Substitute mindfulness for multi-tasking

3 tips for the workplace.

by: Romie Mushtaq, M.D.

Google, eBay, Intel and General Mills offer classes on it. So do Harvard Business School, Ross School of Business and Claremont Graduate University, among other campuses. Mindfulness–being focused and fully present in the here and now–is not just a corporate trend, but a proven method for success, both for individuals and for businesses.

Even if a company doesn’t make it part of the culture, employees and managers can substitute their multi-tasking habits with mindfulness to reduce stress and increase productivity. The result that you and your colleagues will notice is that you’re sharper, more efficient and more creative.

Many scientific and medical studies have documented that practicing mindfulness, whether it’s simply taking deep breaths, or actually meditating or doing yoga, has been shown to alter the structure and function of the brain, which is what allows us to learn, acquire new abilities, and improve memory.

Advances in neuroimaging techniques have taught us how these mindfulness-based techniques affect neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to change in function or structure based on new experience.

Multi-tasking, on the other hand, depresses the brain’s memory and analytical functions, and reduces blood flow to the part of the right temporal lobe that contributes to our creative thinking. In today’s marketplace, creativity is key for innovation, sustainability and leadership.

So how can people practice mindfulness in a workplace where multi-tasking is the norm, and concerns for future profits can add to workplace stress? Try these techniques.

continue reading »