MSS #058: Harnessing Mindfulness for Enhanced Productivity

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MSS #058: Harnessing Mindfulness for Enhanced Productivity

17 Feb 24

MSS #058: Harnessing Mindfulness for Enhanced Productivity

17 Feb, 2024

Read time: 4.4 minutes

In a hurry? Cut straight to the 2 tools read from heading Keep it simple to be effective! - reduced read time 2.7 minutes

This week let's explore how integrating mindfulness into your daily routine can significantly boost your productivity and mental clarity.

In our fast-paced world, our minds are constantly bombarded with information, leading to overwhelm and reduced efficiency. Mindfulness offers a powerful tool to combat this, allowing us to regain focus and enhance our performance.

Also let’s explore what mindfulness is, for some this is obvious for others it’s still a mystery.

Finding the one right mindfulness technique for you, will be transformative, giving you a momentary oasis of calm from which you can grow the size of your island of mental tranquility.

Let’s go for it.

Mindfulness – what is it?

There is a lot of hype and a big industry around mindfulness, that can be intimidating.

In its simplest form, Mindfulness is the activity of getting your mind to spend more time in the present moment, rather than flitting off to,

  • The past – thinking about things that have happened.

  • The future – focusing on up-coming events.

Here is the strange thing, the PRESENT moment is the only thing that is real and the space you can take action in.


it is as simple as that!

When our minds flip to past or future thinking, this is a virtual world we create in our minds – it’s not real. BUT, it feels real! Because the older (evolutionary speaking) parts of the brain treat imagined and real the same - it does not know the difference! I will explore this more with you another day. So having our minds stuck in the past or future, elicit very real physiological responses.

Our past and future constructs in our minds are also the place our mind attaches emotion and it’s where we might stress about something we are not looking forward to or anxiety reliving a difficult past event, these are not great places to be.

Still need a bit more on what mindfulness is? Read on then.

Mindfulness is a mental practice that involves paying full attention to the present moment with an attitude of non-judgment and acceptance.

It's about being fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment without trying to change or react to them.

Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness encourages you to be fully engaged in the 'here and now', observing your present experiences without criticism or distraction.

This practice often leads to greater calmness, clarity, and focus on daily life.

If you are thinking, wow this seems like hard work - bear with me. Start from a very simple place. Choose one approach / technique and just do it for a few seconds each day. Establish the habit first, then you will naturally be drawn to do this for longer more often, requiring little effort.


The science of Mindfulness

Like so many aspects of the mind, mindfulness has been practiced in different cultures for thousands of years.

Modern science now has the ability to “see” (with scans) what is happening in the mind for those that practice mindfulness – the results are clear.

  • Neuroplasticity and Mindfulness: Regular mindfulness practice can physically change the structure of the brain, enhancing areas responsible for concentration and emotional regulation, and shrinking those linked to stress and anxiety.

  • Stress Reduction: Mindfulness reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol, promoting a calmer, more focused state of mind.

  • Improved Cognitive Function: Studies have shown that mindfulness can improve memory, attention span, and decision-making skills, crucial for productivity in both personal and professional spheres. This is important, because this is the part of the brain that is rational and pragmatic and can pull you out of catastrophic thinking.


Keep it simple to be effective!

Mindfulness only works if you do it! Okay, that’s obvious.

Yep it is, but how many things have you read about and never actioned?

The best way to get into mindfulness is to keep it simple, here is how.

  • Use an existing habit – stack mindfulness onto something else you are guaranteed to do every day i.e.

    • Switch on a light.

    • Brush your teeth.

    • Have a warm drink.

    • Get dressed or undressed.

    • Lock or unlock a car, house or office door.

  • Find the leading edge – decide the precise moment of the existing habit that you will practice mindfulness e.g.

    • Switch on a light – at night entering my bedroom before sleep.

    • Brush your teeth – in the morning as I put my toothbrush down.

    • Have a warm drink – when finished and I put my cup down.

    • Get dressed or undressed – as I put my last sock/tights on or off.

    • Lock or unlock a car, house or office door – as I unlock the door whilst inside my house to go out for the day.

  • Start small, establish the habit first – set your expectation super low. Set yourself a target of just 10 seconds of mindfulness to start with. Once the habit is established, gradually increase the time.

  • No punishing yourself – if you miss daily mindfulness once, that’s ok. Much better to go for 2 seconds, than no seconds. Keep a hand tally with the date and a tick for each day completed.


What mindfulness technique shall I choose?

There are many simple ways to practice mindfulness, choose something that fits well with your way of thinking and lifestyle.

A quick reminder, mindfulness is about being aware of and being in the present moment.

If your mind flips off to other thoughts, just accept that and gentle nudge your awareness back to your chosen mindfulness activity.

Let’s dive into some options for you now………

Here are some ideas for you, choose ONE, that feels, looks or sounds right for you. Really important to focus on just ONE approach.

  • Mindful Breathing: Focus on your breath for a few minutes each day. This can be done anywhere, anytime, and acts as a reset button for your mind.

  • Mindful Breathing (different approach): Take five deep, focused breaths several times a day. Focus on your breath, noticing the sensation of air entering and leaving your nostrils. Observe the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen for a few minutes.

  • Mindful Walking: Use short walks, even if just around your office or home, to practice mindfulness. Pay attention to each step, the sensation of movement, and your surroundings.

  • Mindful Eating: Turn meals into a mindfulness practice by eating slowly and savouring each bite, paying attention to the flavours, textures, and the experience of nourishment.

Mindfulness at Work:

  • Start Your Day Mindfully: Begin your workday with a brief mindfulness exercise. This could be a few minutes of deep breathing or a short daydreaming session.

  • Mindful Listening: Practice active, mindful listening in meetings and conversations. This enhances understanding and communication, leading to more effective teamwork.

  • Mindful Breaks: Take regular short breaks to practice mindfulness, recentering your focus and preventing burnout.

Practical Techniques

  • Body Scan Meditation: Spend a few minutes scanning your body, noticing sensations without judgment. Even better, as you scan your body, say to yourself “Now I notice how my shoulders are relaxing, feeling so calm with any tension melting away like snow on a warm sunny day.”

  • Mindful Observation: Choose an object and focus on it for a few minutes, observing every detail. For example a flower or a painting, and observe it intently for a few minutes, noticing details you might usually overlook.

  • Gratitude Reflection: At the end of each day, reflect on three things you are grateful for.

  • Mindful Journaling: Spend a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts and feelings without censorship.

  • Nature Connection: Spend time in nature, observing the environment with all your senses.

  • Five Senses Exercise: Take a moment to notice five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste. This helps ground you in the present.

  • Mindful Walking: While walking, pay attention to the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your steps, and how your body feels as you move.

  • Single-Tasking: Focus on doing one thing at a time. Notice all aspects of the activity, whether it's washing dishes or typing an email.

  • Mindful Listening: In conversations, focus fully on the speaker. Listen without planning your response, just absorbing their words and emotions.

  • Mindful Stretching: Gently stretch your body, focusing on the sensations in each muscle group as you do so.

  • Coaxing a pet: If you are blessed with a pet at home, next time you coax their fur, truly notice the sensation of their fur on your hand, as opposed to doing this as a habit without really noticing.

Ready to Embrace Mindful Productivity?

Begin incorporating these mindfulness practices into your routine and watch as your focus, productivity, and overall well-being transform.


If you are struggling with this, or your thoughts are in a difficult place. Try this, its so simple but works. I developed this in a difficult full year of cancer treatment my wife went through, to pull my head out of future catastrophising thoughts. This is one of the most popular techniques in my workshops and coaching sessions. Ready?

Where ever you are.

Look down at your feet - yep actual look at them!

And ask yourself (in your head or out load - up to you)

“Where am I right now?” then

Answer the question!

It’s so simple, but pulls your thinking out of past or future thinking mode, to your physical reality right now.

In Derren Brown’s book “Happy” he does not suggest looking at your fee, I think this is important, but asks himself a great question -

“Do I have a problem right now?


Quick recap:

  • The science of mindfulness and its impact on brain function and stress reduction.

  • How to layer mindfulness onto an existing habit.

  • A list of practical mindfulness techniques for daily life and work.

See you next week. If you haven't already, follow me on LinkedIn and hit the bell for daily posts on tips, insights and techniques.

Want more? 

When you're ready, 3 ways I can help you:

1. My book - Nuclear Powered Resilience

If you want to either build a high level or resilience or overcome a past trauma that is holding you back - check out my book.

2. Build self confidence and resilience fast - £48 training course

I have developed my book into a course to help you fully implement the benefits of my book.

Golden Resilience Habit

3. Work with me 121 - start with a FREE 15 minutes exploration session.

Lets have an open chat and explore how I can help you and what is troubling you.

If we both think we can work together and I have what you need we can go from there.

Want to explore what else I do? including corporate speaking, coaching and workshops - say hello in an email and let’s explore together.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, really hope this helped. Contact me if you think I can help you further at [email protected].

Happy thinking.