Top 5 - Mindfulness for Managers

Top5 – Mindfulness for Managers

March 14, 2016

Mindfulness helps you redirect your attention when it goes off into the future or the past and just being present now.  A lot has been written about mindfulness and it may be confusing to some, yet it is really quite simple. It is simply focusing our attention in the present moment and having an open and receptive attitude.

We can only truly experience and appreciate life in the present moment, even though we can enjoy happy memories and look forward to future events, we are enjoying them in the now.

Mindfulness also helps you take short pauses throughout your day to practise noticing when your attention is drifting, as it will, and bring it back to where you are now.

Many people think they have to sit on a cushion, chant, use mantras and incense but it is nothing like that and only takes a few minutes each day. The benefits will build up over time and you will become more alert, more relaxed and happier and a better manager.

Here are five easy ways to be a more mindful manager:

1. Choose to start your day rather than letting the day start you. Ask yourself what your first thought is when you wake up, often it isn’t a very constructive thought; e.g. “I don’t want to get up”, “I don’t want to go to work”, “I’m dreading that meeting with the boss” and then we let that colour our day.

Instead, take a few deep breaths and choose a more positive, purposeful way to start the day and notice what happens. It could be as simple as; “I’m going to have a good day today” or “I’m going to give the meeting with the boss my best shot”.

2. Take time for silence. Use some days to travel to work without the phone or the radio, as they are more ‘noise’ that take us away from the present moment. Instead, focus on your five senses and your breathing and see how long you can keep your mind still. At first, it won’t be for very long and you’ll be itching to get your hands on that phone or tablet or flick the radio on.

With time and practise, you will be able to do it for longer. Just notice how you feel. Initially, you may feel lost and restless, even agitated and frustrated and that’s normal because you are not used to being present. Eventually, you will start to notice subtle things in your environment that you weren’t aware of before; new sights, sounds, smells, physical sensations and possibly even tastes. When you do this, you are being mindful and present.

3. Take pleasure in your work when you can. Few of us love absolutely everything we do but there are tasks that we enjoy and are good at and it is these that we need to pay attention to as we are doing them. If we rush through them, we lose an opportunity for some present moment happiness.

Take your time and savour the activity, noticing how you feel in your body and your emotional state. Slow down your movements and thoughts as you perform this activity. This can set you up for completing the tasks that you don’t enjoy so much and make them easier to complete.

4. Be fully present in your interaction with others. We may think that we are truly listening to other people at work but more often we are worrying about what we need to get done, pre-empting what we think the person is going to say or formulating a response before they have even finished speaking. This isn’t being in the present; we are somewhere else.

Pay full attention to the other person, still your mind and put your whole focus on them without judgment and notice what happens. You could well find that the whole nature of your interactions and even your relationships change for the better.

5. End your day in a mindful way too, just as you began it. If the mind is elsewhere, focus on your breathing and congratulate yourself for your mindfulness. Importantly, set the intention to leave your work behind you for the day. It’s finished. Carry your mindful attitude home with you so that you can truly enjoy your recreational activities and precious time with friends and family.

You can choose to stop and pause and be mindful at any time during the day; in between tasks, meetings, lunch or tea breaks or just because you feel like it. All you need to do is focus on your breathing and pay attention to what is coming in through your five senses, and it only takes a few minutes. And it has been proved that this is a stress insulator and creates more happiness at work and in our lives, so why not give it a go?!

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