Achieving Zen in the Workplace

Peace is defined by the absence of worries, stress, and chaos. When thinking of work, peacefulness isn’t something that normally comes to mind. No, the office is usually a hub of stress and sea of deadlines. But why? According to The American Time Use Survey, the average individual spends 43.7 hours weekly doing work related activities. That’s a lot of time spent being involved in the hustle of meetings, calls, and office work. It’s safe to assume that it’s important to stop and breathe every once in a while. To avoid burnouts from work, it’s important to pause and implement simple practices of calmness.

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” Etty Hillesum

Being mindful of your work habits under stress and responding to them can lead to an increase in productivity. Maintaining a steady focus can be blurred when bombarded with office distractions, but these simple additions to your work flow can lead to great benefits!

Below are some simple practices to follow at work when attempting a state of zen:

Inhale, Exhale.

Stress is a work-life’s best friend and when it can become overbearing. One of the best things to do is: (1.Stop, 2. Breathe In, 3. Breathe Out, 4. Repeat). The science behind breathing is commonly overlooked, but even breath and posture can allow more oxygen to your brain sparking more energy, creativity, and overall work flow.

Minimize Interruptions

You’re doing what you need to do. You’re Knocking out tasks, but then you get a notification here and an email there. In a split second you lose your flow and are torn out of your concentration and steady pattern of work. Interruptions are not only responsible for not completing your overall goals, but it can change your entire mood affecting the the energy of the rest of your day. The good thing is that as much as you allow interruptions, you can hold them off just as much. You know your schedule best. Set time aside to get certain high-priority tasks completed. Stay away from your email, phone, and meetings during that time so that you can focus your whole attention to what you’re doing. Being in a state of mindfulness is a positive effect of minimizing interruptions, allowing you to be completely focused.

Get Up & Stretch

It’s 3pm, you’ve been sitting in your chair all day and you’re beginning to feel a little fidgety, maybe a bit anxious. You’re largely using your brain, but you still have to be mindful of the rest of your body. Get out of your chair, do a few stretches, let the blood circulate to the rest of your body. Many office jobs lead to sedimentary type activity and long hours can leave your body restless. Give your legs some activity and do some bends and stretches. Walk around the office to use the restroom or get some water. Taking a small break and walking around your office can be great for getting re-energized and obtaining a clear mind.

Clear Space, Clear Mind

A walk helped you clear your mind, but now you’re back at your desk. There are papers, files, post-its all over it. You reverted back to uneasiness. Do you go for another walk? If that’s all it takes for you . . . but a great practice in obtaining a clear mind is a clear workspace. Follow this simple rule– look at every object covering your desk and ask yourself, “Do I need this right now?” You can put things you don’t need right away into drawers and stuff that has expired into the trash. A messy and unorganized desk can sometimes be an unhappy metaphor for your mental state.

Achieving zen in the workplace can be a continuous juggle. The madness of a workplace can be a struggle when you spend a large majority of your time there. But a mindful awareness can turn any hectic place into a balancing atmosphere. Simple practices and activities such as these are sure to help you gain a calm, clear mindset to productively meet your goals.

For more workplace tips follow us on Twitter @CareerPlug.

Justin Zuniga is CareerPlug’s sales and marketing intern.  

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Kacie was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology.

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