There’s just too much to keep up with during the day (social media for example) that can steer our concentration away from work that needs to get done.  Want to increase your work productivity without trying too hard? It may sound too good to be true but it’s not…

Weekdays often start with a frantic battle in traffic, too many deadlines to mention, and then end with us crawling towards the finish line only for it to start all over again. Sometimes all we need is to simply take a deep breath and adjust our habits to get back on track. Oli Doyle, author of Mindfulness at Work (Orion), shares his top tips.

Here are some easy fixes for better work productivity

1. Start off your day with a clear mind

Take a walk before work, feel yourself breathing and look around. Notice colours and patterns – see how much detail you can take in. When you feel calm, take time to plan your day and prioritise tasks.

Having a clear mind will ensure you get the best out of yourself. This is the chance for you to declutter all those thoughts buzzing around in your head, so that you can make space for more productive mental tasks.

2. Stop multitasking

Do one thing at a time; multitasking has been proven to be inefficient. Research shows that it takes about 15 minutes for your brain to switch from one task to the next, so it’ll take you longer to focus on a new problem if you’re working on two or more tasks. Whenever possible, try to give each task your total attention and see it through to its end.

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3. Embrace stress

If stress is there, allow it to be. When you fight it, that very resistance creates worry. Take 10 seconds to step back, then focus on the task as best as you can, without fretting about the outcome.

4. Deal with conflict the right way

Conflict isn’t a problem, it’s the thoughts and feelings generated by it that’s likely to cause trouble. Allow these thoughts to be there, but don’t let them control how you handle the situation. Instead, just let them pass through you before actually addressing the conflict.

5. Incorporate daily breathing exercises

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Throughout the day, take a few seconds to focus on your breathing. Sit up straight and start to inhale and exhale slowly. Feeling the afternoon slump after lunch? Try a breathing exercise.

Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of two, and then exhale for two. Inhale again for two breaths, but this time exhale for three – continue like this, increasing your exhalations by one count each time until you get to five. Whenever the mind starts to wander, return to your breathing. This allows you to refocus.

6. Live in the present

Practise concentrating on what is happening now and leave the past and future alone. When you are at work, be there fully and keep your home life separate. At the end of the day, shift your attention to your journey home. Stay in the here and now for the evening.

Three reasons to practise mindfulness habits at work:

  •  It improves your focus. Research shows that those who meditate are likely to have better concentration.
  •  You’ll become a better listener to your colleagues, clients, or employees.
  •  By being able to manage stress, you’ll also improve your leadership skills when it comes to decision-making.

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