Gaining Productivity by Slowing Down
Many people hire me to help them achieve more each day yet they’re frazzled and overwhelmed by the tasks already in front of them. When they come to me, they’re stressed out, working 60 to 70 hours a week. They can’t remember the last time they took a vacation. One attendee at a workshop I hosted recently simply froze and went numb when asked to write down a list of ideas and actions on her mind. It was just too much.
Part of my job is to help clients regain control of their work lives. Ironically, to get more done we also have to learn how to relax. When we relax—even for a short time—we gain access to creative ideas and become clearer on the direction our business needs to go. So, when I meet clients who are maxed out on stress, rather than dive into the work side of things, I suggest we start by slowing everything down for just a few minutes using mindfulness meditation.
Below is a meditation technique I teach clients. It takes just two minutes and can be practiced throughout the day.
Sit in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose.
Resume your natural breathing pattern, concentrate on your breathing as it enters and leaves your nose. As you focus on your breathing it naturally begins to slow down.
If a thought comes into your mind acknowledge it, let it go and focus back on your breathing. Feel your breath enter and leave your nose.
If you hear a noise, acknowledge it, then let it go. Whether you hear the traffic whizzing by, the sound of birds singing, people talking in the office, acknowledge it, let it go and focus back on your breathing.
Notice any tension and release it. Many of us hold stress and tension in our bodies. Do a scan of your body starting at the top of your head. Relax your face, your jaw, your neck, your shoulders and arms, your hands, your chest, your mid-section, your back, and your legs and feet.
Continue to focus on your breathing. When you are ready, open your eyes and move into your next action.
Be present and mindful with what you are working on, just as you did in meditation.
All of this sounds so easy but I know it can be difficult. I am grateful for the progressive parents I had who practiced meditation and taught me to do it as well. But I can tell you, it was tough as a six year old to stay in the lotus position and mediate. Minutes felt like hours. And, even with all that practice, it can still be a struggle today when I go to the Zen dojo (http://www.zenarizona.com/ ) and sit for two hours.
So, don’t worry if you have trouble doing this on your own. There are lots of different apps and websites that can help. There are even guided mediations online that might make it easier to focus, leading you to a place of calm. A local Mesa massage therapist Angela Powers of Inner Light Wellness has her own guided mediations.
Here’s one of my favorites on youtube
A yogi or a guru, I am not, but what I can tell you is that meditation is a fantastic way to take a break in your workday. It can help you to stay calm which in turn can keep you productive and organized.
Margo Brown is a Productivity Coach and Professional Organizer with Wave Productivity. She works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She serves the Tempe and Phoenix area in Arizona. If you want to get feel more calm and relaxed in your workday or struggle with the stress from work overload-- call 602-677-8275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.