Wednesday, 6th September

Our Secret To A Productive Day: Meditation

There’s an old Zen proverb that says you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day. Unless you’re too busy, in which case you should sit for an hour. But in this crazy 24/7/365 world that we live in, is it realistic to think we can simply down tools or tablets and do…nothing?

You know what it’s like. You’re super-busy at work and you simply don’t have time to take a break. If you stop now, you’ll never get that job finished and you’ll have your boss breathing down your neck until it’s done. So you soldier on. But the reality is, the longer you work without a break, the more you slow down and the less you will achieve.

Now imagine a different scenario. Instead of moaning about how much work you should be doing, you’re surprising yourself with how many breaks you’ve taken – and you’ve still been more productive that your colleagues. You’re cool, calm and collected and you can’t wait to head for the gym as soon as the clock hits six.

That’s the beauty of meditation. It helps to refresh your body, clears your mind and helps you to cope with the information overload that is an unavoidable part of daily life. Many people who practice meditation every day say it helps them to resist urges and distractions. And studies suggest that regular meditation can result in better focus, reduced stress, better team work and a greater ability to prioritise effectively. All of which will impress your boss far more than a desk full of empty coffee cups and half completed projects.

So, what’s the best way to meditate and when should you do it?

If you’re new to meditation, then keep things simple. Sit cross-legged, on a cushion or the floor, with your back straight and your eyes closed. Rest your hands gently in your lap with your palms facing upwards and the tips of each thumb touching.

Close your mind to all thoughts and start to concentrate on your breath. Notice each breath in…and every breath out. Then start to think about the spaces in between each breath. If your mind starts to wander, push any thoughts away and bring yourself back to your breath.

If you find it difficult to concentrate, try this simple technique to help you relax more deeply. As you start to breathe, say to yourself, “I am breathing in 27…I am breathing out 27. I am breathing in 26…I am breathing out 26. See if you can count all the way down to zero.

That’s all there is too it. But remember, although it sounds easy, meditation is quite an art and you’ll need to keep practicing tuning your mind into a balanced, happy state that’s focussed and productive.

To introduce meditation into your daily routine, start with five minutes in the morning when you get up, five minutes at lunchtime, five minutes after you return home from work, then five minutes before you go to bed. You’ll soon start to see the benefits in your working life, as well as at home, in your sleep patterns and your general health and well-being.

Suddenly, doing nothing won’t seem like a waste of time after all.


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