Mindful working encompasses a variety of different practices. It includes ways to practice mindfulness throughout your work day. This allows you to stay present, centered, and calm regardless of what’s going on around you. Mindful working also means that you approach your career path with intention even as you stay grounded in the moment.
Mindfulness at work has a variety of health benefits. We see those benefits when practicing mindful working. Moreover, you might think that slowing down at work would negatively impact your career. However, mindful working can actually lead to a better work life and possibly even more money in your bank account.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a really trendy term. In fact, it’s become quite controversial. Mindfulness is one form of meditation practice. There is certainly a whole art to meditation. Therefore, if you want to dig deep into mindfulness, then you may wish to take courses and learn more.
That said, the concept of mindfulness is really a very simple one. It’s the practice of staying aware of all things happening inside of you and outside of you in the present moment. It’s awareness without judgment.
In other words, you may never stop having random thoughts, but with mindfulness, you become aware of those thoughts. Over time, the thoughts hold less power. You can watch them occur without reacting.
What Is Mindfulness at Work?
Mindful working simply means taking the concept of mindfulness and apply it to your work life. There are two key aspects to this:
- Practicing mindfulness in your day-to-day work life
- Taking a mindful, intentional approach to career planning
Daily Practices in Mindful Working
If this is something that interests you, then the majority of your effort will be in the first aspect: practicing mindful awareness every day at work. Additionally, you’ll practice mindfulness when you’re outside of work but find thoughts of work intruding on your mind.
When You’re At The Office
Examples of this at work mean that you:
- Set a daily intention upon arrival to remain as present as possible throughout the day.
- Single task instead of trying (and failing) to multitask.
- Take breaks to breathe, focus on what’s around you, and clear your mind.
- Practice gratitude throughout the workday.
- Tune in to your body to check for stress and reactivity, pausing to ground yourself accordingly.
You also implement a variety of different techniques to limit distractions. You turn off all of the notifications on your devices so that they aren’t constantly pinging at you. Perhaps you have a “closed-door” time each day at the office when coworkers aren’t to interrupt you. As much as possible, you create a schedule and setting that enhances your ability to do one thing at a time with complete focus.
When You’re At Home
These days, work doesn’t take place from 9-5. Maybe you work from home. Or perhaps you work from an office, but your job calls upon you to answer emails at all hours. Mindful working means that you find a way to delineate “work time” and “rest time” even though that’s a challenge.
If you never turn off, then you’re stressing your body and mind. This isn’t healthy, and it isn’t productive. People need downtime to replenish their internal resources. Without that time, you end up running on empty. You’re not giving your best self to the job or the other things in your life.
Therefore, you find ways to be completely present at home or with friends when that’s where you are. You limit contact with work during out-of-office hours. If you work for yourself, you still create “out of office” hours when you can wind down. You practice meditative and centering exercises to train your brain that it doesn’t constantly have to think about what’s going on at work.
Planning Your Career Intentionally
Mindfulness is about staying in the present moment. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply it to planning out your career. In fact, approaching your career trajectory with mindfulness can greatly improve your job satisfaction as well as your overall quality of life.
This simply means that you actively schedule times to think about your work plans. For example, you might do a monthly review of your goals for the year and an annual review of your long-term goals. During those times, you focus intensively and intentionally on planning out your next steps.
Outside of those times, you practice just being in the moment, knowing that you’ve got a plan in place, so you don’t have to worry. People worry about their jobs constantly. They worry about what’s next, how the economy will affect their job security, whether or not they’re moving up in their work, how to get more business … This distracted mind isn’t healthy, and it isn’t productive.
Benefits of Mindful Working
Mindful working offers a vast array of benefits. More than anything else, you should see a better state of mind, which in turn leads to some terrific physical health benefits. But you may also find that working more mindfully improves your career, too, which allows you to earn more money over time.
Mental and Physical Health Benefits
Research has shown that mindfulness offers benefits that include:
- Better concentration and working memory
- Better sleep
- Faster, more effective task completion
- Fewer headaches, GI problems, and physical aches
- Increased self-awareness
- Less preoccupation with regrets or worries
- Less reactivity
- Lower blood pressure
- More capacity for joy in daily life
- Reduced conflict with others
- Reduced stress
- Symptom relief for depression and anxiety
Career and Financial Benefits
Benefits of mindful working may include:
- Better work-life balance
- Decreased likelihood of burnout
- Doing your job better because you’re more focused
- Improve co-worker relations
- More job satisfaction
- New, fresh ideas for problem-solving
- Renewed sense of appreciation for your work
- You run your job; your job doesn’t run you
Mindful working means that you’ll make choices that are right for you. This improves your relationship with your career. In turn, this can mean better career advancement, which could mean earning more money.
Moreover, it also means that you are happier with what you have. Therefore, even if you don’t technically earn more, you may be happier with your earnings. If you’re happy at work, then you’re less likely to engage in spending to “make up for” not enjoying your job.