25 Ways to Be More Mindful at Work

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ZEN AND THE ART OF WORK

Being mindful at work is more than just keeping your head down and getting the job done, it's about cultivating a healthy and efficient workspace, physically and mentally, that allows you to prosper to your fullest extent. Even though some of these tips seem counterintuitive, slowing down and taking breaks can actually make you more efficient, leading to higher returns, financially, professionally, and personally.
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DO ONE THING AT A TIME

Doing multiple things at once may seem like the best way to get a lot done, but in reality, it means that nothing is getting your full attention. Many mindfulness experts assert that there is no such thing as multitasking, you are either doing something with your full attention, or not.
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BUILD A ROUTINE

Having a routine helps focus your mind and body for the workday ahead. Whether it's your morning routine of a smoothie for the commute, or a 5-minute cup of coffee before you jump into emails, having little moments of routine headspace will set you up for success.
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GET PLANTS

Plants are soothing to look at, and they also help keep the air around them clean and fresh. Having something living, especially in an otherwise drab office space, will help bring a sense of vitality and freshness to the space. Taking time to water the plants can also be a meditative activity on a daily or weekly basis.
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BE SINCERE IN YOUR INTERACTIONS

Even people who work around a lot of others can feel isolated and alone at work, largely because interactions are too often superficial. Being genuine when you interact with people will prompt them to do the same, which will leave you with a sense of real human connection and being part of a team.
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BE PRESENT

Our minds love to wander, and it can take constant effort to stay in the present moment. Regardless of what else your mind tries to bring up, try to be present with the current task, or people, at hand. Giving each item 100 percent of your attention yields the best results.
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TAKE A BREAK

Stepping away from work for a few minutes, or even an hour, provides necessary down time. While it may be too difficult to stay super focused on work for 6 or 8 hours straight, if you break it up into 1 to 2 hour chunks with breaks in between, you end up less fatigued and getting more work done.
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GREET EVERYONE

Whether you are the CEO or the person who cleans the trash cans, at the most basic level, we are all just humans. Say hello to people you come across, and really take a moment to look them in the eye and actually greet them. Since this type of greeting is often unexpected, it tends to brighten the day for both parties.
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STRETCH ONCE AN HOUR

Sitting in front of a desk, standing behind a bar, and restocking shelves are all more physically demanding than they seem. Make a plan to stretch for a few minutes every hour. This will bring a boost of oxygen to your body and brain, and keep physical fatigue at bay.

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STAY HYDRATED

Hydration is serious business. Dehydration can affect everything from mood to physical ability, so it's important to make an effort every day to drink enough water. Make it an enjoyable part of your day by using a favorite cup or water bottle, and combining it with stretch breaks for a few minutes of self-care. Many foods are also hydrating.
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TAKE A PERSONAL DAY

Many people think that a personal day is reserved for emergencies, or for people who are having a problem. In reality, a personal day can be any given day that you just want to enjoy or to break up the monotony of work. Taking a day off to center yourself can help you feel refreshed at the workplace.
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INCLUDE PERSONAL TOUCHES IN YOUR WORKSPACE

Chances are you spend a lot of time at work. Invest some energy in making the space feel like yours by including personal touches. Photos of loved ones, sentimental objects, or even just color schemes that speak to you are all easy ways to bring yourself to the physical space.
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CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

We cannot always change what happens, but we can change how we react. Especially when faced with something bothersome at work, it can help greatly to shift our perspective. It often helps to think about how someone else would view the same situation.
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HAVE A CUP OF TEA

The act of preparing a cup of tea is relaxing in and of itself. Green and other herbal teas also have properties that promote feelings of calmness and focus. Tea is also an inexpensive, healthy treat that helps keep us hydrated, rather than a sugary or carb-heavy treat that can provoke mood swings and energy crashes.
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LISTEN TO SOOTHING SOUNDS

A small speaker, or headphones when appropriate, can completely change the atmosphere of the workplace. Listening to soothing sounds of ocean waves, rainfall, or even classical music can gently encourage your brain waves to stay calm and focused.
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BE GRATEFUL

Gratitude is a powerful tool, and just the fact that you are at work means there is something to be grateful for. Many people find it relaxing to take a few minutes and think about things they are grateful for, both small and big. One exercise to try is to inhale and exhale slowly 10 times, using the inhale to think of something and the exhale to be grateful for it.
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LET STRESS EBB AND FLOW

Stress is a natural part of work life, and doesn't have to be all bad. Instead of running away from stress when it arises, notice it and let it come and go. If something is stressing you out to an extreme degree, the first step toward dealing with it will be noticing it, which is sometimes enough to help it fade away.
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INVEST IN A GOOD SEAT

It's hard to be focused, mindful, or present when you are constantly fidgeting around trying to get comfortable. Even if you have to invest money out of pocket for a comfortable chair, it's money well spent. The level of comfort you feel can easily translate into more efficient work and help avoid physical issues down the line.
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USE YOUR VACATION DAYS

In today's competitive professional environment, taking vacation days can seem like a sign of weakness or lack of commitment to the job. But taking an extended break from work can actually help you be more productive and inspired at work both before and after the vacation. Having something to look forward to as well as memories of time well spent both help to balance long hours on the job.
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HAVE A SNACK

A little bit of stimulus is a good way to give your mind a break from work so that you can resume refreshed, and a snack also feels like a treat. Keeping healthy snacks like fruit and nuts that are easily accessible do double duty, providing nutrition and a flavor-packed pick me up.
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BREATHE

Taking a few moments each hour, or even just once a day, to breathe deeply does wonders for a sense of being centered. In addition to being calming to the central nervous system, deep breathing also helps get plenty of oxygen to the brain.
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USE A MEDITATION APP

Meditating on your own in the middle of a busy day can seem unrealistic. These days, there are apps that provide guided meditations that can be customized to fit your schedule, even if you literally have only 2 minutes. Apps like Headspace and The Mindfulness App are user favorites.
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MAKE AN EMAIL SCHEDULE

Inbox fatigue is a real thing. With a constant stream of messages demanding attention, it can feel like you're never truly done with emails. Blocking off specific times per day to check and respond to email can help compartmentalize it so that it doesn't feel like you're always working on email, and free you up to give other tasks 100 percent of your attention.
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GO OUTSIDE

Breathing fresh air and taking a little walk can be extremely beneficial to your mood and perspective. Getting outside is a good reminder that there is an entire world outside of the workplace, and that work is just one part of life, not the entire thing.
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ENJOY YOUR COMMUTE

Commutes can feel like an extension of work, but it's worth the time and effort to make them enjoyable parts of your day. Even if you are inevitably stuck in traffic, listening to music or podcasts can be a relaxing way to turn it into "me time."
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KNOW WHEN TO STOP

Sometimes work is overwhelming when there are big projects or important deadlines. Regardless of what it is, if you are fatigued and under performing, it's time to stop. It's better to stop and put in a few extra hours later when you have the focus and energy than it is to keep pushing on when you're at only 50 percent.

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