People who practice mindfulness (being fully focused on the moment) at work—instead of multitasking—increase their productivity while decreasing their stress, says neurologist Romie Mushtaq. “You’re sharper, more efficient and more creative,” says Mushtaq, an expert in mind-body medicine and Mindful Living. She offers these suggestions on how to go about it:
Concentrate on one task for a specified period. For instance, tell yourself, For 15 minutes, I’m going to read through my emails, and then for one hour, I’m going to make my phone calls. Don’t answer the phone. If someone interrupts to ask for help, reply, “I’ll be finished with what I’m doing in 10 minutes. Then I’m all yours.”
If you stall out on a project, change your physical environment to stimulate your senses. “Get up, take a walk outside and look at the flowers and the birds—change what you’re seeing. Or turn on some relaxing music that makes you feel happy.” If you rewire your brain for relaxation, you’ll reduce the effects of stress hormones and unleash your brain’s creativity.
Delegate! “If you can assign a task to somebody else who’s capable of handling it, do so.” Then you can dedicate yourself to your priorities and have less stress in the bargain.