Mindfulness – Segment II

Tags: Leadership, Performance

Today, for the second part in our examination of mindfulness, we will look at a few easy steps in learning to master one’s mind as discussed in the book One Second Ahead by Hougaard, Carter, and Coutts.

Managing your thoughts is more important now than in any time in history. Work used to be an uncomplicated chore that took place in a set period of time. Today, work is often fluid and without the boundaries of geography or clearly defined tasks.

A few examples of workplace techniques that can help improve your cognitive discipline include:

  • Waiting a second when you are faced with a decision before you react. Use that second to decide what you want to do, if anything. You will feel like you slowed time itself, you will be one second ahead.
  • Realizing thoughts lead to choices, choices to actions, and actions to results. The mind needs to focus and minimize distraction, which is becoming increasingly difficult in modern society with the constant stimulation from the internet, emails, texts, marketing, and endless movie and television selections. Remember that multi-tasking is toxic to our productivity. Keep in mind, we can become addicted to it, due to the release of dopamine in the brain that occurs when we do two or more things at the same time. The goal is to increase focus and effectiveness, not to decrease these objectives.
  • Improving focus by training our minds is about becoming the best person we can be. Research from Singapore Management University demonstrates that nine weeks of mindfulness training elevates focus, awareness, memory, job performance, and overall job satisfaction. Other research revealed increased creativity, improved employee to employer relations, reduced absenteeism, and improved ethical decision-making following mindfulness training.
  • Neuroplasticity allows each of us to train our mind throughout our lifespan by adding new neural pathways through practice and repetition. A great way to do this is to learn a new skill (like skiing or painting) or to practice mindfulness.

The ultimate goal of mindfulness training is sharp focus and open awareness. Let’s look at two steps that can help you begin to achieve greater effectiveness:

Step 1: Focus on What You Choose. You can focus on a task while avoiding distraction until the task is done. Distractions might include talking, unrelated thoughts, street noises, the internet, or television.

Step 2: Choose Your Distractions Mindfully.  You can consciously decide for each distraction whether you will take action or not. Then you are able to sharply focus on your chosen task.

So today after reading this blog, choose one new unfamiliar task or activity and do it. You will lay down a new neural pathway by completing something new.

In the next mindfulness segment we will begin to look at more mindfulness techniques. Until then, reduce your distractions and manage your thoughts. Stop yourself when you find you are starting to multi-task. Purge your distractions with intention. Enjoy training your mind by staying a second ahead of your responses and managing thoughts leading to desired actions and results.

Check out Mindfulness – Segment I



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