It’s midday Monday. Your coffee buzz is either just kicking in or it’s already wearing off. Your inbox is filling up faster than you can say, “Is it the weekend yet?” The to-do list you had been so intent on plowing through is now your last priority after unexpected “emergencies” have come across your desk. Never mind Friday’s deadline—you won’t be able to think about that until at least Wednesday. You’re starving, but there’s no time to figure out a healthy snack, so you’ll just run to the vending machine and buy a processed granola bar or pretzels (expiration date 2017, that’s frightening) for $1. If you have time to stop for lunch, you’ll scarf it down at your desk and you won’t really remember eating it.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Whether or not you are one of the 70% of workers who sits in an open office, distractions in the office abound, obliterating efficiency and increasing stress levels. They might be work-related or not, but either way, these interruptions can make accomplishing a simple task in a short amount of time impossible. Between smartphone alerts and the compulsion to respond to emails that require only a short response, it can be easy to feel like you aren’t getting anything done.
It is no wonder that today’s professionals turn to mindfulness meditation programs to help them remedy the evils of distraction and confront the fallacy of multitasking. Mindfulness practice involves focusing on the present moment through deep breathing and non-judgmental self-awareness. This week, the Huffington Post and the Institute for Mindful Leadership have launched the Mindful at Work Challenge. Each day this week, the Challenge will provide a short (10-20 minute) program that teaches participants mindfulness techniques. Today’s program includes a 10-minute guided meditation, suggestions for minimizing distractions at work (turning off notifications on your phone and computer), and a “purposeful pause” tutorial that can bring your attention back to the present moment. You can see today’s full training and sign up to receive the rest of the week’s training programs here.
There are many other resources out there for the novice mindfulness-seeker. The Get Some Headspace app sends a free introduction to guided meditation directly to your phone and requires just 10-15 minutes of your time for 10 days. There are also meditation podcasts, such as Meditation Oasis, that provide longer meditations tailored for specific goals such as deep rest and patience. Zencast offers weekly talks broadcast from the Insight Meditation Center addressing Buddhist principles and meditation practice. Their website offers useful resources for the busy professional such as meditation timers and short guided meditations to take you through a quick break from work or studying.
When was the last time you took a full, deep breath? I thought so. Try it—I promise it won’t hurt!
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