Episode #5  – Mindfulness @Work

What is it and how can it benefit you?

Lori Asburry leads us through a discussion on what Mindfulness in the Workplace is and how it can benefit you and your business.  Check out our Mindfulness Playbook here.

by Lori Asburry

In Episode 5, we focused on mindfulness, a topic that’s become mainstream in recent years, indicating what we see as a thirst on both the individual and organizational levels.

Individually, we’ve experienced the power of mindfulness, and the benefits, of greater ability to focus and a letting go of anxieties and fears.

We listen to guided meditations on YouTube for any occasion, including those that boost energy, clear the mind, take a power nap, calm anxiety, drive to work, boost productivity and creativity, navigate a stressful workday. Some of our favorite channels: Sleep Ezy Tonight, Jason Stephenson, The Honest Guys.

We use apps, not consistently, but when we remember that it helps us with our practice. A couple of our favorite apps are HeadspaceInsight Timer, and Calm.

  • Check out this Forbes article highlighting how the company Headspace made mindfulness a $250 million business.
  • To sample other apps, check out this Huffington Post review of what they consider the best meditation apps.

Episode 5 spoiler alert: Maryam has moved away from her using her Apple Watch because of its continued insistence that she breathe. She remains a believer, however, and shares a fascination with Lori Williams about the quantifiable benefits, the hard data. Forbes recently did an article on 6 scientifically proven benefits, around reducing anxiety, reducing implicit age and race bias, preventing and treating depression, increasing body satisfaction, improving cognition, and reducing distractions.

We believe in the value of living an integrated life, and the ripple effects in the business world of having individuals that are good role models of applying these approaches and practices throughout the workday.

Our suggested mindfulness techniques, practices, and exercises that we employ throughout the day:

  1. Just pause, do a check in with self. Stop yourself from being on auto-pilot all day, going from meeting to meeting. The simple act of taking a few deep breaths before connecting to the next video conference, before entering the conference room for that in-person meeting will help you arrive at the present moment. 
  2. Host a meeting without electronics. Recognize that we cannot effectively multi-task, and ask your attendees to experiment with you in a space where phones and laptops are set aside. See if this changes the dynamics and whether attendees feel they are connecting in a different (more productive?) way. 
  3. In conversations with colleagues, practice mindful listening, good eye contact, single tracked focus, ask open and honest questions, questions to which you don’t know the answer. Listen without judgment, without preparing your argument for the other side.  
  4. Create mindful workspaces with lighting, music, scents, and consider whether a messy or tidy workspace fuels your creativity and productivity.
  5. Create gratitude lists, even about those projects or work situations that are particularly challenging
  6. Take a break from glossing over your environment and engage in mindful observation. Focus intently on an object that you see before you and notice every aspect of it.
  7. Play awareness games to create joy, go within, and experiment with mindfulness concepts with playfulness. Consider using one as an icebreaker in a team meeting.

How far you go with your mindfulness practices in the workplace (keeping them to yourself or exposing them to the rest of the organization) will depend on where you are on your own journey and what the culture of your organization is, how receptive it might be. There are a number of corporate mindfulness resources we find intriguing:

  • eMindful, providing mindfulness programs to individuals and employers
  • Institute for Mindful Leadership, a non-profit organization dedicated to training and supporting leaders in the exploration of mindfulness and the fundamentals of leadership excellence. Founded by Janice Marturano, formerly with General Mills.
  • Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, teaching leaders tools for focus, self-awareness and resilience. Born at Google and established as an independent nonprofit organization in 2012.

We read. A lot. And we can always offer up book suggestions on most any topic, including this one:

We’re still practicing, experimenting with what works for us, forgetting, rediscovering, learning from each other and those around us. We’d love to hear about your experiences, your thoughts on this topic, and what works for you! Join in the conversation with your comments here or on twitter @realtechrl.