In recent years, mindfulness meditation has grown rapidly in popularity, particularly with the rise of scientific research endorsing the benefits of a regular meditation practice. Even corporate settings are recognizing daily meditation as an effective contributor to employee happiness, productivity, and creativity. People create better work when they feel their well-being is prioritized.
Several studies have also linked meditation to effective time management: a win-win for individuals and the companies they're working for. I've highlighted below how a daily practice of meditation can improve time management by boosting attention, sharpening focus, enhancing workflow, and preventing procrastination.
1. Boost attention
Meditation affects the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain involved in monitoring your focus and self-control. Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that a meditation program led to changes in brain regions involving learning and memory. In fact, practicing mindfulness and meditation has consistently been shown to improve your ability to sustain attention. Those who worked in high-stress work environments and practiced meditation were able to stay on a task longer and received positive feedback after a task performance.
2. Sharpen focus
A daily meditation practice can increase self-discipline and sharpen focus at work. Research shows that mindfulness encourages task persistence, according to a study in the University of Sheffield. Meditation that brings self-awareness to one's emotions and mental state can allow him or her to approach situations with a clearer and more focused mindset.
3. Enhance workflow.
Mindfulness meditation practice has been reported to get people into a greater state of concentrated productivity. Renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term "flow" to be synonymous with "being in the zone." Meditation can help one achieve this "state of effortless action" by understanding and establishing goals, prioritizing tasks, and overcoming challenges—a major key in time management.
4. Prevent procrastinating.
Having a mindful state is key to self-regulation and decreasing a tendency to procrastinate. A study by the University of Windsor describes meditation as a tool that promotes acceptance and moves past negative self-talk, motivating correct behavior. A daily practice can reduce frustration, self-depreciation, and giving up on tasks. Meditation encourages one to be actively engaged in present feelings, thoughts, and behavior in a nonjudgmental manner.
Next time you're feeling like you need to cram, stay up late, or just push through, remember how even just a few minutes of meditating can be more productive. It sounds crazy, but making space for a few minutes of no stimulation is often the most productive thing a busy body can do.