One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts

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One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts

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Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A very readable look at how mindfulness can make you more effective at work and in your personal life. I found the order of the content a little frustrating, but I'm sure that it will work well for many people.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: November 2015
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1137551900

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Have you ever worked at a task and found your mind wandering to something else? Do you find yourself breaking off what you're doing to answer an email? Do you try to multitask, thinking that you're being more efficient? Do you have far too much to attend to, to complete and nowhere near enough time to do it all?

You do? Me too. You need this book.

Before we go any further, I've a confession to make. I very nearly didn't open the book because of one word on the cover: mindfulness. It's the buzzword of the moment: just about anything that can have the word attached to it has been done over and some of it is more than a little far-fetched. It has a new-age aura to it which puts me off, but I was pressed into reading it and I'm pleased that I succumbed to the pressure.

I will get to the review in a moment (I promise) but I'd like you to try something. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe easily. Now count steadily to ten without allowing your mind to wander from your breathing and your counting. Can you do it? Did you find yourself having to push other thoughts away? I still struggle even after quite a bit of practice. You see, our minds wander and we've lost our ability to focus. The real problem with our productivity is not our efficiency but our attention and Rasmus Hougaard tackles this problem with mindfulness training, mental strategies and sixteen techniques to help us in our business and private lives.

The techniques are varied and cover numerous situations. The one which struck me immediately was a technique for dealing with emails. Bookbag's customers often comment on how quickly I respond to their enquiries, but that's because I'll frequently interrupt bigger tasks when I see an email arrive. It might clear my inbox, but there's a considerable cost in terms of mental focus and it did make me wonder if customers would be any less impressed if they got a reply an hour later. The second technique which has had an impact is the one which enhances sleep. I've stopped reading on a device when I'm in bed and I've rescheduled my sleep patterns to help me get to sleep at the best time. The mindfulness training which I've already managed to master has helped me get to sleep more quickly. I've also found that performance breaks help to refresh me and they can take as little as forty five seconds.

I could see applications for all the techniques, but they did frustrate me. You see, for most of the techniques you need to be able to apply mindfulness, but the techniques are in part one of the book but the foundational practices are in part three. It was rather like being handed a cookery book with a lot of mouth-watering recipes, but with the techniques you require to make them being a lot further on. In fairness Hougaard recognises that not everyone will want to start at the beginning of the book and read through to the end, but as a beginner I lacked the knowledge of where would be best for me to start.

The foundational practices are well explained. They require effort and practice, but are rewarding and even as a beginner I can see improvements in my focus and clarity of thought.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

In the early stages of One Second Ahead I thought that Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe would be a better way to approach the problem, but as I warmed to the ideas in the One Second Ahead I came to the conclusion that they would be very good companion books.

Buy One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts at Amazon.co.uk


Buy One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts at Amazon.com.

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