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Blog > 10 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Manage Your Time Better

10 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Manage Your Time Better

Create a more purposeful use of your time
woman practicing meditation in front of her laptop

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Time management transcends the basic act of scheduling your day. It’s a sophisticated skill set that involves delegation, discerning the value of your tasks, and making high-level decisions. Mastering time management is often more challenging than it appears, requiring a blend of strategy and insight.

Enter mindfulness, a technique that can elevate your time management to new heights. Defined by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as the practice of “maintaining attention or awareness on the present moment without making judgments”, mindfulness sharpens your focus on how you spend your time.

Incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can fundamentally alter your approach to both work and leisure, fostering a more purposeful, efficient, and productive allocation of your time.

Mindfulness Practices and Time Management Benefits

The concept of mindfulness often conjures images of meditation and deep breathing routines, yet its applications extend far beyond these practices. Mindfulness can seamlessly integrate into your daily life, allowing for moments of presence and awareness even amidst a busy office setting—no need for dimmed lights or closed eyes. Additionally, mindfulness can be experienced through activities like forest bathing, where a walk becomes an exercise in sensory engagement and reflection. The essence of mindfulness lies not in the duration but in the depth and richness of the experience, transcending the constraints of time.

As long as you’re actively keeping your focus on the present moment without making judgments, you’re engaging in mindfulness. This practice is straightforward, yet it requires consistent effort to master. With regular practice, you’ll find that your ability to maintain a state of mindfulness or meditation will extend for increasingly longer periods. This dedication to mindfulness can unlock a multitude of advantages, as many individuals have already realized.

According to a survey from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health “in survey responders who practiced mindfulness meditation exclusively, 73% reported that they meditated for their general wellness and to prevent diseases, and most of them (approximately 92%) reported that they meditated to relax or reduce stress. In more than half of the responses, a desire for better sleep was a reason for practicing mindfulness meditation.”

10 Ways Mindfulness Can Aid in Time Management

In addition to the general wellness and stress reduction benefits, mindfulness can also enhance your professional life as well. Here are ten ways mindfulness can aid your time management and help you reach your professional goals.

1. Enhanced Focus

The more you practice focus through mindfulness and meditation, the easier it gets to maintain focus. As Penn State University reported, a Massachusetts General Hospital study found that mindfulness increased gray matter in the brain, which could help improve focus, as well as the ability to learn new things and remember things both short-term and long-term.

So, how does mindfulness contribute to better time management? Effective allocation of time is rooted in focused attention. Mindfulness not only aids in honing your concentration for future task planning and time allocation, but it also allows you to dissect your tasks mindfully. In doing so, you’re practicing time management and mindfulness concurrently. Experiment with integrating the Pomodoro technique into a mindfulness session and observe the impact it has on your productivity.

2. Stress Reduction

If you find that you struggle with time management simply because you’re so stressed out and anxious, mindfulness will help.

Studies have found that mindfulness meditation practitioners experience less psychological stress, anxiety, and depression. So, plan for intentional mindfulness breaks with deep breathing throughout your workday and consider practicing regular meditation or deep breathing before particularly stressful tasks, or every morning or evening, for long-term benefits.

3. Better Decision-Making

When you lower your stress and enhance your focus, better decision-making naturally follows. With greater mental clarity, you can be more efficient and effective with decision-making, versus making decisions from a place of stress or anxiety. As such, consider practicing mindfulness or meditation not just before tackling particularly stressful tasks, but also before making any pivotal business decisions.

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4. Prioritization Skills

As alluded to above, when you can slow down and mindfully approach time management, you can be more intentional about organizing your time around your goals, priorities, and values. As your mind slows down and you focus singularly on allocating your time wisely, in the present, you can make better overall decisions.

Consider starting the day with meditation and then mindfully laying out your day, so you can prioritize the right tasks, rather than jumping into the day and trying to mark as much off your to-do list as possible, without your goals in mind.

5. Improved Planning

In the same vein, practice mindfulness throughout your day by taking moments to deliberately slow down and assess the time you spend on tasks. When you begin to mindfully map out your schedule, draw upon the insights gained during these periods of heightened awareness. This will enable you to craft a schedule that is as realistic and informed as possible, based on your mindful observations.

6. Increased Patience & Compassion

The same Massachusetts General Hospital study linked above also found that participants who practiced mindfulness and meditation increased brain density in areas of the brain that help control emotional regulation, emotional salience, and the ability to take on different perspectives. As such, it can be inferred that mindfulness and meditation can increase your soft skills, allowing you to deal with delays and disruptions to your time management that may stem from others.

For example, by practicing mindfulness, you’ll likely find that when an important meeting is rescheduled at the last minute, wasting your valuable time, you’ll react with acceptance and compassion, versus frustration.

7. Self-awareness

Just as mindfulness enhances your perception of immediate time management requirements and priorities, it also sharpens your awareness of your emotions and feelings. Growing self-awareness allows you to observe the ebb and flow of your moods and their correlation with productivity levels. With this knowledge, you can strategically align your schedule to coincide with periods of heightened productivity.

For instance, if you recognize a pattern of increased frustration and diminished productivity as the day wanes, it’s wise to tackle the more demanding tasks during the times when your focus is at its peak earlier in the day.

8. Goal Setting

As mindfulness makes you more aware of yourself, how much time your tasks truly take, and what your priorities are, you can then create more realistic and achievable goals. During one of your mindfulness sessions, consider setting SMART goals or reexamining your current SMART goals, to ensure they align with your true intentions and priorities.

9. Delegation

Your mindfulness practices and self-reflection may reveal that you need to ask for help. If so, begin delegating tasks to appropriate team members.

10. Reflection

Lastly, of course, one of mindfulness’s most valuable benefits is simple reflection. As you take the time to truly reflect on your life, goals, personal needs and other elements of life that impact your professional growth and satisfaction, you’ll gain all the insight that comes with that reflection and can change course accordingly.

As such, consider taking five minutes at the end of each day to mindfully reflect on what’s working and what’s not, and how you can manage your time better.

The Bottom Line

Mindfulness is a transformative practice that not only sharpens your focus but also enhances your ability to manage time effectively. By integrating mindfulness into your routine, you can achieve a more intentional, efficient, and productive use of your time, both professionally and personally.

Looking to further enhance your or your team’s mindfulness and overall health? Schedule a consultation call to learn more about our Corporate Wellness offerings and how our team can support you.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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