Mindfulness is a simple concept that nevertheless could mean many different things to many different people. Some might feel that it is a way of life unto itself, others might feel that mindfulness merely requires being attentive to one’s own thoughts and surroundings. A simpler interpretation would be that mindfulness entails a shift from being burdened by our thoughts to being aware of our thoughts. Regardless of what your personal definition of mindfulness may be, there are nevertheless notable benefits to be enjoyed through the practice of mindful techniques, particularly in terms of boosting productivity.
The American insurance conglomerate Aetna recently conducted a study which found that employees who were offered mindfulness training experienced an estimated 60 extra minutes of productivity per week, which was found to be worth roughly $3000 per year per employee. Furthermore, this extra hour of work was found to be of a higher quality. Mindfulness helps us produce better work due to increased focus and orientation of attention, which prevents distraction and allows a task to be completed quickly, creatively, and efficiently.
Another positive aspect of mindfulness training has to do with health. It goes without saying that employees will be more productive if they aren’t sick or exhausted, and wellness is a very important factor to consider within the workplace. Research has shown that mindful exercises can boost immune functions with as little as 8 weeks of continued practice. These exercises can help us cope better with stressful situations, which is good considering that stress is a major contributor to illness and burn out.
Finally, mindfulness increases productivity by helping us draw a clearly defined line between what is important and what isn’t. We are freed from bias and conditioning, able to see through the unimportant details to the crux of the task at hand. Mindfulness is certainly a good tool to increase productivity, but it should not solely be viewed in this light. Rather, it should be recognized as a way of training our minds, balancing our emotions, and truly becoming the master within.