Back in January, we discussed how you could be mindful at work by practicing deep breathing, meditation, avoiding multitasking, taking a break and being present.
As I was contemplating what I should write about this week I considered some other topics but mindfulness was at the forefront of my mind.
I’ve been thinking about mindfulness all day every day since I enrolled into UCLA’s 6-week online mindfulness course.
Now, I’m intentionally being mindful about every single moment of my existence and the existence of all things.
I spent Saturday night mourning the sacrifice made by the oakwood logs that burned in the fire pit in front of me as I gathered with family. I became quite emotional as I watched the wood burning.
It had once been a seed that was planted, then sprouted, grew, gained strength, provided shelter, and oxygen; and yet there it was dying to keep me warm.
What I learned in that moment was that practicing mindfulness doesn’t always require a scheduled meditation.There isn’t a right or wrong time to practice mindfulness. I didn’t know I was going to be entranced by the oakwood burning and connect with it that way. Sometimes mindfulness happens when you least expect it, in the small and seemingly insignificant moments of your day.
This got me thinking about those little moments throughout the workday that I should be mindful of but I’m really not. Like that moment right before I get out of my car in the parking lot or that first interaction with my co-workers in the morning. These parts of the day matter just as much as when I’m intentionally trying to be mindful of my words when I’m frustrated or of my food when I’m eating.
Let’s explore 5 Opportunities You Can Use To Practice Mindfulness At Work:
1. Getting Out Of Your Car
You’ve just pulled up to work and you’re getting ready to open your car door but before you do, I want you to just sit still. Take a second to gather your thoughts, breathe in deep, exhale, close your eyes and tell yourself that, “Today is a great day. I am energized. I am happy. I am confident. I will “fill in your goal for the day”. Set the intentions that you want and will have. As someone once told me during a staff training, “Remember to check yourself at the door and leave any problems right there. Don’t bring them to work with you”.
2. Grabbing Your Morning Joe
If you gather around the watering hole to grab your morning cup of coffee try not to be a zombie. Greet your co-workers with a smile, have a quick chat and get the good vibes flowing throughout the office. Look at your co-workers in the eye and engage – don’t just float passed them like a ghost, regardless of whether you’ve had your first cup or not. Make an effort to be present in that moment.
3. Turning on Your Computer
There’s a minute or two that goes by when you’re putting your personal belongings away and waiting at your desk for your computer to start up. Use those few minutes to check in with those intentions you made in your car. Be mindful of how you’re going to spend your morning being productive. Don’t use that time to stare into your cell phone – you already did that for about 30 minutes before you rolled out of bed, as you were eating breakfast, walking out the door, etc. Bonus Points: Turn your cell phone on airplane mode for the first hour of work for a week. Keep tabs of your productivity and see if its’ improved.
4. Sitting in Your Chair
Pull out your chair, stand in front of it, squat down and sit into it mindfully. Sit closer to the tip of the seat. Pull your shoulders back, lift your chest up, build strength in your abdomen and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Be aware of your posture and if you find yourself slouching throughout the day sit right back up. It’s like meditation; you need to train your body to sit properly and mindfully in a chair.
5. Interacting With Clients
Be mindful of your tone, words, demeanor and overall interactions with clients and co-workers. Be mindful to listen and answer the questions at hand. Be mindful to give engage and to be productive in your interactions. Not only are you being mindful in order to represent yourself in the best light possible but you’re also representing your employer.