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How to Stop, Breathe and Find Mindful Productivity

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As serendipity would have it, Wework, NYC a co-working company that builds communities to empower people to do what they love, came across my desk, just when I needed to write my next blog post. Sometimes we need these friendly little nudges of inspiration to get going and take action.

I happily stumbled across a post, on how to save time by doing less. I am all about doing more with less and exploring ways to simplify. It's what I practice and preach. This list resonated with me and serves as an excellent reminder to be the best you can be and focus on your priorities, what really matters.

In the fast paced world in which we live, there is something really attractive about simplifying and doing less while accomplishing more. Shortening down the 10-page to-do list with perhaps, one. The sound of this might make you cringe, but it is possible.

Here are a few suggestions to ponder. It might be worth your time:

Stop, Pause and Breathe

Often, I say to clients, "we don't know, what we don't know." It takes quieting down our busy minds to see things with a fresh perspective and find the space to lead. We need to stop, push the pause button and step outside of the 'to-do bubble' for a few moments, to better understand what is working and what is not working.

Stop, pause and breathe. Sounds simple, right? It works. Conscious, diaphragmatic breath, meditation and mindfulness will lead to greater focus and productivity, saving time in the long haul. Moreover, you will be a happy soul for it.

Relax and Calm the Body, Tame the Mind

By pausing and taking a few breaths, you can relax and calm the body and mind. Take a time out, allow yourself to get curious, ask yourself these questions:
  • What am I doing and why?
  • Is it serving me in a balanced way?
  • Is it feeding and fuelling my energy or is it depleting?
Patterns and habits run deep, and if we find ourselves on auto-pilot, perhaps it is time to regroup and fuel positive change.

What You Focus on Grows

I realize as an entrepreneur that we all have tasks that are not so desirable, but when done with awareness and kindness, it will go much smoother. Making a 'conscious' choice and intention to do less, while still gaining the benefits will prove fruitful.

Questions worth reflection:
  • Do you intentionally use your time wisely or are you distracted by 'busyness'?
  • Do you respect your own time and others?
  • Are you on time or always running late from one meeting to the next, trying to catch your breath?

Mind Over Matter. Focus and Visualize Your Highest Priority

How we manage our thoughts and attention are critical. According to Science, on average our minds wander 46.9 per cent of the time -- a significant chunk of the day; we may not be paying attention and on auto-pilot. Think about your commute to work -- do you remember what happened?

Cultivate present moment awareness. Try focusing on one thing at a time with undivided attention, until it is complete. If it is a larger goal, break it down into smaller chunks, so that you save time in the long run.

Quickly we can get distracted, with an email request or a trip down the social media abyss, to discover that the day has passed without accomplishing the goals or tasks originally laid out. Time is precious, live it as though it is your last day and focus on what matters most.

Choose wisely, stay present, visualize success and desired outcome.

Find Your Natural Rhythm of Productivity

Perhaps, a paradigm of the past is the 9-5 workweek. Have you ever noticed that some days trying to get things done is like pushing water up hill? We proceed by forcing our way through and end up with misguided actions that lead to a lackluster finish. You see, we have this great ability to align ourselves to our natural rhythm by following an internal clock -- listening to the needs of our bodies, as well as the moon cycles.

I've been able to tap into super productive times and have backed off at other times to listen to the needs of my body. I know when to rest and rejuvenate, coming back stronger, clearer and ready for the next challenge in renewed ways. Try it, you may just find yourself, working smarter, not harder. Why not align yourself with the force of Mother Nature?

Create a Toolkit for Less Busy, Less Stress Days

Explore a daily ritual, not intended to become another item on your 'to-do' list that helps you ease into the day by setting regular times for meditation and mindful breathing. Commit to stopping for awhile and notice the beauty of your surroundings. Take three to five diaphragmatic breaths -- it can change the course of the day.

Above all, we can only work with what we have and continue to be grateful for it. Time is precious, so use it wisely. On the right stuff, that is.

"Notice that very often, the very first things we give up are those that nourish us the most, but seem 'optional.'

The result is that we are increasingly left with only work or other stressors that often deplete our resources, and nothing to replenish or nourish us -- and exhaustion is the result." - Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

Another lovely resource: LESS, Accomplishing More By Doing Less, by Marc Lesser, CEO, The Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.

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