IT MIGHT sound counter-intuitive at first but the best way to get more done is to spend at least ten minutes meditating at the start of each day, says Tom Evans, mindfulness trainer, meditation guide and the author of The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness.
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 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.
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.
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 tends 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 at noticing signs, serendipities and coincidences around you. Such opportunities are always there but can bypass a self-absorbed mind. 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.