Increasing Focus and Productivity

by | Stuff To Read

A 2010 study conducted by Killingsworth et al, at Harvard University, concluded that the average person’s mind wanders 47% of the time.

In today’s world distraction is everywhere and our employees are not immune.  Our always connected mobile devices are compelling us to check emails, message each other, post updates etc…, perpetually shifting our attention away from what is in front of us – our work!

Translated into dollars mind wandering is costly. A person whose salary is $50,000 per year wastes $20,000 in in lost productivity.

Developing a Mindfulness culture in the workplace and teaching employees HOW to better maintain their focus and attention by a modest 10% can save a company thousands of dollars per year.

There are many studies which demonstrate that Mindfulness meditation exercises can improve our ability to focus and reduce mind wandering.  Sustained focus is concentration.  Judson Brewer and colleagues studied the Default Mode Network of our brain.  This is a network of regions that are engaged every time we “do nothing”.  It’s the network responsible for self-referential thinking and mind wandering.  Researchers studied novice and experienced meditators and compared the activity of this region while meditating.  They found that experienced meditators had less activity in this network and this seems to indicate they have an increased ability to prevent their minds from wandering.  Brewer and his colleagues also studied the connectivity pathways between the executive centers of the brain (the pre-frontal cortex) which is responsible for our cognitive functioning and the emotional centers (limbic system and amygdala) and they found that there was increased connectivity in the experienced meditators.  This seems to indicate an increased ability to regulate one’s own emotions through cognition.

Both findings together indicate that with Mindfulness meditation training we can learn and train the brain to maintain focus/concentration in our everyday lives as well as when we are in a potentially distracting emotional state of mind.

Encouraging employees to practice breath meditations and insight meditation practices will help increase their skills of concentration and emotional regulation.

Let us help you roll out a Mindfulness strategy to help increase your overall productivity.

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