Some common barriers to productivity at work and practical mindfulness practices that can help:

1. Lack of concentration and focus

Practice paying attention to a single object on your desk, notice every detail of it, the colour, the texture etc and describe them to yourself.

This will help train your attention to a chosen focal point and being more able to focus when you chose.

2. Distracted and annoyed by noise of colleagues and general office workings

Practice paying mindful attention to sound as though you are a receiver of the sound waves, noticing the frequency, intensity and duration rather than following the sound or labeling it e.g. a door shutting, photocopier beeping.

Helps reduce the thoughts that often accompany these sounds such as “why won’t they just be quiet and let me get on” or “how come they’re not busy and I’m still slaving away?” Leads to being less distracted and increases productivity.

3. Feeling physically tired due to rushing around or shuffling paper but not achieving much?

Try a short whole body scan. Start at your head and work down to your toes noticing any physical sensations such as tingling, heat, coolness, pressure and just describe before moving to next body part.

Increases awareness of how your body is right now and what it needs to be refreshed. Also, you are more likely to notice those early signs of fatigue so you can take recovery action sooner.

Not able to generate new ideas or solutions as usual?

Practice a short mindful breathing exercise. Notice any thoughts of frustration and impatience with yourself and others. Merely observe these thoughts rather than entering into them. Now sit quietly for few minutes and do nothing.

Again, helps reduce those thoughts that we get caught up in and allows us to return to the task with curiosity rather than frustration.