How to resist absentmindedness at work

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After doing an action for a considerable amount of time, we all get into a routine and it becomes a habit. Until I encountered the practice of mindfulness, I was unaware of how mindless I was when I commuted to work.

Some may not see anything wrong with that. I didn’t either—until I noticed that I had no idea how I got to work.

A few years ago, a friend reached out to me because she was worried about her memory. When we spoke, she mentioned being forgetful at work.

It had started with her forgetting where she parked her car. This happened a few times and she wasn’t a fan of asking for help. She shared that she also kept forgetting important things shared at team meetings, which proved to be a huge problem for her and her team.

While she mentioned being swamped after a recent promotion, she loved her work. Her forgetfulness was not painting her in a positive light, though.

It was easy pointing out to her what was wrong. Her busy schedule and her need to impress had taken over her sense of focus. She was more engaged in thinking about the future than she was with the present.

Her need for preparation was getting in the way of her being present.

This is an excellent example of how absentmindedness can hurt your focus, productivity, and sense of passion.

It can happen to you anytime, anywhere, and at any age. You may recognise it as being inattentive, distracted or zoned out. Whatever it is, absentmindedness can erode your awareness and keep you in the dark.

When we are absentminded, we cannot be self-aware or aware of the present moment. You lose focus, which lowers your productivity. This can not only harm your efficiency but also your credibility at work.

In this post, we dive into how you can resist absentmindedness at work.

Become aware of what you are trying to achieve or manage

The first step to achieving or managing anything is to be aware of what it is you are trying to achieve or manage.

It’s not possible to tidy a room blindfolded. Just the same, if you try to achieve productivity at work without any focus on what you need to manage, you will not see things objectively and clearly.

Just like it was for my colleague, most of us spend a lot of time thinking about the future or the past. We are lost in thought, blindfolded by absentmindedness.  [link to article, ‘Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform’] This habit is damaging not only for your productivity and success but also for your health and wellbeing.

When you are blinded by absentmindedness, you are not focused or aware. It gradually destroys your self-awareness and the awareness you have of others. How many times have you listened to someone while thinking about the response you are going to give?

Practice mindfulness to cultivate your capacity to be present

Michael always talks to us about how “presence” is the antidote to absentmindedness.

I’ve written in a previous post about how [link to article, ‘Absentmindedness: Diving into the life you're missing out on'] absentmindedness keeps you from being happy, making better choices, and achieving mental and emotional wellbeing as a leader and as a professional.

One of the best ways to resist absentmindedness is to practice mindfulness.

Begin your practice of mindfulness while you commute to work. Pay attention to every action you take when you leave home for work, from locking your front door to closing your garage gate, the scenery during the ride, and where you park your car.

Incorporate mindfulness into your daily habits and routines and become aware of the present moment. See how this practice increases your focus, alertness, productivity, credibility, and happiness at work.

Overcome absentmindedness and take control of your life

Overcoming absentmindedness won’t happen after being mindful for one day at work. You need to practice it consistently to enjoy the real long-term benefits.

If you’re interested, take a look at the Awakened Mind app and see how our mindfulness resources can help you resist absentmindedness. Take control of your attention and become more self-aware, happy, and productive.