What does mindfulness have to do with productivity? On the face of it, they seem like opposing concepts, don’t they?
Mindfulness (for most of us) is associated with pensive reflection and not a whole lot of action.
Productivity, on the other hand, smacks of frenetic activity and output.
Turns out, the two are critical to each other if you want to use your time effectively.
A mindfulness practice helps to cultivate a proactive mindset which means you make better (quadrant 2) decisions as we saw in the first part of this 5 part series.
When you’re proactive, you’re more likely to focus on the 1% of your efforts that yield 51% of your results.
If this sounds like complete gobbledygook to you, then check out the third video in this 5 part series. You can access it on the YouTube channel.
And if you’re mindful when you do your Pomodoro sprints — which is exactly what we do within the Productive Insights membership program — when we rate ourselves after each sprint in terms of our focus levels for that sprint, you get EPIC results!
So here’s the fifth and final video in this Productivity 2020 series. If you find the video useful, please do leave a comment below and share it with someone who might benefit.
Ash Roy (00:01):
Did you know that Novak Djokovic currently ranked number one in the world in tennis at the time of this recording used mindfulness to get him to world number one and to stay there more on that later in this video, But for now, I want to talk about how you can use mindfulness to take your business to the next level and grow profitably, provided you use it consistently and you combine it with the previous four techniques taught in this five-part series in productivity in 2020. By the end of this video, you’ll learn how to use mindfulness to focus on the things that really matter in your business while still maintaining a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. Companies such as Google, Intel, and Goldman Sachs have embraced mindfulness wholeheartedly and are getting awesome benefits from it. Mindfulness has revolutionized Google. Every year. Google employees take a course called search inside yourself, and the waiting period for this course is six months long.
Ash Roy (01:04):
Inspired by Google, Intel introduced the awake at Intel program and it’s delivering great results to Intel and their employees. Even Goldman Sachs has embraced mindfulness. Fancy that, huh? And investment bank embracing mindfulness. Sally Boyle, the head of human capital at Goldman Sachs said in years to come, we’ll be talking about mindfulness as we talk about exercise now. So there’s no question that mindfulness delivers awesome benefits and they’re there for the taking for you right now. So I hope you can embrace these techniques mentioned in this five-part series, including this one on mindfulness and achieve awesome results in your business while still living a wonderful lifestyle. Now, like all the other techniques discussed in this five-part productivity in the 2020 series, mindfulness is simple but not easy, particularly when it comes to using it consistently. The thing is it’s easy to do, but it’s also easy not to do so.
Ash Roy (02:06):
It’s important that you develop a consistent practice and you do it a little at a time. If you want to know more about how to develop consistent habits, check out this video with James clear where I talked about atomic habits and how he has built a system to use habits to increase his productivity and his effectiveness exponentially. By the way, if you haven’t watched the first four episodes in this five-part series, I recommend checking out the links in the notes below this video and you’ll be able to access all of them. And while you’re at it, I recommend subscribing to our YouTube channel, which is packed with more ideas just like this to help you to grow your business profitably and fast and to increase your productivity and your effectiveness while still living a wonderful life. So be sure to subscribe and click on the bell icon to make sure you don’t miss out on any future updates.
Ash Roy (02:59):
Now, before we dive into this particular episode, let’s do a quick recap on the first four parts of this productivity in the 2020 series. And if you haven’t watched each of those four parts, I highly recommend you watch them. Once again, the links are below this video so you can access those four episodes easily. In the first part of this series, we talked about the Eisenhower matrix and the importance of focusing on the important but not necessarily urgent activities in your workflow. These were quadrant two activities and they were strategically important activities that helped you to move your business forward while still generating a high level of profit. In part two we talked about systems that you can check out here and systems is an example of a quadrant two activity that enables you to leverage your time more effectively while still delegating the important tasks to other people in your team.
Ash Roy (03:52):
In part three we talked about the 80 20 rule or the Pareto efficiency theory, which explained how 20% of your effort delivers 80% of your results. And when we took that two levels further, we found that 0.8% or approximately 1% of your effort delivers about 51.2 let’s say 50% of your results. The question was, how do you find that 1% be sure to tune into that video to find out how to zone into that 1% of your effort that delivers 50% of your results. And then in part four, we talked about the Pomodoro technique. And the Pomodoro technique is basically working in 25-minute sprints with five-minute breaks. People choose to work in 50 minutes sprints and 10-minute breaks. You can work with your own permutations and combinations of it, but the key idea here is you use the Pomodoro technique to work in sprints.
Ash Roy (04:42):
And these sprints helped you to overcome procrastination and overwhelm and really get you moving. They help you to build momentum in your business. So be sure to check out that video on the Pomodoro technique. And that brings us to this video on mindfulness and how you can use mindfulness to grow your business profitably and fast. Now the interesting thing is mindfulness ties into all these previous four principles I just mentioned. Why? Because when you combine mindfulness with these four activities, it’s like putting rocket fuel on a fire. So how does that work? Well, if you think about it, mindfulness allows you to stay in a proactive mental state, and we look at that a little bit later in this video, but when you are in a more proactive mental state, you’re more likely to focus on the activities that deliver a higher result for the time invested.
Ash Roy (05:30):
The quadrant two activities, the activities that have a lot of leverage, you’re more likely to focus on the 20% of your work that delivers 80% of your results. You’re more likely to pick one strategically valuable task and then apply the Pomodoro technique to your situation and get sprinting. You make better choices when it comes to what tasks you focus on and what tasks you delegate. So what does mindfulness put? Simply it’s the act of focusing on the present moment and being self-aware while using your breath as an anchor. The Oxford mindfulness center describes mindfulness as the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose in the present moment with compassion and open-hearted curiosity. That’s it. Shortly we’ll go through a very simple exercise that walks you through this mindfulness process and helps you to get started. But let’s have a quick look at some of the benefits of mindfulness.
Ash Roy (06:25):
Studies have shown that mindfulness reduces stress levels overall, and what that means is you’re less likely to be reactive. Mindfulness helps you to improve your concentration. It increases your emotional intelligence and helps you make better decisions in each present moment. It helps you to focus on the here and now, which is really the only point of impact you ever have. Using mindfulness helps you to naturally identify the self-destructive patterns and the act of identifying these patterns helps those patterns to just drop away. That’s just how our minds are built. You don’t even have to make a concerted effort at dropping your self-destructive patterns once you start becoming aware of them. It also helps you to reduce multitasking, which leads to context switching. And in my view, that’s one of the most destructive things when it comes to increasing your personal productivity. Multitasking and context switching are generally terrible for your productivity, so avoid them.
Ash Roy (07:23):
So how do you practice mindfulness? Let’s go through a short exercise together and we’ll get you started right now. Now if you’re driving, I recommend you don’t do it, especially if this is the first time you’re trying it. This exercise is probably best done when you’re in a more relaxed environment and when you can really focus on it as time goes on and as you get better at this process, you start to incorporate it into your daily activities. But for now, I recommend you find a quiet place where you haven’t got other things taking up your attention and you can focus on this activity. So if you’re driving right now, feel free to go ahead and listen to this, but I don’t recommend trying it while you’re driving. Okay, let’s do it. First. I want you to become aware of your level of centeredness, how calm you are feeling, and give yourself a score between 1 and 10, 10 being the most centered and calm and one being really scattered and very, very unfocused. Have you done that? Great. I remember that number and we’ll come back and revisit that a little bit later on. Now I want you to take three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Ready? One?
Ash Roy (08:54):
Okay. Now I’d like you to become aware of wherever you’re sitting or standing, maybe you’re lying down, and I want you to become aware of your bodily sensations. Specifically, I want you to focus in on that part of your body where you’re making contact with the object that you are resting on. So if you’re standing, I want you to become aware of where your feet are making contact with the floor. If you’re sitting, I want you to become aware of how your body is making contact with the seat you’re sitting on and just become aware of the sensations in that part of your body. Maybe you’re lying down. I want you to become aware of how your body is making contact with the bed you’re lying on and just notice how the sensations feel. Maybe you’re feeling a little bit of tingling. Maybe you’re just feeling a certain sense of awareness.
Ash Roy (09:43):
Whatever it is, that’s fine. Just let it be there. Now, maybe as you notice it, you start to notice those sensations change because sometimes the act of observing sensations actually affects how those sensations manifest and are perceived by you. And that’s fine too. Just notice. Just watch some changes. Now I want you to bring your awareness to the rest of your body. Take that awareness of that sensation in that specific part of your body and move it through your whole body. And tell me how would you describe your breath? Is your breath shallow and fast or is it deep and slow? And as you’re noticing your breath, did you notice your breath change? Maybe it went from being shallow and fast to deep and slow. Whatever it is, that’s fine. Just observe it. No need to change anything. But if it changes, that’s fine too.
Ash Roy (10:35):
I don’t know about you, but for me, most often when I start to focus on my breath, my breath does tend to get slower and deeper. It doesn’t happen every time, but it happens most of the time. And here’s the interesting thing. As my breath slows and gets deeper, my mind tends to slow and get less reactive. I start making better choices around what tasks I focus on, what thoughts I indulge in, what thoughts I choose not to focus too much on particularly the self-destructive ones or the ones that are not beneficial to me. In some Eastern philosophies, this is called skillful thinking. So hopefully you’re starting to see now how your breath is intricately connected to your mind and that you can regulate your mind to an extent by regulating your breath. And that my friends is the practice of mindfulness. Now, as I said before, it’s easy to do, but it’s also easy not to do.
Ash Roy (11:31):
So. Here’s a little trick. One way to get yourself into the habit of practicing mindfulness is to do it. When you wake up every morning, nothing fancy, nothing complicated. When you wake up, just take three deep breaths and just notice your breath. And then as you go through your daily activities, whenever you become aware of your mind is scattered, just go back to your breath and use your breath as an anchor to regulate your mind, your body, your focus, and the choices that you make around what you do. And what you choose to not do. Now, the final piece, let’s do a quick check-in. Remember how I said to you earlier, I want you to rate yourself on a scale of one to ten, one being really scattered and unfocused and 10 being really focused and calm. You gave yourself a number. Then do you remember that number?
Ash Roy (12:17):
Okay, I want you to do it again. Noticing your breath, what score would you give yourself, now? Maybe the number is higher, in which case this exercise is already working for you. Maybe the number is the same as it was before, in which case you need to practice this exercise more and you need to do it consistently. And maybe the number is less than when you started. Unlikely, but maybe, and if it is, you need to practice this a lot more. So get practicing. I hope you enjoyed this video. Click below to subscribe. Make sure you click on the bell icon so you never miss out on any future episodes and check out productiveinsights.com to get the latest and greatest tips in business productivity and personal productivity. And if you’re interested in joining the productive insights membership program, then head over to getmetodone.com we’ve got an awesome offer available for your right now, but for a limited time, I’ll see you there. This is Ash, the founder of productiveinsights.com and the host of the productive insights podcast, featuring some of the world’s leading online entrepreneurs and marketers created just for you over an hour.