Improve Your Productivity by Adding One More Activity

Like almost everyone I know, I’m an over-scheduled, busy New Yorker. This includes work, family, social commitments and, in my case, physical therapy for a torn ACL. How do we fit it all in? How do we prioritize our activities? How do we rise above the feeling of being overwhelmed all the time?

Several months ago I added one activity to my busy schedule that ironically has saved me time and helped me get more done.

I started a meditation practice.

We make time to exercise our bodies but what about our minds? Meditation helps, really. After a few months of meditating, I’ve found that I am more focused, have less anxiety and fragmented energy, I concentrate better, and the end result has been greater productivity.

Beth Novogratz, the co-author of a meditation book coming out next year, “Sit: A Guidebook for Meditation for People Who Know They Should but Don’t,” has the following advice for starting a meditation practice:

“I think when many of us first set out to start a practice, we sit for a minute or two and the mind comes up with ten thousand things that we should be doing instead or we feel awkward or decide we’re not doing it right. I think a lot of us give up before we even get started. The advice that helped me the most in the beginning was: start small, five or ten minutes a day, but make sure that you show up every day no matter what, especially on the days where it seems impossible."

A few tips for getting started: Pick a time and place that work for you. Try to be consistent with both every day. Sit in a position that is comfortable. But, don’t be so comfortable that you fall asleep.

Use a timer.

Start with five minutes, and work your way up.

Remember: It’s called a practice for a reason.