How many times a week do you sit at your desk or in a meeting at your engineering firm working at full capacity on a challenging project going from one task to another? Think about how gratifying it would be to have time to recharge and refocus to take on the next project with a fresh outlook. Less stress, increased clarity and more productivity. These are all potential outcomes of being more mindful.
According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review written by Chade-Meng Tan, just six seconds of mindfulness can help you become more effective.
What is mindfulness and how does it relate to me as an engineer?
Mindfulness is defined by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, as maintaining the awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment in the present moment.
Practiced by world-class athletes as well as highly successful organizations, more and more companies are realizing the benefits of mindfulness. Companies such as Google, Aetna, General Mills and Intel have incorporated mindful practices into their companies with much success, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Why Google, Target, and General Mills Are Investing in Mindfulness,” by Kimberly Schaufenbuel.
Using a combination of mediation sessions, yoga classes and other methods, these companies are incorporating ways for employees to regenerate and regain productivity.
A Google training program entitled “Search Inside Yourself,” was created by Tan, an award-winning engineer, thought leader and author. The goal was to approach new tasks with a present, focused mind.
Tan said that calming the mind starts with being more mindful of the body.
“By bringing mindful attention to the body, you strengthen the part of the brain called the insula, which is highly correlated with strong emotional awareness and empathy,” Tan writes in his article, “Just 6 Seconds of Mindfulness Can Make You More Effective.”
Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness has a positive impact on employees and the bottom line. In Schaufenbuel’s article, she writes, “Perhaps most importantly from a management perspective, mindfulness gives employees permission to think.” This will ultimately lead to huge rewards for the organization.
“While short doses of mindfulness can be incredibly helpful in managing ‘heat of the moment’ reactions, many benefits of mindfulness are only felt with sustained practice” said Christy Cassia, director of WorkLife Integration Programs at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness. “Much like fitness is developed by exercising your muscles over time, the mindful awareness muscle is best developed with ongoing practice. To help with the development of new habits and re-wiring of the neural structure of the brain to be more mindful, calm, focused and present, we recommend taking a mindfulness training class. Engineers that incorporate mindful practices throughout their workday potentially can become more efficient, peaceful and satisfied with their jobs.
By investing/engaging in mindfulness, there are several important benefits for engineers:
- Improved focus and clarity, which is critical for engineers who work in an environment where innovation and creativity is key.
- Less stress and anxiety leading to better physical health and more positive outlook when working with coworkers.
- Increased ability to communicate to others, which is especially beneficial when working in a team environment.
By allowing employees to focus on the task-at-hand, it gives them the opportunity to give their full attention to a project. By recharging and calming the body and mind, many have found they can deal with problems in a more effective manner and become better leaders.
Other benefits of being mindful include increased creativity and engagement. All of these contribute to helping engineers work more effectively in a fast-paced environment that prides itself on precision and innovation. This will not only help your business become more productive, but improve your employees’ overall well-being.
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