How Being Mindful Saves You Money
Practicing mindfulness can help you save money and build better relationships
Skip straight to the skinny on mindfulness saving you money
In many work cultures being busy is a sign of success. Being able to juggle multiple tasks and do two things at once means that you are needed, capable, and important. But what happens when a ball is dropped or you do too many things in a mediocre way and nothing very well? Productivity fails and so does quality all for the sake of checking one more thing off the list.
I have two stories for you.
I used to say that I get my best ideas on the way to the bathroom. Fortunately, I knew the long walk through the building to the bathroom and could space out. It was often the only breaks that I would take throughout the day and the only time that I wasn’t concentrating on a task at hand. My mind was open to whatever big thoughts had been trying to surface but couldn’t break through my focus.
The other night, I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea to relax. I filled and started the electric kettle, opened the tea bag and put it in my cup. The next moment I remember staring at the steaming kettle and wondering where on earth I put my mug. I found my mug with the tea bag tucked away in the cabinet where the clean mugs go. As soon as I had put my tea bag in the cup I started thinking about something else and habit kicked in.
These two stories are wildly different from one another. The first reminds me that taking time away from intense concentration can actually help me during the times where I need to focus.
The second story signifies the dangers of “multi-tasking” and not being fully present. I use quotations around multi-tasking because it is a word that describes an action that is impossible. You can’t successfully do two things at once. I’m either focused on making a cup of tea or running through what I’m going to do next. Sure, I might be able to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time but am I actually concentrating on both of them? One is just repeating a motion using momentum while my focus is on the other.
Sure, I might be able to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time but am I actually concentrating on both of them?
I’m no psychologist. But the work that I do with people around being more effective at work almost always includes a conversation at some point about becoming really aware of how you spend your time. And there are a lot of linkages to mindset and being effective. With these discussions, we discuss ways to become more focused. Time blocking, reading emails only at certain times of the day, not scheduling focused work when you know you will be hitting your after-lunch slump.
Many people get the feeling that multi-tasking creates issues with memory and productivity. This article from Psychology Today points to scientific research on multi-tasking and how it relates to reductions in cognitive control, memory problems, chronic stress, depression, and productivity. Who among us, couldn’t deal with a little more peace, less stress, happier moods, and the feeling that we got a lot done with our time.
Another approach to explore is the practice of mindfulness. How can I be fully in the moment and give my complete attention to the task on hand? The screenshot shows a survey taken through Insight Timer, a popular meditation app. The lesson worked through during the meditation that day was about mindfulness and as you can see from the results, thinking about what’s next is a common way that people space out.
Ways to tie the practice of mindfulness to our day to day lives:
Consider spending ten minutes on a practice such as the 40-day course with Insight Timer. There are many resources out there such as Calm, Chopra, your local yoga studio, Compassion Institute (https://www.compassioninstitute.com/the-program/compassion-cultivation-training/) to name a few.
Stay in the present. Even if you’re not into a guided mindfulness practice you can begin each task with an intention to stay in the present.
Take deep breaths. The simple act of focusing on your breath can change your heart rate, clear your head, and bring you to the moment.
Take a few minutes for yourself. Surround yourself with something you love like a delicious drink, a relaxing candle, a cozy blanket, a beautiful plant, or a meaningful momento.
Practice gratitude. Make a list of things that you are grateful for. Tell someone what they mean to you or how they have helped you.
Forgive. Remove the urge to dwell in the past by learning from mistakes, sharing disappointments, or working out why something happened or shouldn’t happen again. Do the work to forgive yourself or others so that you can feel complete.
Learning how to be more present can help you to save more time and money by:
- Creating ultimate focus and decreasing time spent on a project because of distractions
- Eliminating the need to do things twice because they were poorly done the first time
- Improving relationships with clients, vendors, co-workers and employees
- Improving the delivery of products and services by improving listening and comprehension skills
- Decreasing stress and sick time while improving overall health
- Increasing happiness and engagement
You aren’t alone.
Most people that come to me for help are high achievers responsible and capable of huge tasks. More than 75% of the time, a clearer picture of financials is the most important task we can start with. Understanding your budget and potential helps make strategic decisions for hiring new staff, opening new stores or creating a solid team culture. Focus your time and attention on what is going to bring you the most value for your time investment.
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