Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Whether you’re a college student or a working professional, productive habits are imperative to sustain since they help you accomplish goals, such as studying for a test or completing a large project. But sometimes, distractions get the best of us during these important moments of time which puts a dent in our ability to succeed. Therefore, that poses the question: how do we continuously stay productive and focused on the task at hand then?
From personal experiences during finals week in college and a fair share of office jobs, I can tell you that meditation is one of the best practices to implement into your daily life, not just to pursue self-improvement, but to increase productivity as well.
While it may sound odd to combine meditation with productivity, the two actually harmonize together quite nicely – hear me out! Meditation is a mind and body exercise that encourages you to focus on the state of your psychological and physical well-being, bring awareness to your breath, and relax. When we work, we need to be in the right mindset to create quality work, feel energized to continuously power through, and need to stay calm when in the face of an unexpected problem. See how the two parallel one another? Just some food for thought.
How to Use Meditation as a Powerful Productivity Tool
Transport you back to the present moment
This one is for the dreamers! Whenever we daydream or get lost in our thoughts, time does not exist – which proves to be a problem if we’re in the office and not even halfway done with a day’s project. As a result, we fall exceedingly behind with work and struggle to meet the final minutes before a deadline.
Meditation can come into the picture to help you discipline the flow of your thoughts as well as sustain your attention span. Before you become completely immersed in a train of thought, stop the brain’s flow of traffic. Breathe in and out, and keep doing it until your mind clears and is at a standstill. Then, ask yourself what needs to be done at that moment and do it.
Strengthen your abilities of introspection and self-awareness
The philosophy of meditation encourages developing self-awareness and introspective ability. Therefore, reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of your work ethic in order to understand where certain habits and actions can be improved.
The knowledge of both these elements also propels you to act efficiently when in a team or group setting since you can both contribute your best abilities but ask for help from other team members who make up for certain gaps in your arsenal of skills.
Embrace visualization techniques
You know that Walt Disney quote, “If you can dream it you can do it”? Yes, while that is true, you need to know your plan of action before accomplishing a dream. One of the main mental exercises you can partake in during meditation is a visualization, which is where you carefully analyze future choices that will make accomplishing a goal into a reality.
We always need to think about if what we’re currently doing should actually be a priority in the first place and take action if otherwise.
Ease any bubbling stress and anxiety
I have anxiety, so panic attacks are normal occurrences for me, especially in moments of extremely high-stress. While that may not be the case for you, suffering physical and emotional reactions happens to everyone – and even a person without anxiety can have a panic attack! One of the key characteristics of meditation is purposely keeping one’s breath at a steady and slow pace. When we become stressed, we tend to hyperventilate and tense our muscles, which as a result, kickstarts the production of cortisol and adrenaline in our parasympathetic nervous system: aka make “fight” mode go into overdrive. To combat this issue, you need to implement meditation’s act of cultivating one’s sense of control over their emotional and physical state. Over time, you begin to act rational thanks to this practice as opposed to frantic when facing stress and overwhelming emotion.
Regardless of your occupation, meditation can help you accomplish a purpose, whether that be to help yourself relax during moments of high-stress, sharpen your focus on a difficult task, or even motivate you to plan for the future. Initially, it may seem silly to think that combining meditation and productivity is like mixing water and oil, but both share a single goal: to serve a purpose and provide benefit to you. If you wanted to take improving productivity one step further, then try practicing yoga and meditation simultaneously! Exercising in conjunction with utilizing the psychological benefits of meditation is a recipe for mental nirvana.