The Productive Life


The Productive Life


Lesson Info

Meditation Exercise

Now one of the most valuable ways to build up how much attention you're able to give to the world around you and to be able to dive deeper into one thing, is, it's a word that a lot of people find scary. And that word is meditation. I wanna try something new with you guys. I've never done this before. I meditate for half an hour every single day and I've consulted with a few people, a few monks that I know and a few lay meditation teachers that I know to design a guided meditation for you guys. And I'd love to give that for you now, if that's cool. It's about ten minutes, oh we didn't create a ten minute timer, oh! We weren't ready for ten minutes. No, man. Yeah, could I borrow your phone? (chuckling) [Lady In Audience] Yeah, you can just start it. Awesome, perfect. [Lady In Audience] Think that you find (mumbles) Timer, okay cool. And you can put your, your notepads. Actually, Chris, could you set a timer. Sure. So I don't have to figure out how to-- [Lady In Audienc...

e] I can just-- We got it. You got the technology for a timer? (laughing) Yeah, I think we got the technology for a timer. Man, that's pretty advanced technology. Siri can't even set two timers at once. Okay, so yeah put your notepads down (giggling) and really, and if you're watching this at home or online I would encourage you to give this a shot as well. You probably can't follow every single instruction because you might look, people will think, man what's Chris doin' in his cubicle? He's like, just still and silent but it's you know, do what you can and you know this is a lesson that's worth visiting later on I think too. So let me know when you're timer is good to go. Yeah, we're ready. Cool, alright, cool. So start by feeling your body on the chair. The sensations of, of your body on the chair. And make an effort to stack your spine so that you're upright, you're alert and you can close your eyes if you feel that you want. You don't have to, if you, in fact during meditation it helps if you keep your mind, keep your eyes open just a little bit to let some light in if you're feeling low on energy. Or else you might get sleepy and that's, doesn't make for a good meditation. So, take a deep breath in and let it go. Now, from this point forward in the meditation instead of trying to control your breath, simply notice your breath and this is the point of meditation is to build up your ability to focus on just one thing. Simply notice your breath. And this practice, it helps you bring more attention to what you're doing, regardless of what you're doing. Whether it's a conversation, whether it's something that you wanna focus on at work, whether it's just being with someone. And, you might think, it's just my breath but there is so much to notice in it. You can feel the sensations as it comes into your nose. You can feel the sensations as it goes out your nose. You can feel your lungs and maybe even your stomach contract on the exhale and expand on the inhale. You can even notice the little space in between your in and out breath. By practicing being with your breath you practice being with your life. Breath is one of the most difficult things to focus on cause it takes up so little of your attention. And your mind will wander (chuckling). You'll probably notice that it has several times. But the trick is to notice. When you notice that it's wandered a little bit, just bring it back. Bring your attention back to the qualities of your breath. And the key is gently do this because this is the way our mind is built. It's built to go off into the future. It's built to fantasize. It's built to plan, it's built to reminisce. The key is to not be difficult on yourself. In that way, it's a practice of kindness to yourself. To see the patterns in your mind and to gently bring your focus back. A misconception about meditation is that it's about stopping your mind from wandering. It's just about noticing that it has. Another misconception is that it's about emptying your mind. You know, there'll be a whole landscape of sounds and body sensations and thoughts that pass through your intentional space, your awareness and all of that's okay. You don't need to suppress anything. You don't need to control anything. Instead within the midst of all that noise rest your attention on your breath. Some common feelings that come up in meditation are restlessness and boredom and discomfort and anxiety and you (chuckling) might even go to some happiness or calmness or elation. That's fine but just bring your attention back to your breath. A session with a lot of mind wandering is just as valuable as a session with little mind wandering. The idea is that you notice that. There's no way to meditate poorly. You can open your eyes now. (exhaling) There's a lot of myths about meditation. You know, it takes too much time. It makes you more passive, you know, it'll make you less driven, less motivated, make you care less about your work. That's so hard to get started but y'all just got started and what I found, you know. I care about productivity so much that I would have stopped meditating a long time ago (chuckling) if there weren't any hardcore productivity benefits. But, in any given moment we bring an average of 53% of our attention to what's in front of us. The rest of the 47% our mind is wandering. It's somewhere else and so by building that up, you can imagine how much your productivity will improve. If you just increase your attention from to 63 to 73 to 83%, you make just like other productivity tactics, the time you spend meditating back and then some. Just a quick question for you guys. I wanted to ask, what did you notice in your mind during this quick little exercise? I was kind of self-conscious about maybe falling asleep. (audience laughing) No, that's a totally valid point and (laughing) I've been meditative, I've done a lot of retreats and things like that like a lot of people have and I still feel sleepy. But it's just, you know, being aware that you're sleepy is kind of the key. Yeah, and bringing your attention back and you know, sleepiness like, this is a common feeling that people have in meditation. A way to combat against that is to do a different kind of meditation, you know, the breath can kind of lull you to sleep sometimes. But if you do a walking meditation, where you bring your, all of your thoughts to your feet and how you shift your body weight. And how, you know, the muscles in your legs, every single part of that experience and your mind will wander again but it's a bit more active than, than sitting and breath meditation. Any other observations, yeah? Well for me, honestly, I feel a little bit of starving and you know just a part of I'm falling asleep, I feel a little bit of starving. (chuckling) Like hungry? Yeah, a little bit. (audience laughing) That's where I'm at, like real action, reactions toward this. Yeah. Yeah. It's funny the feelings are there we just don't pay attention to them (giggling). For me it's always, every time I meditate it's the ability of my mind to jump on it and start thinking about stuff and planning, and making lists. Yeah. And thinking about stuff that happened before, worrying about the future, but I do find that coming back to the breath such a powerful-- Yeah. Anchor, that is so underappreciated and yet so simple. It really is and it's so calming. Yeah There's such, it's so funny how everybody that starts to meditate, they always think the same thing. They think like, "Is this it?" Like am I doing this right? (laughing) Did you guys feel that? Maybe not if you've meditated for a little while. You know, we're filming this in San Francisco I realize so, (audience chuckling) it's a different demographic of people than the small town in Canada I live in where I'm the only person that meditates in town, I'm pretty sure. If there's anyone from Kingston watchin', Kingston, Ontario, (audience laughing) reach out. But, it's a fascinating practice in that in that way where it's always there. You know, you just need to tune in.

Class Description

The first 100 eligible purchasers of this class will receive 
The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy
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It’s a common refrain: “If I only I had more hours in the day, I’d be able to get everything done.” But since finding more hours isn’t an option, we search for ways to be more productive—to better use our limited time to not only complete our required tasks but also accomplish our loftier goals.

Chris Bailey, author of “The Productivity Project,” spent a year of his life conducting productivity experiments on himself in order to discover the secrets to living the most productive life possible. He’ll share his most insightful lessons on how to work deliberately rather than reactively, manage your energy better, avoid excessive procrastination and have more time to do what you find meaningful in life.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Slow down and work more deliberately.
  • Shrink or eliminate the unimportant from your life.
  • Focus on your highest-leverage tasks that give you the greatest return.
  • Schedule less time for important tasks.
  • Distract yourself from inevitable distractions.
  • Develop productive procrastination.
  • Use a healthy diet, sleep and exercise to be more productive.
  • Strive for imperfection.
  • Form good habits so your productivity is automatic.
  • Motivate yourself by understanding why you want to get something done.