by Josh Millar
For busy professionals, the idea of sitting silently for ten or twenty minutes can feel pointless, frustrating, or just plain unrealistic. You’re checking emails on the way to a meeting, finishing paperwork as you eat lunch, and on a work call as you commute home. When are you going to fit in time to meditate? If that sounds at all familiar, meditation could be an incredibly powerful tool for you.
Slow the Pace
Demanding work can often encourage a frantic pace. We feel that we need to rush from one thing to the next, multitasking wherever possible, to get it all done. When we move this quickly though, we’re often not performing at our best. It makes it easy to forget things and let smaller tasks slip through the cracks. This usually ends up costing us more time in the long run. If we can slow the pace and move more intentionally through our day, we can often get the same amount done, without that intense busy feeling. We won’t need to backtrack as much because we’ll be able to give tasks our full attention, and we can stay on top of our game, not sacrificing quality so we can rush to something else. It might feel counterintuitive to slow down, and for many of us it’s difficult, but the benefits of doing so often make it more productive than working at a rushed pace all day.
Recharge Your Brain
Most of us have experienced an afternoon energy drop, a frustrating problem we can’t seem to solve, or the sense of being stuck in a fog. These are all often signs that our brains need a break. When we try to push through them, we’re moving forward on half power, dramatically limiting our productivity. Though you may be feeling the pressure in these situations, taking them as a cue to meditate can turn them into fuel for the rest of your day. Giving your brain time to pause lets it recharge. You’ll often come back to your work more energized, clear headed, and creative.
Though many people think meditation is about totally silencing the mind, it’s often more about watching the mind. It’s taking a birds-eye-view of your thinking and trying not to attach to any one thought. As you sit quietly, focused on the present, you’ll likely notice how easy it is to get carried away by a thought. One minute you’re present, the next you’re halfway down your grocery list. With practice, we become more aware of the way our mind distracts us, and we learn how to better manage those distractions. This is a skill we can directly apply in the workplace when we encounter distractions there.
Stress can wreak havoc on our productivity. When our minds are full of worries and things to do, it’s difficult to work at our best. Stress limits our capacity to problem solve and it lowers our ability to focus. Daily meditation can have powerful effects on our stress levels overall, and it can be a great tool to use when we find ourselves in a particularly stressful situation.
Sitting quietly and letting your brain recharge can have a powerful impact on your productivity. Though it can feel illogical for ambitious professionals to slow down, it’s worth noting that many of today’s top leaders and thinkers meditate regularly. If you’ve never meditated, know that it doesn’t necessarily mean a silent hour of sitting cross-legged on the floor. It’s a flexible practice that you make work for you. Maybe you find five or ten minutes sitting in your chair at your desk. Or perhaps a quiet walk at lunch gives you the space to practice. There are even some great apps out there to guide you. If you haven’t given it a try or want to get back into a routine, don’t underestimate the value of meditation.