Enhancing your productivity through mindfulness is very possible but far from easy, I must add; but it requires commitment; everyday practice; it also means you must pay attention to every thought; observe objectively with every sense and do not attempt to change or manipulate the process or anything.
We’ve heard or read of the many benefits of meditation; ordinarily when you meditate, you free your mind of everything, hence it is an activity and it isn’t necessarily tied to the awareness of a thing; mindfulness of the other hand, requires that you become aware of a thing or something. Therefore, ensuring you become aware of what is going on in and around you in that moment.
Paying attention to every thought as they pass through your mind can be beneficial and can also be detrimental to your sanity; and can also affect your concentration. We all have that very soft, sensitive part of us which most of us have not yet come in contact with.
Practicing mindfulness gives you access to every thought, some of which you wouldn’t have paid attention to. It makes you highly sensitive to your environment; you become aware of the things you normally will overlook. In the beginning you may feel overwhelmed by what you become aware of…this happened to me, I became overly sensitive to my environment and at one point I felt pushed to a corner.
How does mindfulness enhance productivity?
The lack of concentration I experienced due to the practice of mindfulness was due to the flow of random thoughts; things like how someone talks to me became relevant; these thoughts are random at best and are only capable of crippling your ability to concentrate. Pondering on random thoughts will give your brain the go ahead to begin to form a mental picture of what could be. And sometimes, these mental images are so vivid they become your reality.
When mindfulness is practiced properly, you find it is a powerful activity that will help you become aware of your wandering mind helping you to be mindful of what is happening. This ensures that your thoughts are not random but systematic; understanding your wandering mind gives you the leverage to focus on the moment.
In my mindfulness journey, I found out that focusing on the moment especially at work makes you think less about things that don’t matter or that doesn’t concern the task at hand; putting your mind on the heavy traffic back home or what you will eat when you get home; or wondering how you will achieve other tasks will only make you lose concentration; thus, making you lose focus on the task at hand. Instead, pay attention to what you are seeing, thinking or feeling right now; focus on the task at hand; with mindfulness, there is no right or wrong way to feel or think. Therefore, your creativity in achieving a task is not limited.
Tips on how to enhance your productivity through mindfulness
1. Make a daily to do list
Creating a to do list ahead of the new week is a perfect way to ensure your week is productive; However, it doesn’t just stop at making a weekly to do list or following through with your tasks for the week. You may find it difficult to complete the task you have assigned for the week, especially when unplanned activities that are urgent interfere with your to do list. Therefore, the only way to achieve the task you have outlined is to move them to the coming week; what I have observed is that, the continuous changing of your to do list dampens your morale.
Here is what I have learnt;
First create your to do list for Monday to Friday, then assign tasks to each day ensuring that you prioritize your task for each day. This will help you to focus one task at a time.
If you have a task that you can’t finish in a day, break the task into segments and assign each segment to days of the week. And if you are given an assignment within your task, that assignment becomes higher in your priority list. Fix the new and urgent task in your to do list in the space created for urgent tasks; and remember to break the task into bits; especially when you can’t achieve all in a day.
One very important secret to achieving enhanced productivity is to time every task in your to do list. What I have learnt in Terraskills is that when creating my to do list, I make provisions for urgent assignments. So instead of stock pilling my to do list with activities (i.e being unrealistic with your goals), I time every task, thus, allowing me to create time for urgent task daily.
2. Focus on one task at a time
Many people still believe multitasking is possible and list it on their CVs as their strength; but in my experience and what studies have pointed out, multitasking is a farce; you are not multitasking, you are task switching. You can only switch from one task to the other; this is however, detrimental to your overall productivity because it is time consuming. To become highly productive, you must focus on one task at a time.
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