Discover The Secret To Empowering Your Productivity

The Lost Years

At times, it feels as though I’ve lived my life based on inspirational quotes. All those juicy metaphysical pearls of zen wisdom strewn and strafed across the internet’s fertile landscape.

The Zen Future

I do possess, at the very least, a somewhat cursory awareness of Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. Most of it acquired rather inauspiciously during a very chaotic and questionable period in my life. The Lost Years of the seventies were spent wastefully hanging around the wrong people on the wrong streets doing the wrong things.

I was on a slippery slope back in my late teens. The details of which are neither here nor there. Suffice it to say I wound up adrift in a very unforgiving place. That’s when and where I discovered that rock bottom indeed has a basement.

The Shift

But I digress, for it was those same streets that gave birth to my fascination with philosophy. Desperation can be one hell of a motivator.

Ancient book near a candle

Not the Plato or Socrates style of philosophy mind you, the forebearers of western thought. No, instead, I was drawn more to the arcane ancient esoteric writings of The Vedas, Sutras, and Tao te Ching.  Unlike the Judeo Christian message that so many of my peers grew up listening to, these venerable scribes resonated with me on a much deeper soul level.

I was soon to discover that the wrong people were, in fact, the right people. You see, every person you encounter in life can be your guru if you are open to such. And these misjudged misunderstood masters of the street taught me some very precious life lessons indeed.

Amen For Zen

Jump ahead several decades, and I am still to be found wading knee-deep in the muddied waters of life’s mysteries. Some abiding and self-evident while others still, unraveling layer upon layer so gradually as to be almost imperceptible. Waiting as it were for the young student’s mind to be openly able to receive.

Two young students in a forest

Truths that are at times empirical but more often than not observational. Though notwithstanding, always and forever present, enduring and powerful.

One such self-revealing truth seeped up through my cranial crevices sometime back during my regular morning tai chi practice. It truly was a eureka moment. A monumental shift that can skyrocket anyone’s personal productivity, as it has mine.

Mastering Your Mind

Tell me if this sounds at all familiar. You begin your day off invigorated and renewed, determined to get that laundry list of tasks completed. And so you jump right in and grab task “A” by the horns with the very best of intention. That is of course until your mind decides to act as a personal saboteur.

Either visually or mentally you quickly become distracted by Task “B”. You decide it best to just get it out of the way, fully intending to return to Task “A” forthwith. But soon enough, the pattern repeats as once more you abandon Task “A” scurrying off to address Task “C”.

Stress out woman with too much to do.

If and when you do finally return to task “A” you’re so mentally and physically exhausted either you complete it haphazardly or not at all. This sporadic piecemeal approach results in you never giving a single task the full attention it deserves. And though seemingly busy all day you soon retire for the evening demoralized, disillusioned and feeling like you’ve accomplished very little or worse yet, nothing at all.

Girl tired and stressed.

Akin to the game golf, the solution is easy to understand yet difficult to master. As the Chinese proverb states, “Where your mind goes, your energy follows.” The key lies in learning how to direct your thoughts rather than having your thoughts direct you. In other words, ‘Be Master of Mind not Mastered by Mind.” 

Living in The Now

Often, you will read or hear about “living in the now.” It’s a straightforward concept that most people comprehend at least on an intellectual level. You can’t deny it’s honesty. The Now, this very moment, is all there truly is. The past is the past, and the future is merely potential. Now is the one time, the only time you can exercise some control over and direct to a degree.

Different Zen affirmations.

Sure, it’s a wonderful platitude this Now concept but how do you actually achieve it? How do you find that sweet spot where you are totally in the pocket? Well, to be frank, it’s not easy. It takes time and effort on your part, but the rewards are immeasurable.

The Practical Practice

Let’s be straight up. You are going to be continuously distracted every minute of every day. Just accept that that is the reality of life in the 21st Century. The secret to remaining focused is not to give those distractions any undue attention. As respected Soto Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki stated, “Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.”

Zen Secret

Breathe

Utilizing your Five Senses is the quickest and easiest way to bring yourself back into the Now. The easiest of these, the olfactory, involves merely breathing. When you notice you’re feeling mentally distracted simply stop and take several deep breathes.

The simple act of breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth forces your mind to redirect it’s attention back to your body. Feel and sense the motion of your chest rising and falling with each breath.

You can deepen this focus by counting to four on the inhale and six on the out. And even deeper still by giving attention to any smells you may detect in the air in and around you.

Zen, Buddhism, Yoga, Meditation

This simple act of shifting focus from your mind to your body will inherently bring you back to The Now. It’s unavoidable.

So what about that eureka moment I spoke of earlier? Well. it’s elementary yet complex.

“Nature Does Not Hurry Yet Everything is Accomplished.”

Initially, I only understood this in it’s logical sense. Nature get it’s stuff done.

But on that cool crisp morning the more subtle sublime wisdom of the message struck me like a punch between the eyes. Nature accomplishes EVERYTHING. Not through some hither tither diffused ineffectual approach but rather by remaining entirely and utterly focused on the present moment, The Now.

When Eating, Eat. When Walking, Walk

By instilling this new habit of continually returning your mental focus to The Now you’ll remain on task more consistently. Like any new practice, it won’t be easy at first. Afterall, Jack Nicklaus didn’t win the very first golf tournament he played in. But with continued effort and self-discipline, you will soon find yourself accomplishing a lot more with a lot less stress and effort.

A content and relaxed woman.


56 thoughts on “Discover The Secret To Empowering Your Productivity

  1. Michael David Oyco says:

    Had a laugh on the last one but it makes sense. Focus. Thanks!

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you for taking the time.

  2. I need to practice more of what I preach to my kids.. finish the task at hand.. focus… dont distract yourself (and here i am with zillions of tabs open on my laptop and alt-tabbing between them!)

  3. It’s really hard to stay focused in this multi-media age. A lot of things seem to be going on, not just in our minds, but around us as well. Thanks for sharing these tips. I’ll try to implement this. Especially the breathing exercise.

    1. tenzendude says:

      It is difficult to master. My morning tai chi helps set my tone but it’s still a struggle. That said, my Productivity has greatly improved so slowly but surely it’s working.😊

  4. Surekha Busa says:

    Such great tips.. I really want to do the last tip, it’s kinda hard to not think about anything else.. I really wanna clear my mind especially when eating.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Use of the senses is helpful. Smell the food, what’s its texture like, how does it taste. Great masters have indicated that this type of engagement allows to live more fully each moment. Thank you for your comment

  5. It’s hard to focus now especially we have different social media platforms. But It is important to empower our productivity to accomplish greatness 🙂

    1. tenzendude says:

      It’s not easy that’s for sure.

  6. Planning and, after it, focusing on what you are doing now is the best way to put together present and future! great tips, thank you

    1. tenzendude says:

      Planning first is a great suggestion. Thank you Sabrina.

  7. I just realized that I’m a person who can’t focus on one activity. I can’t even use the internet with only one tab open. Haha! I’m a very multi-tasker. But when I’m with the people I love, I make sure to disconnect with the internet.

    1. tenzendude says:

      I am sure those you love appreciate it. Thank you for your comment

  8. These are some very helpful tips, many I could do with thats for sure. Planning makes a huge difference

  9. Great tips, in our busy world it is hard to keep focused but I really need to try to apply your advice.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Today, it is more difficult than ever and yet, more important.

  10. Being present in the moment is so necessary yet still so challenging. This is something I am constantly working on.

    1. tenzendude says:

      It is a tough thing to master indeed.

  11. It may seem simple but focusing can be really difficult. I think multi-tasking is the problem and we live in a world where it’s all people do. Great post!

    1. tenzendude says:

      I try my best not to fool myself into thinking I do well. Best to handle one thing at a time and give it my full attention.

  12. In a world of many distractions, it is important to be mindful, meditate and be in the present to improve one’s productivity 🙂

    1. tenzendude says:

      It is indeed at that. Difficult but not impossible.

  13. Great tips. Focusing can surely be tough, especially with so much going on around us. I started doing yoga last year and tuning out the world to accomplish one pose and the time it took helped greatly with focus in other areas of my life.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Perfect. My sister actually instructs yoga classes.

  14. Some incredibly good points! And a lot of stuff that I’m occupuying myself with lately too. It was very interesting to read, and I definitely had some “Wow” moments!

    1. tenzendude says:

      Would that be “Now Wow” moments? 😉

  15. The post is very inspirational for me as I struggle not to stress out about the little routine things. Speaking of “now”: I recently read the book called “The Power of Now” and it was such a game changer! High recommended

    1. tenzendude says:

      I’ll look into it. And we all stress out to some degree or another so go easy on yourself.😊

  16. Being present and living in the present is so very important. I know that I need to do it more often. I do get distracted far too often, even when meditating.

  17. Blairvillanueva says:

    So many distraction and temptations surrounding us and it’s up to us what to pick, or resist. Thanks for your inspiring post!

    1. tenzendude says:

      You are most welcome.

  18. I need to read Plato and Socrates again. It’s been way, way to long!

    1. tenzendude says:

      Lol. Have at er.

  19. I feel like my life is, work, cook, sleep, work, cook, sleep on repeat. I could really do with saying yes to more opportunities!

    1. tenzendude says:

      Reminds me of the old adage, “Everyone dies but not everyone lives.”

  20. Eileen M Loya says:

    This is a real eye opener. As I was reading your post, it made me think of how I go by my days – stressed, chaotic, anxious and I end the day with a really tired body. I am letting go of my multitasking self. I need to focus on one task at a time.

    1. tenzendude says:

      You will be much more affective doing so.

  21. I am always multitasking and at times I do lose focus. I need to start learning to focus on one thing at a time.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Less is more sometimes.

  22. Some good tips!
    It was very interesting to read, and I had few “Wow” moments!

    1. tenzendude says:

      I am glad to hear that. Thank you.

  23. Great tips! and i completely agree that doing anything with great focus is the key. Have a schedule which inclused proper eating does helps.

    1. tenzendude says:

      True, and time spent out in nature helps with creativity as well.

  24. This speaks to me so much because I do get too easily distracted. I will try your method to focus on my breathing to bring me back into the here and now. Thanks!

    1. tenzendude says:

      You are most welcome.

  25. while i have realized that multi-tasking is truly not possible, and i do try be aware of all that is around me and be in the now, i do tend to lose focus.. and that is one thing i need to work on (not just tell my kids about!)

    1. tenzendude says:

      One must practice what they preach. Not that I am any expert. Lol

  26. Anna de Nord says:

    When eating, eat. When walking, walk. Seems so easy to do, but requires some practice before achieving this result – when eating, eat… Distractions are everywhere!

    1. tenzendude says:

      Oh yes, without a doubt. It is an ideal that we strive for but may never fully achieve.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Fully in the moment. Thank you.

  27. Bindu Thomas says:

    These are great tips, few which we would already know but never practice. The easiest way to follow these tips would be to start practicing with your breathing I think.

    1. tenzendude says:

      That is a good starting point indeed. Thank you.

    1. tenzendude says:

      Thank you for taking the time Shahid. Happy New Year.

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