Have You Paused Lately?
Mindfulness is a state of active, conscious focus on the moment. Mindfulness improves our ability to have big ideas. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, work-life balance, time away (yes, use your vacation time), and a good night’s sleep all contribute to a happier, healthier, more creative workforce.
Being mindful allows you to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. In this chaotic and over scheduled world, where we are never quite focused on any one thing, but instead partially focused on everything, mindfulness forces us to truly pay attention to what we are doing in the moment – and consciously choosing when to stop.
Mindfulness is just the latest catalyst in our quest for quieter minds. Quiet rooms have been around for a long time, as has yoga in the work place. Mindfulness is just the latest means of expressing our desire to indulge ourselves in a mental-health minute. I call it taking a pause. And these pauses are necessary. As leaders, we need to give ourselves permission to pause, to give our minds and ourselves a break from the corporate cacophony of information, technology, and pressures, thus allowing ourselves time to think, create, innovate, and breathe.
Mindfulness can have a measurable impact on a company’s bottom line.
The American Institute of Stress estimates that we spend more than $300 billion a year on work-related stress: absenteeism, poor performance, employee turnover, accidents, and stress-related workers’ compensation claims. Inculcating mindfulness in your organization can help reduce stress, improving employee health, engagement, and retention.
Mindfulness improves productivity and innovation.
Simply sitting still and doing nothing can improve productivity. Mindfulness has a measurable impact on how our brains function, allowing us more focus and clarity, which in turn leads to increased productivity, fewer mistakes, and more personal satisfaction. When employees are not frantic and stressed, when they feel empowered and valued, and when they are given quiet moments to be in touch with their own thoughts, brilliance is able to manifest. Sharon Salzberg, author and mediation teacher, tells us that “[m]indfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
Like anything new that we attempt to introduce into our lifestyles, we must endeavor to make the new practice a routine. It must become a habit. You can:
- Schedule specific times during the day in which employees can take time to pause and take a break from the chaos.
- Empower them, as your empower yourself, to pause when it’s necessary.
- Realize an increase in productivity while at the same time realizing a decrease in work-related stress. That’s the bottom line.
I use the pause often for myself, with my coaching clients, and when working with leaders. Almost without fail, they come back to me with the same comment: “Who knew?!!” Whether using it to take a minute before reacting to a comment, or responding to an email, or taking the bigger pause and really escaping for a break, taking a pause simply works.
As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.