It might sound counter-intuitive at first but the best way to get more done is spend at least ten minutes meditating at the start of each day, says Tom Evans.
The normal human mind can only experience one thought at a time. So, if we mull over the past or fret about the future, we lose focus on what we should be working on and our efficiency drops accordingly. The practice of mindfulness meditation does not teach us how to have no thoughts at all, but instead to form a new relationship with our thoughts.
So while many people turn to meditation to help reduce stress or anxiety, there is a more practical incentive to start meditating each day. The time we invest comes back to us many times over as we become more creative, more productive, more vital and generally luckier and happier in life and in business.
What’s more, these days there is no need to find a guru or travel to an ashram for a silent retreat for two weeks. There are many free or inexpensive meditations and meditation apps available. So if you have a smartphone, you already have access to a ‘guru’ in your pocket.
Starting something new
If you are starting a new practice, it’s a win-win if you can stop something else you don’t like doing at the same time. So, first thing in the morning, instead of checking emails or social media, still use your phone or tablet but instead listen to a guided meditation or some ambient music. If you happen to be awake in the middle of the night, you can use a meditation to get you back to sleep too.
The inspirational breath
Many meditations use the breath as a point of focus. This is because when we think of something other than what we are thinking about, the original thought tends to fade away. As we all have to breathe anyway, this is a good thing. Our breath does more than keep us alive though. The neurons in our brain need oxygen to function and deep breathing puts more oxygen in our blood. Without it, neurons degenerate and die. Our breath quite literally is our source of inspiration.
Being creative while you sleep
What better way to get more things done than to use our sleeping time to be creative? Without a good night’s sleep, our efficiency will drop the next day. You will find a great way to ensure you slumber well is to meditate before going to sleep. If there is something troubling you in business, just write down a question on a scrap of paper and put it under your pillow before retiring. You will find you either dream up the answer or awaken with it the next day.
Getting in the zone
Once you have meditated every morning for one or two weeks, you will find it easier to maintain the meditative state with your eyes open. When you do this, you will find two things happen. Firstly, time takes on an ethereal quality and you will discover your tasks get done within the time you have available. Secondly, you become better able to maintain your focus as you reduce interruptions from what is known as your ‘monkey mind’, which has a tendency to wander of its own accord.
Just in Time
So, after only a few weeks of regular meditation, you will find you get more done with less time. At the same time, as your mind is less busy, you become better noticing signs, serendipities and coincidences around you. Such opportunities are always there but can bypass a self-absorbed mind. In essence, you become luckier and find that you only have to think of something you could do with one day and it seems to turn up, like magic, the next day. What’s so good about this is your investment is only ten minutes a day.
Author: Tom Evans
Tom Evans is the author of The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness, and 12 other books on creativity and the nature of thought. The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness comes with 10 complimentary, and complementary, 10 minute guided meditations. This includes one that shows you how to get into the meditative state with your eyes open. It is available in print, for ereaders or as an audiobook which includes the meditations.
Tom is also one of the most popular guides on the most popular free meditation app, Insight Timer. You will find free sample meditations there, as well as enlightening podcasts on mindfulness and meditation selected from his Zone Show podcast.