By Amy Vetter, CPA and Keynote Speaker
Join work-life balance author and CPA, Amy Vetter, on September 26, at 11 a.m. MT, for the webinar: “Feeling Scattered at Work? Learn How to Regularly Focus Your Attention for Greater Productivity.” Register now!
If you’re like most people, you’re constantly fighting off distractions at work and in your personal life.
At any given moment, a beep, a buzz, or some other alert to kill your concentration. We max our schedules, so focusing on the tasks at hand — whether they’re meetings, work assignments, or even lunch breaks with friends — is truly difficult. While we’re doing one thing, our minds tend to wander, thinking about all the different things we still need to do.
French philosopher Simone Weil observed, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” We all want to move through the world giving the people we appreciate and the work we care about the attention they deserve. Ideally, we’d like our attention to be an everyday form or generosity, not a rare one.
Mindfulness is the “in” thing to do in business right now, but what is it exactly? The dictionary defines mindfulness as a “mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” This may sound easy, but it actually requires regular practice, or “workouts.”
In practicing yoga, I have been taught to be mindful by visualizing the flow of my breath. I close my eyes for a moment and think of my breathing, repeating “in” as I inhale and “out” as I exhale. I found when I started taking regular breaks following my breaths, the chatter in my mind would decrease and the agitation from rushing around during the day would ease.
Just like in yoga, you can learn to take the power of mindfulness into your job. Before I started doing yoga, I would run from meeting to meeting and not take time to pause in between. As a result, I was never as present as I should have been. I was always thinking about what transpired at the last meeting. Now I schedule between five and 10 minutes between my meetings. This time enables me to reset for my next interaction, so I’m more focused and present.
Of course, I am not alone in recognizing the benefits of mindfulness in business. Companies like Target, Google, and Ford are among those that offer employees lessons on mindfulness to improve productivity. And after health care company Aetna instituted a mindfulness program, it reported saving $3,000 per employee in productivity and $2,000 in health care costs.
If you ask me, mindfulness alone is not enough to become more productive. You should combine it with good time management skills as well. Once you have a better understanding of what activities help you to be more mindful, schedule them on your calendar. It’s a commitment you make to yourself to help better manage your time throughout the day.
By learning skills like mindfulness and good time management, it’s possible for even the most scattered person to become focused and get more done. To learn more, join me for my upcoming webinar on September 26, at 11 a.m. MT: “Feeling Scattered at Work? Learn How to Regularly Focus Your Attention for Greater Productivity.” Register now!
About the author
Amy Vetter (@AmyVetterCPA) is an entrepreneur, CPA, business executive, and keynote speaker. She is the author of “Business, Balance, and Bliss: How the B3 Method Can Transform Your Career and Life” and “Integrative Advisory Services: Expanding Your Accounting Services Beyond the Cloud.” Throughout her 20+ years in business, Amy has learned valuable insights on how to achieve work-life harmony and live a more fulfilled, purposeful life. Learn more at www.amyvetter.com.