Espresso Breakfast Briefing | Corporate Mindfulness

Ann O'Mahony 02.11.2016

“The overwhelmed employee is the most significant human capital challenge for Irish organisations. Information overload and the 24/7 work environment are contributing to reduced productivity, reduced decision making and lower levels of engagement”.

Deloitte´s Human Capital Trends 2014: ”Engaging the 21st Century Workforce”

Rasmus Hougaard, CEO of Potential Project describes the modern work environment “Pressured, Always-on, Information Overloaded and Distracted – the PAID reality”. That is not going to get better any time soon.

The PAID reality leads to ‘Attention Deficit Trait’ (ADT). ADT is a term coined by author and psychiatrist Dr. Edward Hallowell, and featured in his Harvard Business Review Article, “Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform.” 

One comprehensive study shows 46.9% of the time our mind is wandering from the task we are doing. The study also found that ‘A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind’ which became the title of the published research. The mind often wanders to the things we put off doing because we don’t like doing them, or to the things that we suddenly realize we forgot to do. As our minds become more distracted, we become more inefficient, ineffective, overwhelmed, stressed and disengaged. 
Take a look around your own organization.

See if you notice evidence of ADT?  

  • How do your people manage their attention using digital communications? Are they typically ‘always-on’, reacting to emails, texts, and messages as they come in? Multiple studies show the more time we spend on email the more emails we get. 
  • When people are in meetings where are they mentally? If they are checking emails what impact does this have on the meeting? On the actions that come from the meeting?
  • How effectively are people planning and prioritizing? 


In a 2001 article “The Attention Economy”, published in the Harvard Business School Press, Thomas Davenport from the Accenture Institute of Strategic Change said “Understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of business success.”  

So, what can you do to help your people to ‘understand and manage attention?’ 

3 Practical Tips   

Below are 3 simple ways to reduce distractions and help people be more productive in the PAID reality. 

  1. Take one-minute silence at the start of meetings, inviting people to gather their thoughts. This allows people to arrive mentally as well as physically, and helps them to be more present. 
  2. Agree your meeting culture. Turn off all digital distractions, i.e. smartphones, computers, etc. 
  3. Establish a personal discipline around how you use digital communications. e.g. only log in at scheduled times during the day.  

You can find many more practical tools and techniques in the book ‘One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance At Work with Mindfulness’ by Rasmus Hougaard, CEO of Potential Project.

To find out more about the work Potential Project do please contact:
Grattan Donnelly
Senior Trainer & Country Director
Potential Project Ireland 
m. 086-2252737 

Potential Project is a global leader in Corporate Based Mindfulness Training (CBMT) programs. Regular mindfulness training - like going to the gym for the mind – enhances people’s ability to focus. Our programs are highly practical, providing participants with tools and techniques to integrated their enhanced focus throughout their workday, through mindful emailing, meetings, communications, planning and prioritization, etc. This enables people to be more focused, clear, and productive and less stressed and distracted. 
Potential Project clients include Kerry Group, Accenture, Microsoft, Societe Generale, Roche, Google and many other leading organisations. 

Register for our next Espresso Breakfast Briefing: Corporate Mindfulness on Tuesday, 22nd of November in Morgan McKinley, Dublin.

Register here

Ann O'Mahony's picture
Operations Director