There are times when we all struggle to focus on tasks ahead of us. If we do not know how to manage this, we often end up procrastinating or abandoning the task altogether. We can however, practise some mindfulness activities that can help improve our overall focus for better well-being and productivity. Here are some quick mindfulness activities you can practise at home, school or work:
#1 – Breathing focus
When you first wake up in the morning, stay in bed for an extra 2 minutes and focus only on your breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly, paying careful attention to your breathing. Allow the thoughts of the days to come and go while you focus entirely on your breathing. If your mind wanders, bring it back by focussing entirely on your breathing.
#2 – Mindfulness relaxation
This activity can be done pretty much anywhere. The ideal way to do this is before you start any task so you can boost your concentration levels. For example, before you start reading, take 10 minutes to close your eyes, sit up straight and relax. Again, focus entirely on your breathing, paying close attention to the sensation of inhaling and exhaling deeply but gently. To help your mind focus on your breathing, silently count each exhalation.
#3 – Apply focus and awareness to everything your do
The objective of mindfulness is to unclutter your mind by keeping it sharp and clear. Instead of trying to multi-task, you choose to focus on the single task you are doing. Be aware of internal and external distractions as they creep in by being focussed and aware of the single task you are doing. This is the opposite of multi-tasking. Your productivity increases and mistakes decrease when you concentrate only on the present moment and task at hand.
#4 – 60 seconds mindfulness performance breaks
Try to regularly stop what you’re doing during the day and focus on your breathing only. This will help clear your mind and stay alert especially in moments where you feel flustered and confused. Whenever you find a minute to spare, these small bursts of 60 seconds mindfulness performance breaks can refresh your concentration levels and help your stay alert throughout the day.
#5 – Do absolutely nothing when commuting
Whilst commuting, do not reach for your phone, iPad or any other distraction device. Turn everything off and focus on the present moment. Allow the thoughts of the day to pass while you focus on your breathing. The essence again is to let go of doing anything and simply be. This will help you let go of all the stresses of the day and the commute so you can return home feeling calm and fully present.
I hope these activities inspire you to focus, be calm and stay present. Remember, it takes practise and it’s absolutely OK if you don’t manage at first. The trick is to focus on breathing and allow wandering thoughts to pass through your mind without engaging in any of them.
*Source: Improving Teacher Hapiness & Well-being: A collection of expert resources (Iris Connect)