10 Exercises You Can Do to Increase Productivity And Practice Mindfulness Every Day as a Busy Business Owner
Whether you’re a new or seasoned business owner, there’s a good chance you’re looking to increase productivity in your business.
The daily challenges and stresses of running a business can easily begin to take a toll on your emotions and create anxiety.
Some of these anxieties may look like:
- Worrying about where to find new clients
- The overwhelming concern of not having enough money to invest back into the business or new projects
- Constant unease about the future
- Feeling like you never have enough time to make your business sustainable by putting processes in place
You’re busy trying to do all the things. All the while feeling you’re hijacked by all the challenges that are out of your control.
Just know that you’re not alone. This is a very common situation to be in!
So what can you do to help?
In today’s blog post, I’ll share with you the practice of something different mindfulness practices that I use in my business and with my clients to get OUT of overwhelm and into peaceful productivity!
What Is Mindfulness? And Why Is It Important to Practice in Business?
My definition of mindfulness is being aware of your past but choosing to make the most of your present to maximize your future results.
Practicing mindfulness in business means becoming more aware of what you’re doing in the moment.
By checking in with your body and mind, you can:
- Keep tabs on your stress levels
- Focus on one task at a time instead of multi-tasking
- Tackle every assignment with the right amount of energy
This is important as it results in increasing your productivity in business in a way that’s sustainable and won’t burn you out over time.
With that in mind, let’s go over 10 exercises you can use to practice mindfulness for yourself!
1. Center Yourself and Remain Present
Being an entrepreneur can sometimes feel like a roller coaster ride and it's all too easy to become emotionally attached to the ups and down, or have a clouded mind.
To help you stay calm and keep your composure, I often suggest that my clients practice breathing exercises. These are especially helpful if you’re nervous or stressed at work.
By centering yourself and remaining present this way, you’re helping to clear your mind, tap into your senses, and regain focus on the task at hand.
You can do this before meetings, before having difficult conversations, or before you need to make big decisions.
2. Ask Yourself, “How Do I Feel?”
Your feelings have a direct impact on how you show up and engage with others.
When you ask yourself how you’re feeling, you bring awareness to your feelings, which can then help you have more control over your behavior.
For example, in business when problems happen, you have a responsibility to prepare and creatively solve the situation.
If you're paralyzed with fear, or overcome with overwhelm, and don't snap out of it, it might be hard for you to pull your team together and make decisions.
So you MUST be able to show up for yourself and recognize that certain feelings can block you from taking the actions needed to move forward.
3. Find Out Where You’re Spending Your Time
Your time is valuable. You can’t get it back, but you can make sure that it’s spent in the smartest way possible.
One quick and easy way to do this is to track how long you spend working on tasks that fall into your normal routine.
For example, let’s look at a task like accounting.
If you do it yourself, it might take you three hours vs. if you hired an accountant, they might complete the task in an hour for the same amount of work.
The time you spent on that accounting task could’ve been spent connecting with new or existing clients.
But if you’re anxious about your finances, or caught up in stories that you’re the ONLY one you can do your bookkeeping, you may not be making the best decisions for your business.
4. Stop Stressing Over What You Can’t Control
Do you find yourself worrying about all of the things in your business that you have no real control over?
If you find yourself using up valuable energy on this, a concept that may be helpful to you is the circle of concern vs. the circle of influence. In short, the circle of concern is for those factors you have no control over, whereas the circle of influence is for the factors where you DO have control.
Examples of actions that fall into the circle of influence could be over your words, behavior, and actions. All of that can be summarized as you having control over your management and leadership in business.
You get to decide what your boundaries are, your plans, how to make the most of yourself, how to communicate with your teams, and how to build relationships, etc.
For the circle of concern, the factors where you have no control over but are may still concern yourself about could be tax rates, other people’s opinions and actions, and government regulation.
You can keep these things in mind, but recognize you can’t control them. All you can control is your response and reaction to them.
Every time you waste valuable energy complaining about those factors you can’t control in business, you lose out of time that could be used to make more money, connect with the right clients, and build and manage an effective team.
5. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are the enemy of productivity but are inevitable in our tech-driven society.
This means you MUST work to eliminate distractions before they cause problems for you.
Based on a US Study, these are the top five time drainers that you’re spending and draining your time on. Let’s take a look at each:
- Push Notifications. 50% of you are distracted by, say, a push notification on your phone from WhatsApp or Instagram.
- Interpersonal Gossip. 42% spending time chatting with others about gossip.
- Internet/Social Media. 40% where you’re spending time reading gossip on the internet and social media.
- Drop-ins, emergencies, noisy co-workers. 25% are what I consider interruptions. And for a lot of leaders and business owners, this distraction is something that gets in your way of being able to get your work done and get things moving.
- Email. 23% is spent wasting time reading emails that aren’t business-related.
Remember, you're not hardwired to multitask. This is why you get stressed and have anxiety each time you’re day is riddled with distractions.
You’re stretching yourself too thin by giving mental bandwidth to things that don’t matter.
Imagine what you'd accomplish productivity-wise simply by eliminating these distractions that keep you from your revenue-generating activities.
6. Have Interruption-Free Time Locks
You CAN get distracted and sidetracked by thoughts. And let's face it, various social media platforms and team member disruptions haven't exactly helped this problem.
One key management skill that all leaders and business owners need to learn is having boundaries and interruption-free time locks.
This looks like you or your team members honoring times on the schedule where there are zero interruptions to get a task or project done.
So ask yourself, What is a critical task or project that could benefit from a time lock right now?
Another key management skill is being able to delegate tasks that are outside your zone of genius.
This creates space and time for things that are important and you enjoy doing rather than wasting time and precious mental energy on things that drain you.
7. Maximize Personal Focus and Flows
Every day you’re presented with multiple tasks. These tasks compete for your attention, making it easy to get distracted.
A lot of times you may say things like, Oh, I can multitask. But the truth is your mind works a lot better when it's focused on one thing.
So here are four things that'll maximize your focus and flow in your business.
- Honor a single commitment. Do one thing and tell yourself, I'm gonna just do that ONE thing for a specific period.
- Focus on that thing. If you notice your mind wanders or you're thinking about something else, tell your mind, okay, that something else is great, but right now, I want to focus on this thing at hand.
- No social media. To help you focus on the task, eliminate distractions.
- Focus on the critical single task before going on to some minor task. Do the most important task first before doing the lesser important one.
Focus is all about one course until success, and these tips will help you do just that!
8. Do The Pomodoro Method
If you've never heard about the Pomodoro method, it's an effective way to get you to concentrate.
This is a scientifically proven method that shows humans are great at 25 minutes of focused attention, and this is the optimal time interval for productivity.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Do your task for 25 minutes of uninterrupted, focused attention.
- Then after those 25 minutes, give yourself a 5-minute break.
- The 5-minute break can include moving around, changing our body posture, going to the bathroom, etc.
- Then you do this in intervals until you have a 15-minute break.
So if if you or your team are struggling with your focus, this is a great time management approach you can use to work in short, focused sprints!
9. Batch Process Your Tasks
Batch processing is where there are certain tasks of similar nature that you can do at the same time and can tackle together.
What are those tedious tasks that end up breaking your deep, focused work?
Think of things like:
- Texts/DMs that need responding
Say for example, if you need to do 1:1 check-in conversations with your team, and they’re only 15 minutes. You ask all of your team members the same questions. Rather than spreading these out throughout the week, doing the 1:1 meetings back to back can be a great way to help you knock them out in less time.
This time management technique can easily be put into your schedule and taught to members of your team to focus on their tasks like making phone calls or answering emails.
By batch processing, you’re allowing yourself to be a lot more effective and efficient with your work. 💪🏾
10. Select One Word to Describe How You Feel
I love doing this at the end of a conversation or a meeting, especially a virtual one. It forces you to check in with yourself and helps you retain the information you've heard or have shared.
Naming your feelings and emotions can be empowering. And when you do this in a group setting, it can lead to building psychological safety.
Your team will trust you and feel connected to you knowing that you’re also human, and not just “The Boss”.
So if you decide to do this in a group setting, you'll see how quickly help you bond together.
It forces everyone to reflect on what they've learned through that conversation or presentation and how they want to use it moving forward.
Which of these exercises are you going to implement? And which of these are you going to share with your team?
Remember, mindfulness can be practiced at any time before that important meeting or before a difficult conversation.
By practicing mindfulness, you're not regretting the past or feeling anxious about the future.
Rather, you’re developing your self-awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in the present moment so that you’re able to retain more information, reflect on the best way forward, and most importantly, focus on the task at hand.
Tell me in the comments ⬇️ which one of these exercises you’re going to implement into your routine to boost mindfulness at work? ❤️
Pssst. If you tag me in a story and include #AskAkua on Instagram or LinkedIn, I’ll share a special little gift with you. 🎁
If you need help on how you can reduce stress, overwhelm, and burnout, take my productivity quiz HERE.
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