Productivity and Calmness

Monk Meditating Sketch

While there are certainly many productivity hacks available to you, I can think of none greater than calming yourself.

I can’t tell you how frequently I find myself completely overwhelmed with things to do, schedules to meet, and customers to keep happy. Each time I find myself in this situation I always try to take a step back and reflect on the circumstances. More often than not, when I consciously analyze my situation, I realize that I’m overreacting to pressures.

I’m worrying too much, pushing too hard, and not spending enough time reflecting on what it is I’m doing as a whole.

The solution to all this, of course, is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax. And I don’t mean relax as in “Just relax, man!“. I mean relax as in literally relax.

Close your laptop, turn off your phone, and spend 15 minutes in a quiet room by yourself. If you don’t have this luxury, I’d recommend putting on some headphones and listening to some calm music with your eyes closed.

Try not to think about anything. Clear your mind! The easiest way to do this is to focus on your breathing. Close your eyes, sit still, and take slow, deep breaths. In your mind, think the following two words to yourself as you breathe: in and out, in and out.

If another thought pops into your mind: “I don’t have time for this! I’ve got to email that customer!“, just remember what you’re doing, and refocus on breathing. If you can manage to do this for about 15 minutes, not only will you feel a lot more relaxed, but more importantly, you’ll feel calm.

All those stresses yelling in your head will now only be whispering. You’ll be the one in charge again. Instead of being a slave to your tasks, you’ll be the master.

I find that working in a calm state is far more productive. I think clearer, feel happier, write better, and build better things. Maybe you will too.

NOTE: If you’ve never heard of mindfulness meditation, what I’ve described above is more-or-less a form of it. You may enjoy this book on the topic (highly recommended).