Productivity. It is a measure of your efficiency and capability to create income. It is a defining factor in all of our lives and entire nations compete with each other based on their per capita productivity. It is a term that all founders strive to be better at.
One of the first things entrepreneurs notice when starting a business is there are never enough hours in the day, so to succeed, they along with their employees must get the most out of these precious hours.
After having worked for more than a decade as an entrepreneur (and CEO), I have found the foundation of productivity is focus, and the key to focus is meditation.
Here are a few pointers:
Recognize the stream of consciousness
Why do we spend so little time thinking about thinking? On an average day at my sports drink company Amara, I used to find the number of projects and tasks I had to complete overwhelming. I would wake up early in the morning, immediately grab my phone and start replying to the emails and calls that had built up overnight. The stream of consciousness had begun and I would be caught in it until late that night when I closed my laptop and plugged my phone in to the charger. When you’re in the stream, your mind jumps from one task to the next, you’re heavily affected by emotions and are not consciously thinking about what you’re thinking. Part of meditation is the process of gaining mental perspective and observing the stream of consciousness, stepping back to think about what you’re thinking.
Learn to truly focus
It’s amazing to see someone diligently focus on the same task for hours on end. A vast majority of workers are at best able to truly focus in 90 to 120 minute cycles. When you meditate in the morning you refocus your attention, become aware of your thoughts and are able to recognize that your mind naturally wants to wander. If you are aware of your thoughts you will be able to continuously bring your mind back to the task at hand when it wanders and control your emotions before they control you.
At the top of Abraham Maslow’s famous "Hierarchy of Needs" pyramid is the concept of self-actualization. Self-actualization has also been show to improve core elements of productivity like creativity and problem solving. Meditation helps lead us down the path of self-actualization by helping you understand that you are in control. Continual self-reflection and knowing who you truly are, allows you to remain uninfluenced by external factors when others are affected by them you are able to adapt and adapt quickly. If you train your mind you can have immense power over your outlook, eventually rendering external factors irrelevant and mastering focus.
As you begin to meditate and self-actualize you will quickly understand that the journey of learning and self-improvement is never over. Entrepreneurs that have meditated for many decades like Russell Simmons try to continue to improve their practice every day. Having a true mastery of focus means knowing that you will never fully master it, but starting on the journey is what stops most people.