by Harald Ackerschott, posted Feb 23, 2013

In his article „A few minutes to refocus“ about Mindfulness in FT, 20th of February, 2013, Rhymer Rigby states:

“ Today’s workplaces are full of distractions and stress – and they are getting worse. Whether it is having to do more with less or the kind of ‚interruption overload‘ endemic in busy offices, managers tend to bounce from one crisis to the next, updating their Twitter feeds and checking email on their smartphones as they go. The problem with this is that they rarely find the time to focus, plan strategies or give those they work with their undivided attention: everything they do is reactive.“

If this is correct for your workplace, and by stress is meant distress, then „a few minutes to refocus“ may be important but may not be enough or might have different consequences. One might be to change your workplace, by actively influencing your and your staffs working conditions or by exchanging your workplace against some other place.

I therefore especially liked the comment of Robert Grant: „Sure, mindfulness training reduces personal stress and increases concentration. but if senior managers view mindfulness training merely as tol to boost productivity and improve employee well-being, they are much mistaken. Mindfulness training results in individuals reassesseing their relationship to their work, to the world and to themselves. The outcomes are likely to be unexpected and far-reaching.“

And let me take this as an opportunity to add one thought about di-stress and burn out: in todays culture, overselling ones own capabilities is getting more and ore of a practice. Self help bestsellers like Hesse and Schrader’s series about how to beat the tests, assessment procedures and interviewers help people get jobs they are not meant to get, and they are not able to cope with: „The Peter Principle unchained“. The stress level who kills one person is probably just the right level of stimulation for the next guy. Don’t get me wrong, I agree, that multitasking is the opposite of concentration, but person – job -fit is just a topic I am passionate about.

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