Your Secret Weapon for Being More Productive—and Happier About it

Mindfulness practices help you spend less time working, which frees you up to enjoy the rest of your life.

Sammi Geraci-Yee

Sammi Geraci-Yee

Man working on computer during sunset

Mindful Productivity

Mindfulness has become quite the corporate catchword over the last decade. Employee perks often include meditation, yoga, and mindfulness training. This trend has affected small startups all the way up to the largest companies and organizations, including Google, Apple, and the US Army.

Google provides yoga and meditation in hopes of increasing worker productivity and decreasing employee stress levels. From afar, such initiatives seem like win-win situations: workers learn how to deal with mounting anxieties and packed work schedules while executives harvest the fruits of an ancient discipline with teams of productive employees.

But if your product is distraction, who really wins?

Who does mindfulness benefit when the goal is to drain customer attention, not replenish it?

Two women practicing partner yoga

Mindfulness Evolution

The practice of mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism. The goal is to bring your attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental manner, which is usually accomplished through meditation or breathing practices. Since the term “meditation” classically means “contemplation,” it’s possible to be mindful by focusing your mind on one thought or activity as well.

That’s what psychologists picked up on in the 1970s. Various therapeutic modalities were designed to help people manage anxiety, depression, and addiction. The mindfulness model has since been adopted in prisons, hospitals, schools, veteran’s centers, addiction clinics — you name it. As stated, numerous companies have wrapped mindfulness classes into employee wellness packages.

Mindfulness affects your nervous system by reducing your mind’s habit of ruminating on various (and often negative) thoughts. The benefits range from stress reduction to decreased inflammation, which has systemic effects on your immune system. There’s even evidence that mindfulness practice reduces your risk for dementia.

The development of attentional capacities is an important aspect of mindfulness. Companies predominantly latch onto this feature.

Mindful employees are productive workers, which returns us to the question: Is corporate mindfulness merely a means for forcing employees to churn out more work?