Get More Done by Doing Nothing

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If you’re like most other folks, chances are you wake up in the morning and use your smartphone to tackle your email before rolling out of bed. Rather than taking some time to clear your mind, collect your thoughts and strategize your approach to the day, you immediate fill it with clutter.

Ever wondered why you’re so stressed and tired come 2 p.m.?

With so many tasks on your plate—appointments to keep, clients to satisfy, projects to complete, strategies to devise—it can be hard to find the time to take a breather and just relax. Remember, downtime is an essential component of success—you won’t be able to produce at your highest level when you’re burnt out.

While we can’t really control what problems and projects will arise over the course of a typical workday, we can control the first minutes of our mornings (for now, at least). So, when you wake up, instead of seeing what your most demanding clients or bosses felt you just had to know in the email they sent you at 2 a.m., you might want to consider setting some time aside for yourself, clearing your mind through meditation—a practice which has proven to reduce stress.

Meditation dates back to at least 3,500 BC. Over the millennia, practitioners have benefited from the relaxation technique in countless ways. Let’s take a look at five ways meditation will help you become more productive.

6093566215_aafea727c8_bYou’ll know yourself better.

If you keep yourself busy enough, you’ll probably have an easier time suppressing some of your thoughts—unconsciously or otherwise. But the more you’re in touch with your inner self, the more self-aware you’ll be. Meditation grants you better insight into how your behavior affects others.

By maintaining a continual dialogue with yourself, you’re able to admit your shortcomings and work on becoming a better person. You’re also confronted with your strengths and your weaknesses. Knowing yourself fully allows you to delegate certain tasks to the right people rather than stubbornly tackling them on your own.

You’ll be sharper.

When you meditate, your brain slows down and clutter is removed from your mind. (To see this phenomenon illustrated, check out this piece on Lifehacker.) As your heart rate decelerates and you become increasingly relaxed, you become much better prepared to take on the day.

Meditation gives you the gifts of better memory and a longer attention span. You’ll be able to concentrate better, and your focus becomes much clearer.

By taking a few minutes to start your day with meditation, you’re making sure that your mind is able to easily handle the rigors of the fast-paced world of business.

You’ll be more relaxed.

In addition to making you a more obnoxious person to be around, stress is bad for your health. It can exacerbate disease, make you look older and take over your emotions.

To be successful in your professional life, you need to do everything you can to rid yourself of stress. Meditation is a pathway to relaxation, allowing you to find peace in the present moment. That peace can be brought to the office, and with a clear mind, you’ll be able to conquer mountains of work while not letting the stress get to you. You’ll remember there are much more important things in life.

2002937136_3e0790aff2_oYou’ll have more energy.

By calming yourself down and unwinding your thoughts, you’re able to conserve a considerable amount of energy you’d otherwise spend dealing with issues on both conscious and subconscious levels. A clear mind allows you to exert your energy more uniformly, giving you the endurance you need to get through the increasingly longer workweek.

Believe it or not, unresolved stress is one of the biggest sources of energy drain. In addition to helping you sort out all your problems, meditation also boosts your stress tolerance level, so you’ll be able to calmly handle a whole lot more.

You’ll be kinder.

When you understand yourself better, you understand more about how you’re perceived. You understand more about others. In fact, studies have shown that meditation increases social connections, improves empathy, boosts resilience and generates helpfulness.

What kind of person would you rather be around?

The world’s busy, and it seems to be getting busier. If you care at all about your success, your health and how others perceive you, it might be time to think about putting your smartphone down for a few minutes and trying to start or end your day with meditation.

Before you know it, you could be well on your way to becoming a happier and more productive person—all without having to spend a penny.

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