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Welcome to Episode 32 of ProdPod, the podcast of productivity lessons in two minutes or less. I’m Ray Sidney-Smith, your productivity guide.
What do MRIs, Buddhist monks and meditation have to do with each other? It turns out, your productivity. There are many studies past and ongoing [here’s a recent article of one such study] that reveal that meditation has innumerable benefits for helping the mind focus, which is one of the key ways in which we can take advantage of our productive hours of the day. However you express yourself secularly or spiritually, calling it meditation, prayer, quiet time, introspection or otherwise, as long as you focus your attention calmly and steadily, you can gain the mental benefits. By the act of teaching your brain to focus, the rest of the collateral benefits in your productive life follow naturally.
I’ve meditated for many years and here’s a quick exercise that I still practice to this day when I find it difficult to let go of my day ahead, or the day’s events.
With eyes closed, sit in a relaxed, quiet space. You may need ear plugs. And, you should turn your electronic devices off and put them somewhere outside of the room. Start at a small number, say, 20. Breathe deeply through your nose into your stomach (otherwise known as “diaphragmatic breathing” or “yogic breathing”), hold for a moment, and then slowly exhale to the count of three. As you do this, keep your hands rested supine on your legs to combat restlessness and raise your chest slightly as you inhale on occasion to fix your posture. Count silently, “Twenty.” Take another deep breath into your diaphragm and repeat as you count down to one. Increase the number of your breaths as you find more time to meditate or reduce the number and tuck several sessions throughout the day.
There are many meditative practices, so while this exercise may not fit you forever, use it while you find one that does. Your productivity will be glad you did.