Can software development benefit from mindfulness?

Software development requires concentration and focus, an understanding of designing, coding, languages, and programming and how they all work together. It can also require comprehension of technology, science, engineering, and math. Clearly, a lot of brainpower goes into being a software developer.

In order to keep that brainpower in a positive flow, it’s important to train mental clarity, the science and techniques behind the mind to avoid stress; this can all be done through mindfulness.

Mindfulness promotes your emotional intelligence (EI) – strengthening mental resiliency, building a clearer mind, and embracing a happier inner self – all helping to create a brighter outlook. Enhancing all of these emotional traits and raising your self-happiness translates to better confidence, improved communication skills, and greater interpersonal relationships.

However practicing mindfulness is not the goal itself, but rather a means to reach your goals. Numerous studies have shown that changing one’s inner landscape (values, emotions, thoughts) through brain fitness can free the mind of anxiety, pressure, and negativity. Remove this mental clutter and replace it with greater EI and you’re left with enhanced creativity, greater aptitude for thinking, and a better ability to stay within the present and task at hand. For a software developer, having a clear, balanced and focused mind can be a tremendous asset while striving to produce high-quality software and aiming to balance work with life.   

Hopefully you see how mindfulness, if it becomes part of your life routine, can help you become a more efficient software developer. But where do you begin?

Keep it simple. Incorporate a few daily habits and go from there. Following is an action plan that we have incorporated at TimeXtender and one that you could consider to help you begin the journey to mindfulness.  

1. Perform mindfulness meditation
Engage in weekly 15 minutes of onsite or online mindfulness sessions to train mind and body awareness. Allocate time in a designated quiet area to perform meditation, breathing, and relaxation exercises to reset yourself during a busy day.

2. Study “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”  
The 7 Habits program is a key element in helping us understand our inner being and an important shared company language.

  1. Becoming proactive and taking action helps you achieve self-mastery.
  2. Beginning with the end in mind and planning and working to achieve that end-state helps you move from dependence to independence.
  3. Putting first things first enables you to prioritize items by importance.
  4. Thinking win/win strengthens your ability to work with others.
  5. Seeking to first understand then to be understood allows you to become more empathetic, setting the stage for a more positive environment.
  6. Having synergy aims to help us become better teammates and achieve goals in tandem with our colleagues.
  7. Sharpening the saw provides us with improved health, energy, and mental renewal.

3. Study “Minutes of Silence”
Research has shown that when we make time for silence to focus our awareness on the present moment – we improve concentration, creativity and our ability to focus on the task at hand.

Start all meetings, both online and onsite, with a moment of silence to land, focus and connect. Put worries, past meetings, stress, drama and moods aside.

As many others in the tech field have experienced, having a rudimentary understanding of mindful techniques and science certainly applies to one’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand, rather than daydreaming about a software project (or a vacation) six months down the road.

At TimeXtender, our employees and software development team are well-versed on these principles and consider them part of our company’s DNA & corporate culture.

In the end, there’s no right way or wrong way to engage in mindfulness. But one thing is for sure: we’re not trained in school on how to nurture and exercise our brains. Most schools still only teach professional skills.

However, based on years of scientific research and medical reports about the power of mindfulness, more and more companies are now taking on the responsibility to educate and train their employees, including their software development and engineering teams, on how to improve their well-being and performance at work. Short of that, you might consider doing the same on your own.

About Anne Krog Iversen

Anne Krog Iversen is the co-founder and chief DNA & culture officer at TimeXtender, where she built, implemented, and manages corporate mindfulness throughout all of its global offices and has made it an integral part of the company’s DNA.