It’s so easy to start our day on our computer, checking email and diving into the day’s work. Because of this, the power (and importance) of living in the moment is often overlooked — and it shouldn’t be. While mindfulness can be important to our mental health and personal lives, it is also vital for the well-being of our business.
I’ll tell you something personal: in my life, I have found that I am the most productive when I nurture my mind, body, and spirit. This includes being physically active, eating nutritiously, and practicing mindfulness. Most of us are familiar with what it means to be physically active and eat a nutritious diet, but mindfulness is not as clear-cut despite its importance. Let’s take a minute to understand what mindfulness is and how it can impact our lives and businesses.
There are many interpretations of and ways to practice mindfulness, but I think I’ll borrow a simple but effective sentence from globally celebrated meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn. He says, “There are a lot of different ways to talk about mindfulness, but what it really means is awareness — it means being present now.”
What Mindfulness Improves
Mindfulness is not a new concept, but its positive impact is becoming extremely evident. Case studies conducted by numerous institutes, including Harvard University, have found that practicing mindfulness actually improves all of the following:
What Keeps Us from Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a slippery state, but there is one major culprit most impacting our ability to be present: technology. It is rare that we are actually present where we are and Kabat-Zinn suggests that technology is the main reason for this. Take a moment to consider the following statistics:
- The average American checks their smartphone close to 150 times per day
- 50% of Americans sleep with their smartphones right next to them
- 84% of Americans say they cannot go an entire day without their smartphones
I am not denying these stats: for better or worse, I check my phone constantly throughout the day! This means it takes a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time. While it is necessary to be accessible in today’s business world, it is also vital to time to disconnect and focus on the here and now.
So then Why Does Mindfulness Matter to My Business?
Ironically, the companies that create technology that distracts us actually incorporate mindfulness into their corporate cultures. Facebook, Apple, and Google have all found creative ways to make mindfulness a priority; Google, for example, actually has a Head of Mindfulness whose job description is to enlighten minds, open hearts, and create world peace! Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s retired Head of Mindfulness whose title was the company’s “Jolly Good Fellow,” shared his thoughts on his role:
“If you are a company leader who says employees should be encouraged to exercise, nobody looks at you funny,” Tan says. “The same thing is happening to meditation and mindfulness, because now that it’s become scientific, it has been demystified. It’s going to be seen as fitness for the mind.”
Google frequently starts meetings with several minutes of silence. This gives employees a chance to rid their minds of distractions and focus on the meeting at hand. Employees have noticed that these meetings are typically more productive. Do you think that taking a few minutes to clear your mind before an important meeting would be beneficial? It is certainly worth a try.
Mindfulness is beneficial because it prevents burnout, improves corporate culture by making it more attractive, and shows employees you care about their well-being.
How Do I Apply Mindfulness?
How can you improve your productivity, creativity, and concentration through mindfulness? Let’s first visit one more bit of advice from Kabat-Zinn’s advice: “Mindfulness is not something that you should start doing — if that is what you are thinking, you are missing the point. Mindfulness is not about doing; it is about being. It is a state of mind.”
This can manifest in a few ways. For one, practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, break from your computer and cast your gaze off 20 feet in the distance and hold it for 20 seconds. This helps you take a breather, separate yourself from your work, and let your mind open to new ideas.
You can also schedule 10-minute blocks between meetings: if you have meetings at 10 AM, 11 AM, noon, and so on, you don’t have time to breathe in between. Offset your meetings so you can take deep breaths and close your eyes to ground yourself.
These are little steps you can take that are much easier than, say, yoga or hardcore meditation — though those two techniques work as well!
Take time for yourself and your employees, and see how your business improves and your mindset clears.
ondemandCMO creates blogs, provides strategic counseling, and works for companies of all industries to sharpen their marketing outlook and customize plans for cultural improvement. Get in touch to see how we can be of service today!