Mindfulness and … communications?

What, you say? Yoga mats in the office? Meditation?

Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now: why we should do it, how to do it, its application in different industries and the dangers that can happen when we multitask. Yet most of us in service-related businesses still multitask on a pretty regular basis.

So no, this isn’t about yoga in the office, it’s about why communications professionals are some of the biggest offenders of multitasking and how it’s actually sabotaging our creativity and therefore our client service.

My realization about the link between mindfulness and creativity and client service wasn’t so much a lightbulb moment; it was more a gradual nagging sense that the natural curiosity I always had about things was waning. It felt like my brain couldn’t possibly process any new information because I was always in a state of output. As a result I no longer sought out new material – I just let it flow around me, sometimes absorbing it and sometimes not. When you’re constantly producing material, reviewing someone else’s material, or meeting a deadline, how can you possibly explore, learn, integrate, practice and then deliver anything new?

As client service professionals I think we are hesitant to appear that we are wasting time, not delivering value or 100% focused on our clients. Yet, that lack of attention to ourselves is exactly what kills the creativity. And lack of creativity is an often-cited reason for clients looking elsewhere.

I’ve experienced situations in which it was clear the client or colleague expected I was to be available 24/7 and oh by the way, always immediately. Unfortunately the work product that often results from that scenario is reactive, standard fare lacking in uniqueness and creativity. I would rather be the person delivering proactive, creative and different ideas, that’s why I’ve forced myself to start taking a few hours each week to think and see where it takes me.