7 Small Steps Towards Mindful Productivity

Written by Holly Duckworth on October 11, 2018

Productivity is using your pro-activity to focus and attain your goals. Start out with a clear set of intentions and then align your thoughts, beliefs and actions to become productive. How do we integrate personal and professional productivity?

Begin with personal self-care. As the mindful leadership guide, my work is helping people understand that they have one life. Once you realize that, you discover that everything is everything. However you are at work is how you are at home and vice versa. There is no separation. What are you choosing?

Try these small tips and tricks to help you grow your mindful productivity:

Center and be present

You can not be productive when your energy is spinning. Every morning when you get to your desk, before diving into emails take a moment to breathe in, breathe out and center. Arrive fully where you are. This applies to when you arrive home after work too. Being present where you are can allow you to be a little bit more productive.

Check you mindset

Where is your mind set? Is it mindless or mindful? Are you asleep at the wheel or awake and paying attention to the moment? I’ve worked with thousands of association leaders and often their mindset comes from a lack point of view - not enough time, not enough money, not enough resources. It is done unto us as we believe. If we believe we’re only going to find challenges, we’re never going to be productive, we will find only challenges.

Face to face matters or pick up the phone

Don’t forget the power of face-to-face interaction and that magical thing called picking up the phone. Sometimes we lose productivity by emailing back and forth and waiting 12 hours for a response. The phone helps to connect us on that human to human level and solve the problem in front of us, rather than dragging it out in email land. A lot can be solved when hearing the tone of voice of the person on the other end, rather than assuming the energy of the sender or receiver.

Meetings on the go

Create ways to mindfully move. Invite your coworker out to get coffee and you have a chance to discuss work while getting fresh air and a change of scenery. Give yourself permission to take those micro recharge moments. Some of them will be private, while some might involve grabbing a colleague and taking a walk down to the park. Move your body, move your mind, move your life.

Transform your commute

Is your car your stress zone or your ashram? You choose. When you get in your car or on the subway, is your mindset already preparing for it to be super stressful, or can you reframe your commute as a time to relax and let your mind wander? Build up small recharging practices so that when times are tough you don’t get overwhelmed, and can roll with the ebbs and flows of life. My car is a place of rejuvenation: yours can be too when you choose that mindset.

Say no, stay focused

No is a complete sentence that invites us to the greater yes. Even if it means “not right now”, saying it opens up space for greater productivity and possibility. Know your path. Is this my work to do? Listen to that small voice within you. Does this feel like a yes? Does it bring me joy? I respect that there are association professionals that will have things delegated to them that they have to do. When that happens, how are you going to find a way to bring the joy? Try looking at it as a learning opportunity, or doing it for ten minutes a day.

Activate airplane mode

Airplane mode works even when you’re not on an airplane. I started playing with the practice of putting my phone on airplane mode for 10 minutes in the morning or at lunch, then increased it gradually when I could.

Find moments to turn off the culture of the world that says bigger, better, faster, more and give yourself 10 minutes on airplane mode, literally or figuratively. You can realign your focus and figure out how you feel about things without background noise. The world will still be there when you turn it back on.

Leading organizations today is not for the faint of heart. You must take care of your mind, to take care of your mindset so you can productively do your work in the world. Give mindful productivity a try with one of these practices this week. Let me know how it goes at holly@hollyduckworth.com. Mindful matters and so do you!