15 Mindfulness Hacks to Make Work Days More Bearable

Distractions can be inevitable in a busy work environment. How do you stay focused and present while bombarded with emails, ringing phones, various tasks, and people coming and going?

Mindfulness, which is all about being present and engaged in the moment, can help you overcome these distractions. Incorporating mindfulness into your workday can also increase productivity, creativity, and your overall well-being. With less stress and anxiety, you can focus on one task at a time, leading to better-quality work (and maybe a promotion?).

Living your life more mindfully is also great for unlocking your creative potential and generating new ideas or approaches. Something that will surly impress the boss!

And the best part? It’s free and easy to learn! Start small and be consistent. It won’t take long to notice the benefits of being more mindful with these practical tips.

1. Start Your Day With Mindfulness

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Begin your day with a few minutes of meditation, stretching, or mindful breathing. If meditation isn’t your thing, give yourself a few minutes to sit quietly somewhere and think about what the day ahead looks like for you rather than rushing out the door. This can help you set a positive tone for the day and approach your work with a clear and focused mind.

2. End Your Day With Mindfulness

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Take a few minutes at the end of your workday to reflect on your accomplishments and set intentions for the next day. This routine can help you feel a sense of closure and leave work-related stress behind. Plus, having a record of your work accomplishments will come in very handy when it comes time for your performance review or if you decide to look for a new job and need to update your resume.

3. Take Mindful Breaks

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Take short breaks throughout the day to be mindful. This can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths, going for a short walk, or doing a quick body scan right at your desk.

A body scan entails mentally checking each part of your body, noting tension or discomfort, and consciously releasing it. You can recharge your energy and return to your work with greater focus and productivity by taking these breaks.

4. Practice Active Listening

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When communicating with colleagues or clients, practice active listening and speaking. This means being fully present in the moment (a.k.a. not looking at your phone or computer), listening without judgment, and speaking with intention and clarity. It will cut down on misunderstandings, help you understand their perspective, and keep everyone amiable.

5. Create a Mindful Workspace

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Set up your workspace to promote mindfulness. This could include placing calming images or plants in your office, using aromatherapy, or incorporating soft lighting. Creating a calming environment can promote a sense of peace and relaxation, even within a busy workplace.

6. Use Mindfulness to Manage Stress

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When stress arises in your workday – and it will – use mindfulness techniques to manage it. Stress can impact your relationships with others and your health, so don’t minimize its importance.

Step away from your desk to stretch, close your eyes briefly, and visualize a calming scene, like a beach or a forest, or just think about what you’ve accomplished so far in the day and celebrate these small victories.

If you are dealing with more severe, chronic stress, these little things can help – but they can only help so far. Reach out to loved ones or professionals if your stress is interfering with your life, as it can lead to serious health issues.

7. Identify Your Biggest Distractions

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The first step to overcoming distractions is to identify what is distracting you. It could be your phone, email notifications, or your coworker’s conversation. Once you know your biggest distractions, you can address them, by clearing off your desk or moving to a different space, for example.

8. Set Boundaries

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Set boundaries, like setting specific times to check your email or phone or using noise-canceling headphones to block out external noise. This will help you focus on the work that needs your attention, not the latest office gossip.

Or turn the volume up if you’re in the mood for music instead. The right choice of music, such as instrumental or ambient music, can help block out distractions, improve concentration, and maintain attention while working. This will help you focus on the work that needs your attention, not the latest office gossip.

9. Practice Single-Tasking

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Multi-tasking can be tempting in a busy work environment, but it can actually lead to more distractions and decreased productivity. Instead, try single-tasking: focusing on one task at a time. You’ll be surprised at how much more you can actually get done.

10. Use Technology Wisely

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Technology can be a major source of distraction, so think about how you use it – and how you can use it to your advantage instead. Turn off notifications for non-essential apps, use productivity apps to stay organized or meditation apps to unwind, and please, stop doom scrolling!

11. Practice Empathy

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Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Practicing empathy can build stronger relationships with your colleagues. Take time to understand their perspectives and feelings, and respond with kindness and compassion. No one wants to work with someone who is constantly judging or giving them attitude.

12. Practice Self-Compassion

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It’s normal to get distracted in a busy work environment, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up, show yourself some of that compassion, too. You will learn from these mistakes, becoming more resilient and capable in the long run.

13. Practice Self-Awareness

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Along with self-compassion is self-awareness, the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions. Mindfulness can help you develop greater self-awareness and improve your emotional intelligence.

Take time to reflect on your emotions and identify any patterns or triggers. Do you crash once that morning caffeine wears off? Do you dread those emails Patrice sends every morning? Whatever it is, being aware will help you face them.

14. Use Positive Affirmations

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Positive affirmations can help promote self-awareness, self-compassion, and positivity. Use affirmations such as “I am capable,” “I am resilient,” or “I am worthy” to boost your confidence. Seriously, give it a shot. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it could be just the thing your life is missing.

15. Practice Gratitude

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Gratitude means expressing appreciation for the positive aspects of your life. And in a team environment, like your job, letting your coworkers know you appreciate their help and customers know you appreciate their business goes a long way in building relationships and potentially the company’s bottom line (which can benefit you, too!).

The Science and Benefits of Mindfulness

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How does mindfulness work, exactly? Mindfulness practice increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making, attention, and emotional regulation. It decreases activity in the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions such as fear and anxiety.

Although it takes time to develop, practicing mindfulness can help you train your brain to respond differently to stress. It can also reduce inflammation and boost the immune system, improving overall health and well-being.

Your professional relationships can benefit, too. With mindfulness, you can develop emotional intelligence: the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions and understand and empathize with the emotions of others.

The Practical (And Beneficial) Reasons to Be Mindful at Work

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It’s clear that being mindful while on the clock can work to your advantage. From improved performance, less stress, and better professional connections, the benefits are well worth it.

So why not give it a try?

Start by taking small steps such as actually taking your breaks, looking at the person talking instead of a screen, and practicing deep breathing. Then, try incorporating more mindfulness into your daily routine to see what works for you.

Be patient with yourself and focus on progress rather than perfection. It can transform your work and your life.

Build a Better Future with Self Discipline

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Do you procrastinate on important projects? Fail to stick to healthy habits like consistent exercise or meal prepping? Struggle to avoid distractions from your phone and social media? You likely need to develop stronger self-discipline.

Learn Time Management Skills

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Have you ever woken up in the morning, and instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do that day, you feel calm, refreshed, and ready to face the world? No? Neither have I.

It doesn’t have to be a far-fetched scenario, though. Use these easy time management tips to help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control of your day.

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

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