Whatever tasks didn’t get done will still be there the next day. By being mindful with your significant other, kids, friends, or even yourself during your alone time, you recharge your batteries. This ultimately allows you to be more present everywhere.
Ultimately, you’ll be happier at work and everywhere else if you’re present for all aspects of your life.