How to get more done in a day

~ Daria’s Wednesday Wisdom column ~

How do you begin your day? For most of my life, I jumped right into a task as soon as I walked in my office. I felt like I was getting more done that way! When that task was done, I zipped on to the next one. Then I took lots of little (or not so little) breaks because I was working so hard. (Well, it made sense at the time, lol!)

In dealing with my increasingly busy days now, however, I am reminded of a joke. It says that Ghandi meditated for one hour at the start of every day, without exception. Discussing a particularly demanding day that was coming up, he told his assistant that he would have to meditate for two hours to start that day.

When the joke is told properly (sorry), you expect Ghandi to skip his meditation to better jump into his busy day. The absolute last thing you would expect is to spend even MORE time meditating!

Yet meditation has been proven in studies to calm us, relax us, and improve our thinking and effectiveness. It also can benefit your physical health. If you can get more done in less time because of it, then you certainly have time for meditation.

Start today with just 5… no, how about streeeeeetching into 6, 8 or 10 minutes a day! All you have to do is sit comfortably and feel your body or watch your breath. As sounds, thoughts, and life’s craziness rise around you, notice it, name it (thinking about my meeting, noisy kids, big worry, ankle still hurts, truck in street…) and let it go. Breathe it out if you like.

Just for a few, blissful minutes. Close your door. Take the phone off the hook and enjoy having NO responsibilities for a few minutes. When does THAT ever get to happen?

The Secret about Meditating

Beginners are often relieved to hear that there is no way to answer, “What should meditation feel like when I get it?” It feels like you, sitting quietly, naming the craziness of life and over and over, returning to the calm center that IS inside you. The masters never get to a magical point where they “have it.” You probably aren’t doing it wrong. Meditation is a practice, like playing soccer or lifting weights. You just keep getting better and better at it.

The more you practice, the faster you return to calm after interruption. The more you meditate, the faster you can return to calm when you are not meditating, for instance when the baby is crying, your boss is phoning, the pasta is boiling over, and the doorbell rings.

How can you commit to living an easier life, right now, by starting your day with a few minutes of meditation? Put it in your calendar. Do this at home before you go to work, on the train or bus in the morning, or first thing when you get into your home office.

Try it out for just 10 days and let me know how it goes, and whether you have any questions. (Hint: Which days are more productive for you, the ones that start with meditation, or the days you forget or “don’t have time”? Yeah, me too.)

(c) 2012 Daria Boissonnas