You stare at the blank screen on your computer. Time is ticking by at an alarming pace and you haven’t got nearly enough done. You’ve barely started. It’s hard to switch on and get rolling with your work. No matter how hard you try, you feel distracted and distant.
We all experience dips in productivity now and then. When you’re finding it hard to focus, it can be a major obstacle. What’s more, the more frustrated you get, the harder it is to get working. You might say it’s a vicious cycle. So, how do you stop it?
The simple answer is by learning to unwind and relax. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re finding things hard. Within this guide, we will take a look at how you can use mindfulness techniques to become more productive (and less stressed!).
What is Mindfulness?
First things first, let’s talk about what mindfulness is and why it matters. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years, you will have heard of this term. It’s more than a mere buzzword. There’s a wealth of evidence to suggest that incorporating mindfulness into your everyday life could make a major difference to your productivity.
Put simply, mindfulness is the process of detaching from external stimulants and unwinding. Many people find that meditation helps them to do this. However, everyone is different and there are many ways you can get started. Whether you’re studying or in a job, learning this art could be a real game-changer and help you optimise your work.
Productivity-Based Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
Looking to boost your productivity levels? You might think that taking some time out is counterproductive to your routine. Despite this commonly-held notion, there have been studies to suggest that taking a break regularly can be beneficial to you. Let’s take a look at some of the science-backed benefits of practicing mindfulness on a daily basis.
1. Improve your mental wellbeing
Improving your mental wellbeing is a sure-fire way to make yourself more productive. When you’re under pressure, burned out or feeling low, that will impact how you work. Think about it. If you’re grappling with problems, it’s hard to focus on the project at hand.
Fortunately, mindfulness could be the answer. An enlightening 2019 study from the University of Bristol suggests that students who engage in this practice tend to have better mental health. During the research, students used mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for eight weeks. The results found that participants’ mental health improved after that period and that they were also able to manage their workloads better.
2. Boost your attention levels
Focus is everything when it comes to productivity. If you’re struggling to keep your attention on your work, you’re going to find it hard to get things done. Believe it or not, including mindfulness practices in your routine could help boost your focus, according to a review from Case Western Reserve University. The experts concluded that the practice could help you improve your attention, cognition, emotions, behaviour and physiology.
3. Reduce your stress levels
Feeling stressed out? When you’re trying to study or work on a multitude of projects, it can be hard to keep calm and carry on. For that reason, managing your stress levels is vital. Research from the University of California suggests that using mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques can be a huge help in this area. According to the results of the study, not only does this approach decrease stress but it also boosts people’s productivity.
How to Start Practicing Mindfulness Today
Not sure where to start? There are plenty of ways that you can begin being more mindful in your everyday life. While some people find that classes, such as yoga, help them, others are more comfortable with solo approaches. For example, some people find walking in nature allows them to detach from their stress. You do you. If you’re looking for some simple tricks to get started, here are a few options that you can give a whirl.
1. Use mindfulness-based apps
Completely new to this practice? Don’t panic! One of the easiest ways to get started with mindfulness is to use apps. You can get free versions of both Headspace and the Calm app, and get moving right away. These will help you learn how to meditate in your free time, equip you with techniques that allow you to switch off and give extra advice.
2. Try taking an online course
Stressed, depressed or anxious? Taking a mindfulness-based course may help you change your perspective and improve your mental well-being. Luckily enough, the NHS has a Be Mindful course that you can take online. It’s free to take the introduction to the course, which means that you can quickly decide whether it’s right for you. After that, if you choose to continue with it, you can unlock the rest of the course for £30. Simple.
3. Start keeping a mood journal
Do you notice when you’re happy or sad? Are you consciously aware of your emotions and mood changes? If the answer is no, one of the most effective ways to start practicing mindfulness may be to keep a mood journal. Start by simply getting a blank notebook. Each day, write a short and sweet entry about how you’re feeling. You may even want to mark your mood out of ten. This approach helps you keep track of your moods easily.
Ready to give mindfulness a go and boost your productivity? As we’ve covered, using these techniques could have a major impact on your ability to get things done. Why not start with something small today and see what benefits you begin to reap? You may be surprised to see the difference that this lifestyle change makes to your everyday life.