Mindful Productivity

During a brainstorming session, I had a difficult time connecting to my client. His mind seemed to be pre-occupied on other things. We would talk about a problem, and then he’d suddenly stop the conversation because he realized that he forgot something at home, or he’d go off on tangents, or he’d make a random observation about something in the room, or he’d check his email.

His body was attending the meeting, but his mind was someplace else. He was not present. Needless to say, it was not a productive meeting. I should have known better than to let him pick the meeting place.

Whenever I conduct a session, I find it works best in a place away from easy distractions, like email, phone calls, and interruptions. Usually, this means not meeting at the client’s office. It’s difficult to be mindfully productive with so many distractions.

Mindful productivity is when you are focused only on whatever you are doing in the present moment, rather than being easily distracted by other problems that have nothing to do with the problem at hand.

In a sense, multitasking is the opposite of mindful productivity. I remember this one time when I was learning a new recipe, and I was trying to do the laundry at the same time. Not only did I end up burning the dish, I also forgot to put detergent into the washer.

Think of it this way, would you rather complete all of your projects with mediocre results, or complete all of your projects with great results?

If you are worried about not having enough time to complete all of your projects, you are not focused on completing your project. You’ve actually invented a new project: finding time to complete all your projects. You are not being mindfully productive. You are being mindlessly unproductive by creating more unnecessary work.

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