How mindfulness will help you focus on what matters as a marketing professional
I spent a fair amount of my working life as a sales and marketing manager. And I didn’t really enjoy it.
Now, I know why.
I wasn’t being mindful.
Type ‘mindfulness’ into Google and you’re informed about the practice of achieving a mental state that helps you focus on the present moment. It removes distractions, and encourages you to accept your feelings, thoughts and sensations.
This meditative state might sound far removed from anything remotely appropriate for the office, but there’s a lot to be said for implementing mindfulness techniques at work, and I reckon it could help us all become much better professionals in marketing.
Here’s three ways you can use this brilliant tool to help you focus on what matters at work.
1. Don’t let your mind wander
Right, you’ve got a big report to write, and it isn’t going to write itself. The only problem is that as soon as you settle down to get on with the task, you start thinking about loads of other things.
The email from Sarah you haven’t responded to yet; the client meeting you’ve got tomorrow; the fact you left the house on bad terms with your partner that morning. These thoughts are doing their level best to stop you writing that report.
Mindfulness is about being ‘consciously present’, which essentially means being entirely engrossed in the current moment – not what came before or what is likely to happen after. That report is the current thing you’re working on, and it needs all of your attention.
When your mind wanders during the writing of the report, take a moment to acknowledge the thought, then bring your focus back to the task in hand. The more you do that, the less you’ll experience such mind wandering.
2. Don’t multi-task
Multi-tasking has its benefits, but usually only if you happen to be a computing device. Humans aren’t very good at it, no matter how much we may occasionally profess to be masters at multi-tasking.
We’re far more productive and successful if we become single-taskers. Trying to work on too many things at once will put you firmly back in the place described above where your mind begins to wander between tasks.
Stick to just one task and give it your all.
3. Slow down
As noted, mindfulness does sound like an odd thing to implement at work – principally because it involves slowing down the mind and body in order to reach a calmer state.
Surely, we should be moving at break-neck pace at work?
No! That’s exactly why so many mistakes are made in business and why people become so stressed they have to take time off. To speed up your rate of productivity and increase the quality of your work, you need to start by slowing down.
Mindfulness usually starts with deep breathing techniques and gradually works you into an incredibly calm state. By doing this, you’re enabling your mind to reach an equilibrium where it’s entirely capable of focusing on the current situation. The wandering will stop, anxieties will diminish, and you’ll no longer feel overwhelmed by your to-do list.
Slow down to speed up your work and you’ll avoid making last-minute, panicked decisions that inevitably result in mistakes.
I genuinely think that if I’d discovered mindfulness when I was leading a team, I’d have been a much happier manager.
Try it! It’s time to train your mind to think about the now.