NOT ONLY CAN YOU INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY BY DOING NOTHING, you also improve you health and well-being.
When we think about this we know this is a universal truth. Think about how unproductive you are when you lack sleep. Think about how productive you are if get plenty sleep. The title of this blog is slightly misleading because we are always doing something even if we are sleeping; however, the point is that rest, quiet, and stillness (RQS) are the three best ingredients for improving productivity (Click to Tweet this)
Doing nothing requires only three ingredients Rest-Quiet-Stillness
This concept of doing nothing has taking me 40 years to understand and to apply in my daily life. I want you to start now because it has been so powerful for me and Metabolic Effect (ME). If you follow the ME lifestyle you have probably heard us say “Push until you can’t and rest until you can.” To be productive and to optimize your health one should follow this universal truth. How long can you be productive without sleep? How sustainable is it to workout nonstop for 2-3 hours everyday. How sustainable is it for one to work nonstop for eight hours?
Overtime, working long hours is not sustainable for productivity or anything else for that matter, including your health. Is it even true one can work nonstop for eight hours without rest? The concept of working harder and longer in order to attain your goals is a dangerous myth. Eventually your brain will drain, you will lose creativity and your body will be zapped of health.
How many of you know the feeling? You come home from a stressful day at work and plop yourself down in front of the TV or computer. You may sit there watching programs like reality TV or the news. All the while you do not realize that watching TV is not truly allowing you to relax and recharge. On the contrary it is draining your will-power battery and your health. You think you are doing nothing, but watching TV does not actually have the ingredients of rest, quiet and stillness for both the body and mind.
So, what is the best way to do nothing so that you can be productive?
It is meditation.
And meditation requires only three ingredients RQS. In other words, it requires finding a space that is relaxing and allows you to be still, restful, and quiet both physically and mentally.
Meditation is one of the best medicines for increasing productivity. And guess what, it costs nothing. In fact the most difficult thing about it is just doing it. Once you do this you will improve your productivity and health. Meditation has all the components of improving your creativity and productivity: rest, quiet, and stillness. In fact there is some research that suggests it is a good substitute for sleep.
Many people feel like they are awful at meditation. This is impossible if you can be aware of your thoughts.
So how does one meditate?
All meditation requires is a striving or intent for focused attention and an awareness of your mind wandering. Notice I said “striving” for focused attention. If your intent is to focus your attention and you take the time to do it, then you will be a good at meditation.
How much time should I meditate for?
The amount of time is really individual. I would try to set aside at least thirty minutes a day, however if this is not possible then do 5 minutes a day on even just 1 minute. Once you get into the habit of doing this you may begin to realize that 30 min – 1 hour is more optimal. I have at times during meditation caught myself feeling like only 5 min went by when in fact 30 min or 1 hour have past. The rule of thumb is consistency, not how long.
When should one meditate?
In my opinion it should be a time when you can find a quiet space. For me this is in the morning before the rest of family gets up. Evenings will also work, but for me it is difficult to find the quiet space at this time. The other reason I like mornings is because it enables me to be very productive for the rest of the day. My daily goals are easily attainable when I meditate first thing in the morning.
What if my mind is constantly racing?
Then you definitely need to meditate, because this usually implies you being in a high stress state. Chronic stress leads to chronic health problems and part of the cure for chronic stress is meditation. And as long as you are aware of this and take to the time to meditate you will see and feel the benefits.
Meditation requires focused attention on something. Perhaps focusing on a spot on the wall or spinning fan or maybe just a thought or do what I like best, focus on your breathing. As you strive to maintain focus you watch and catch your thoughts wandering. When you catch them wandering bring your attention back to what ever you are focusing on.
One of the reason I recommend focused breathing is because of it’s profound health benefits. Many people do know how to breathe and have no awareness of it at all. Before sleep, nutrition, and exercise, breathing is the most important medicine. In fact, focused breathing should be one the first interventions with any chronic health complaint. Yes, focused breathing in the context of meditation can cure headaches, reduce pain, decrease blood pressure, and assist in alleviating most other physical complaints. The mental/emotional benefits of meditation, in my opinion, far outweigh the physical benefits even though the two are inextricably linked. If you improve one the other will improve too.
It is interesting to me that all the ancient sages and teachers including: Mohammad, Buddha, and Jesus used meditation to gain understanding. I find in my own meditation that my mind brings me many insights and clinical pearls to help me in my daily life and to help my patients and clients. Many new ideas or ways of framing old ideas are elucidated through my meditations. The biggest benefit I see with meditation is how productive I am on a day-to-day basis. Quiet restful stillness is a wonderful teacher and motivator.