I was recently talking about the benefits of Meditation with a friend of mine who runs a very full and very demanding Small Business. He was lamenting the fact that every single day he struggles to simply be productive enough to get everything done. But the other issue was getting things done to a standard that he was proud of.
My friend explained that he would like to find the time to Meditate but he couldn’t figure out how to fit it into his already chaotic day. In other words, he simply didn’t have the time or the headspace to devote an hour a day to Meditation. This is something I get and I’m sure there are many Small Business owners on the same page.
I know how it feels. There have certainly been times when I’ve felt so consumed with what I’m doing that to even take the time out to drink some water or go for a walk seems like an impossibility, as the hours and then the days whisk by.
But I’m not suggesting that you have to start with a 4-hour daily practice. In fact, if you even started with a one hour practice, you probably wouldn’t keep it up. Whilst you’re Meditating, your mind will be filling with all of the things you need to get done and the time you are spending Meditating will now need to be added to your already ridiculously full day. Not very Zen-like to feel this dread building.
The reality is that if you can introduce Meditation into your daily Small Business life, everything will change. You will become more focused, more calm, less reactive, more positive - and much more. But it will take time to get there.
When I Meditate I am more even minded, I have far more energy throughout the day and am generally more resilient. When I don't meditate, I find myself obsessing over silly details a lot more ( both work and non-work related), I sometimes take longer to get things done and generally don’t sleep as well. What impact does this have on my productivity?
There is a definite benefit to Meditation and it is possible for everyone. That said, don’t feel the pressure of needing to Meditation for hours every day. Here are a few tips that might help.
Make the decision to start. Simple as that.
When talking to my Small Business owner friend, allocating time to anything outside of the work he has to do, felt counterintuitive and more likely to add to his stress rather than reduce it. It was more the concept of making a big commitment of time that was the sticking point.
My advice was simple - start Meditating. Even if it is only for 5 minutes a day, it doesn’t matter, just make a decision to start. This is clearly manageable for anyone - it won’t cut into the day at all, and these Mini-Meditations are surprisingly beneficial.
Be strategic about where you put your Mini-Meditations in your day.
We decided to give it a go that day and to synchronise our Mini-Meditations, despite being in different cities. We committed to stop what we were doing and to Meditate for five minutes every hour for three hours (we set an alarm to go off at the same time every hour for those three hours to take the stress out of remembering to Meditate).
The intention of the Meditations was very straight forward. Stop what we doing, focus on the breath coming in and going out and when the mind wandered, bring it back to the present moment by focusing on the breath. We also set a timer for the five-minute Mini-Meditation so that we didn’t have to stress about time.
The structure we applied to these Mini-Meditations meant that:
- We knew the five minutes was a time to fully let go
- We knew that after the five minutes were over that we could start working again.
- We knew that the alarm had our back and wouldn’t let us go on longer than we expected, therefore, losing productive business time.
- The safety net of the alarm would allow us to let go completely.
Having a structure and clear focus for Meditation makes it so much easier to let go and enjoy your practice.
A Mini Meditation is surprisingly effective.
I’m sure some of you might be thinking - it’s only five minutes, how effective can it really be, what possible benefits could I get out of that, it’s too simple, too easy, right? You will be surprised, very surprised.
My friend had the same thoughts. Even though he didn’t admit it, I could tell that he had a sense of disbelief about the whole process. After the three hours, we touched base to exchange notes. And both of us noticed that this simple practice was really powerful, in fact far more powerful than either of us imagined possible.
There was something about pausing at an unexpected time in our daily workflow, that allowed us to let go of tension we didn’t even realise we were holding. It allowed us to empty our minds, experience rest and get our focus back. In five very short minutes, our complete state of mind, our mood and our sense of wellbeing changed dramatically.
This is such a great and somewhat surprising outcome. Yet isn’t that what we are all after in business? Especially when things get really busy and we face overwhelm on a daily basis. We need a way to maximise our time and energy so that we can get tasks done efficiently. Even more importantly, we want to think and feel better, end our day feeling energised not fried.
Challenge yourself to give it a go
So my challenge to you is to give this a go. Follow these simple guidelines:
- Decide the amount of time you will Meditate for tomorrow. How long will you spend in each session?
- Decide the frequency of the intervals, will it be every two hours, one hour or every half hour?
- Decide the time of day, make it a time when you are at your desk or in a place where you are doing office related jobs that make it less likely to be interrupted.
- Set your alarm to remind you when it’s time to Meditate.
- Then set your timer for the number of minutes you want to Meditate so you can relax and recharge.
- The key is to plan out your Mini-Meditations.
At the end of each Mini-Meditation, take note of how these Meditations made you feel. Do the same at the end of the day. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did others say about you?
Meditation is not just for the die-hards, we can use Mini Meditations to enhance our productivity as Small Business owners and gain much-needed downtime in manageable increments. Put this simple exercise into practice and allow Mini-Meditations to lift your energy and increase workflow throughout the day. For a few minutes here and there, you might become like my friend and discover a very simple, yet very powerful technique that could have far-reaching implications for you, your business and your life.