Mindfulness for entrepreneurs — paying close attention to the many thoughts racing through your mind — is a great business strategy. It’s all about being in tune with your thoughts and body, regularly checking in, and making adjustments based on what you notice. It’s the opposite of doing things without intention, strategy or consideration.
Mindfulness at work and elsewhere isn’t a temporary state. Mindfulness is a habit that can be practiced all day. So, why is it important for entrepreneurship? Because entrepreneurship is tough and demands focus. Whether starting a business or running an existing enterprise, entrepreneurs are often faced with uncertainty, stress and loads of responsibility.
Keeping the lights on, employees paid, and customers happy requires a lot of mental and emotional energy. Mindfulness at work is important because it helps entrepreneurs manage these challenges. Let’s take a look at how some of the benefits of mindfulness.
How mindfulness helps you at work
It improves health
Entrepreneurs rarely can take sick days. They need to be at their best every day. Mindfulness for entrepreneurs helps maintain their health. It has been shown to:
- Reduce stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower heart rate
- Reduce chronic pain
- Improve sleep
- Boost immune system
It fights burnout, anxiety and depression
The difficulties of entrepreneurship cause many founders and CEOs to struggle with mental health issues. Mindfulness for entrepreneurs helps treat and reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It has been shown to lower the incident of burnout and turnover at work.
It improves cognitive abilities
Entrepreneurs are constantly problem-solving and using analytical thinking to improve and innovate. Mindfulness gives entrepreneurs the mental clarity and increased brain capacity they need to perform these complex tasks.
How to embrace mindfulness at work
Being mindful at work means taking the core elements of mindfulness and infusing it into your daily work habits. It means putting intention into your scheduling, tasks and processes. Here are a few ways you can use mindfulness at work.
Schedule your day mindfully
To practice mindfulness for entrepreneurs, carefully think about how you spend your time and schedule your day.
Embrace routine. It’s easier to relax and remain in touch with your thoughts when you know what is coming ahead of you. So, infusing your day-to-day with even a tiny bit of structure can help you be more mindful. You don’t have to become a full creature of habit, but building a loose, adaptable schedule with regular tasks and activities will make it easier to keep you focused.
Plan your day. To create routine and structure in your days, start by identifying everything you want your typical day to include. Take out a piece of paper, write down your core daily elements, and schedule them in.
Your list might include both work and personal items such as:
- Working (on what projects and/or type of work)
- Preparing and eating meals
- Running errands
- Reading or doing other hobbies
- Caring for your kids
- Spending time with your partner
Know when it’s time to stop. The opposite of working mindfully is continuing to work to just pass time or fill a slot in your calendar. Stay in touch with your energy levels and productivity. If you feel yourself starting to slip and just wasting time, stop working.
Work more mindfully
Mindfully planning your day makes it easier to stay focused and intentional during the day. There are also mindfulness strategies you can use while working on individual tasks and projects. The following strategies make you more productive, helps you avoid distractions, and stops you from mindlessly (and poorly) executing.
Use a simple checklist. Using checklists to carry out complex tasks with many elements or steps to ensure consistency and efficiency. Over time, you’ll improve your ability to create comprehensive checklists and build up a handy set of resources for recurring tasks.
Bolster your sense of achievement with an “anti-to-do” list. Anti-to-do lists begin empty, and by the end of the day, are filled with the tasks you’ve completed. This self-motivational tool can work wonders for your productivity and sense of self-achievement.
Iterate your tasks using the Autofocus method. Using Autofocus keeps boredom at bay by giving you different tasks to complete, chips away at your current list of tasks, and keeps organisation requirements to a minimum. At its foundation, the method works by making use of three lists:
- New tasks
- Recurring tasks
- Unfinished tasks
You’ll go down your current to-do list, completing any task you can, and repeating it until you get to the end. If you don’t finish an item that day, place it on the unfinished list. Once you have no new tasks, you begin working on your other lists.
This is a smart way to cycle through and tick off everything you have to complete — moving you closer to mindfulness.
Essentially, you pick a task, record your start time, and then note whenever you take a break. You should keep these breaks clearly scheduled, but work based on your own stamina and the demands of the task in question.
You might even discover more about your working patterns in the process, enabling you to become more efficient in the future.
Observe your emotions and act accordingly
It’s very difficult to be mindful and thoughtful when your emotions are running wild. So, practice paying attention when you feel stressed, frustrated, tired, agitated or hungry. Identify where you feel the emotion in your body, and question what event caused you to feel that way and why.
When you feel yourself slipping into any of these negative emotions, perform a mindfulness exercise and recalibrate your emotional state before making any big decisions, having difficult conversations, or engaging in challenging tasks.