Discover The Secret To Empowering Your Productivity

The Lost Years

At times, it feels as though I’ve lived a 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 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 philosophy mind you, the forebearers of western thought. No, I precious to the arcane ancient esoteric writings of The Vedas, Sutras, and Tao te Ching.  Unlike the Judeo Christian message, so many peers grew up listening to, these scribes resonated with me on a much deeper level.

I was later to discover that the wrong people, were, in fact, the right people. Every person you encounter in life can be your guru if you are open to allowing such. And these misjudged misunderstood educators 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 gradual 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 always and forever everpresent, enduring and powerful.

One such self-revealing truth seeped up through my cranial crevices sometime back during a regular morning tai chi practice. It truly was a eureka moment. A mental 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 envigored 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 best of intentions. 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 Task C.

Stress out woman with too much to do.

If and when you do return to task A you are so mentally and physically exhausted you either 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 busy all day you retire for the evening demoralized, feeling you’ve accomplished very little or worse yet, nothing at all.

Girl tired and stressed.

Like golf, the solution is easy to understand yet difficult to master. It’s all about FOCUS. As the old Chinese proverb states, “Where your mind goes, your energy follows.” The key is learning how to direct your thoughts rather than your thoughts directing 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 moment, is the only time you indeed have. The past is the past, and the future is merely potential. Now is the one time, the only time, that you can control and direct in some manner.

Different Zen affirmations.

Sure, it’s a wonderful platitude this Now thing 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’s going to take time and effort on your part, but the rewards will be immeasurable.

The Practical Practice

Let’s be straight up. You are going to be continuously distracted every single minute of every single day. Just accept that that is the reality of life in the 21st Century. The key 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 easiest way to bring yourself back into The Now. The simplest of which is breathing. When begin to feel distracted by thought, stop and take several deep breathes.

Following the method of breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth forces your mind to redirect it’s attention back to your body. Next, focus on any smells you detect in the air. Then, feel and sense the motion of your chest rising and falling with each breath.

Zen, Buddhism, Yoga, Meditation

Shifting the 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?

“Nature Does Not Hurry Yet Everything is Accomplished.”

Oh sure, I understood in the logical sense. Nature get it’s stuff done. But that one cool crisp morning it’s more subtle sublime message struck me between the eyes. Nature accomplishes EVERYTHING. Not through some hither tither diffused ineffectual approach but rather by remaining utterly and entirely 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 more readily remain on task. Like any new practice, it won’t be easy at first. Jack Nicklaus didn’t win the first golf tournament he played in after all. But with continued effort and self-discipline, you will soon find yourself accomplishing a lot more with less stress and effort.

A content and relaxed woman.

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54 thoughts on “Discover The Secret To Empowering Your Productivity

  1. 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!)

  2. 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. 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.😊

  3. 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. 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

  4. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!)

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

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