By @SimonCocking. Review of Working with Mindfulness: Keeping calm and focused to get the job done 1st Edition, by Michael Sinclair (Author), Josie Seydel (Author). Buy the book on Amazon here.

While you may think this is another new age aspect to modern life, the authors of the book aim from the very outset to demonstrate to you why there are practical business benefits to increasing your levels of mindfulness. At times while reading it, it did seem to move into the meditative world a lot, but perhaps that is something we could be embracing more. Lots of big hitters endorsed the book including Google, Facebook,  Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution.

‘Full of easy-to-use ways to bring the power of mindfulness into the workplace. If every business used this book, the world would be a much better place.’

It certainly can be a challenge to stay focused at work with the multiplicity of different status notifications clamouring for our attention. There is the old reliable email, but also twitter notifications, LinkedIn, Facebook, and potentially also snapchat, whatsapp, and oh so many more. Potentially made even worse if you have chosen to also have a smart watch notifying you of every update to all of those (and more) just mentioned. For this reason there is probably value in having a heightened sense of how to differentiate between important and ‘urgent’.

In this age of machine driven data it’s clear that there is still a value on people with good social skills. As James Caan says “not only will better recognition and promotion of soft skills benefit the economy, it will also make a significant difference to the businesses, careers and lives of young people”, (p 153). To illustrate this, they suggest that up to 3 hours a week can be spent on conflict resolution on average in working environments (p156). The implication is clear, training your staff in compassion could well lead to greater productivity!

The ongoing assault on our senses from digital notifications is a challenge. Janice Marturano comments ” there is no work-life balance. We have one life. What’s most important is that you be awake for it.” Ideally this is an awareness you then embrace in a positive way and consider what it actually most important, for both your company in your working role, and in your own life also.

The book has a series of resources and suggested exercises at the end of each chapter, and aims to give you practical takeaways to help you in separating the non relevant flashing notifications from what is actually important. Humanity has constantly adapted and evolved in the face of changing circumstances.  Simon Mainwaring describes the challenge faced in the following words

“We need to develop and disseminate an entirely new paradigm and practice of collaboration that supersedes the traditional silos that have divided governments, philanthropies and private enterprises for decades and replace it with networks of partnerships working together to create a globally prosperous society.”

Many other influential people are then referenced in terms of the importance of following a values driven motivation including the Dalai Lama (naturally) and Richard Branson “by giving our employees choice and treating them like the capable adults they are, we’ve been rewarded with increased productivity, innovation and happiness in our workforce.” Eckhart Tolle also stresses the importance of being present in the moment, rather than over focusing on what might happen in the future.

It’s a thought provoking book, even if at times you felt yourself putting the book down to then deal with, and still be annoyed by issues arising that you knew you should be dealing with in a more serene manner. That will be the challenge, as always, of putting theory into practice!


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