Mindfulness’ is a term that gets thrown around quite often these days, with people advising us to be mindful of our money, be mindful of others, and be mindful of our words. Yet, mindfulness is much more than just being frugal, considerate and reflective.
It is more than simply paying attention to what we say, how we act or what we spend. It is a way of adjusting our perspective so that we become more present in each moment and can live more fulfilling lives.
You may have read this blog’s title and thought, “What does mindfulness have to do with money?” And even though the answer to that question is; “More than you might think!”, it is important to note here, that productivity doesn’t only apply to your work life, it applies to any and all areas including social interaction, family, relationships, personal pursuits, health and self-discovery. Mindfulness can enhance your productivity in all areas of your life that require a little attention and effort.
So, What IS Mindfulness?
Even though mindfulness is often considered a therapeutic technique, which it is, it doesn’t necessarily mean slowing down, being still and contemplating. Even though it can involve quiet reflection, mindfulness is more about awareness. You can be mindful and actively efficient. In fact, you are more likely to be efficient when you are being mindful!
Mindfulness is a technique that involves consciously bringing your thoughts and focus into the present moment and becoming aware of what is happening, both in your internal world (your thoughts, emotions and how you are feeling on a physical and energetic level), as well as your external world (what is happening in your immediate environment, the people around your etc.). It might seem like this is a lot to be aware of at any one moment, but the truth is this; mindfulness is a skill, much like learning a new language or an instrument. The more often you practice, the more natural and effortless it becomes until before you know it you are even thinking in a different language!
So many of us live in our thoughts and daydreams, with very little awareness of what is happening in the present moment. Have you ever had one of those times when you realize you have been driving for ages, but you don’t actually remember the last 20 minutes because you were so deep in thought? It can be quite a disconcerting feeling!
The more present we are in each moment, the more aware we are of how we are feeling thinking and interacting with the world around us and the more grounded our approach is. The more grounded we are in ourselves, the less we are affected by the heavy pull of negative emotion, and the better equipped we are to deal with the stresses and strains that life presents us with.
What Is Productivity?
The definition of productivity is: “the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.” Which has a very financial feel to it. Yet being productive can simply refer to being efficient with your time and energy, on both a mental and emotional level. Which means you can be productive in your work life, as well as your social life, and even your love life!
How Do Mindfulness And Productivity Go Hand-in-hand?
Mindfulness and productivity are a match made in heaven, which is probably why so many large companies, including Google and Target, are investing in meditation and mindfulness training for their staff. Though mindfulness is a technique that really starts by first enhancing the quality of the individual’s life, this has a rippling effect that spills out into all other areas, including productivity at work.
The ideology is this: The happier, more confident and content a person is, the more effective and efficient they are at whatever they are focusing their attention on.
Implementing Mindfulness Into Your Lifestyle
The brain works like a muscle, the more often you use it, the more skilled it becomes. Mindfulness is no exception here. The more often you practice mindfulness, the more natural the thinking process becomes, until it becomes an automatic thinking process that is linked to who you are.
Even though specific mindfulness practices, such as mindfulness meditation, are excellent ways in which to learn and practice this technique, there are numerous other ways in which you can help cultivate more mindfulness into your everyday life.
Here are some tips you can use to implement more mindfulness into your life to help enhance your overall productivity:
Positive affirmations – Your mind is a powerful thing. If you wake up after a bad dream and don’t take the time to readjust your thinking before heading out into the day, then chances are you may carry some of the negativity with you. Start your day off first thing with a positive affirmation that you can repeat to yourself with conviction and meaning. For example: “Today is going to be a positive and productive day!”
Setting daily goals – Wandering aimlessly into your day may feel relaxing and enjoyable every now and then; however it is not so conducive for productivity. Take the time whilst you enjoy your morning cuppa to think about what it is you would realistically like to achieve with your day. Not just in relation to physical tasks, but also on an emotional level as well.
Prioritizing your time – When you know you have a busy day ahead of you, take the time out over breakfast to priorities your time. Write a list of what needs to be done and priorities what needs more attention, or what is more important, so that you can systematically work your way through your list in an efficient way.
Learning to be assertive – Saying ‘no’ is not always a bad thing, in fact, sometimes it is essential to your own productivity, not to mention sanity. Try not to take on more than you can realistically handle, again on a physical and emotional level, as this will just work to overwhelm you and make it less likely for you to accomplish everything you set out to. If you find yourself overwhelmed with responsibilities, reach out for some help, that is what friends, family and colleagues are for!
Seize the day – If you start your day in the early afternoon, then chances are you are not going to get all that much done. Set yourself a regular alarm to encourage you to get up nice and early so that you not only get to enjoy your mornings, but you will have more time and feel less rushed during your day!
Stimulate your mind – Exercising your brain is essential to keeping it healthy, flexible and on the ball. Find enjoyable ways in which you can mentally challenge yourself, such as playing chess, learning an instrument or developing a new skill. The healthier and more active your brain is, the easier it is to remain mindful and productive.
Priorities your health – A healthy body encourages a healthy mind, so priorities your health by enjoying a healthy balanced diet, rich in fresh, unprocessed foods, and exercise on a regular basis. Your body, brain and quality of life will thank you for it!