It might sound counter-intuitive at first but the best way to get more done each day is to spend at least ten minutes meditating at the start of each day says mindfulness trainer and the author of The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness Tom Evans.
According to mindfulness guru Tom, 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.
He explains 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, more vital 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.
Mindfulness trainer Tom Evans suggests:
Start 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. If you happen to be awake in the middle of the night, you can use a meditation to get you back to sleep too.
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. As we all have to breathe anyway, this is a good thing. Our breath does more than keep us alive though. The neurons in our brain need oxygen to function and deep breathing puts more oxygen in our blood. Without it, neurons degenerate and die. Our breath quite literally is our source of inspiration.
Be creative while you sleep
What better way to get more things done than to use our sleeping time to be creative? Without a good night’s sleep, our efficiency will drop the next day. You will find a great way to ensure you slumber well is to meditate before going to sleep. If there is something troubling you in business, just write down a question on a scrap of paper and put it under your pillow before retiring. You will probably find you either dream up the answer or awaken with it the next day.
Get 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 has a tendency 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 noticing signs, serendipities and coincidences around you. Such opportunities are always there but can bypass a self-absorbed mind. In essence, 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.
For more from Tom Evans and his meditations go to: www.tomevans.co
Some of the most popular meditation apps are as follows:
The Mindfulness App
Meditation beginners and gurus alike will find lots of options with The Mindfulness App. A 5-day guided practice and introduction to mindfulness helps you get started, and timed guided or silent meditations from 3–30 minutes will suit your busy lifestyle. The app also offers personalised meditation options, reminders to keep you mindful throughout the day, and statistics to track in your meditation journal.
Find calmness, wellness, and balance in your life with this app’s guided meditation and mindfulness techniques for daytime use. Before bed, try any of its new meditations for sleep including music, nature soundscapes, or storytelling sleepcasts. The app builds personalised plans based on a little input from you, so you can learn the essentials of meditation and build from there.
This award-winning app has calming exercises, breathing techniques to help you relax, and even a Calm Kids section with meditations for kids between 3 and 17. The Sleep Stories section features a great mix of voice talent — you may recognise actors Matthew McConaughey or Jerome Flynn — to lull you to sleep. For a mindful experience you can access right from your Apple Watch, there are new breathing exercises, a mindful walking meditation, and calming exercises.
With more than 200 meditations, the buddhify app teaches you how to reduce anxiety and stress, promote sleep, and manage difficult emotions. Practice mindfulness exercises with categories suitable for whatever you’re doing — traveling, at work, waking up, eating, even when you’re online. Sessions range from 3–40 minutes, making this a great option for beginners or experienced practitioners.
Price: Free with optional in-app purchases
Previously known as Stop, Breathe & Think, the meditation recommendations on this app are based on your emotions. Use the app to help identify how you’re feeling, then tame your anxiety, reduce stress, breathe deeply, or sleep better with the short, guided meditations, yoga videos, and acupressure videos. You can also track your mood and overall progress, and check in with yourself daily.
Price: Free with optional in-app purchases
We all have different needs when it comes to meditation. Meditation Studio has a wide selection of meditation practices for different goals: try meditation for health, kindness, happiness, curiosity, or just generally feeling more calm. You can also create your own meditation plan if you want a little bit of everything.
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