Canada’s prolonged lockdown has had a significant impact on our work and our livelihood. Some of us have had to adjust to working from home, sharing limited workspace with members of our family who are also at home. Others have had to give up work altogether and are stuck at home with nothing to do.
In any case, the challenges to staying productive are enormous. When conditions change dramatically, it can be easy to become idle and give up on accomplishing anything.
No matter what your situation, there are ways to be productive. There is a plethora of advice on how to accomplish that, but the most important factor is how you feel on the inside. If you are stressed, anxious, depressed, fearful, bored, or uninterested, it is difficult, no matter how much advice is offered, to stay productive. Being able to feel happy, optimistic, energetic, and creative is the key to success, especially in chaotic times.
“When you maximize the happiness, you also maximize the productivity of your people.”
—Paul Burns, Managing Director, Twitter Canada
The Transcendental Meditation technique is one of the best tools to develop “inner resources” like happiness and creativity. Research has repeatedly demonstrated TM’s ability to enhance personal well-being and increase satisfaction with one’s personal and professional life.
The result of increased happiness thought the regular TM practice—increased productivity. This was demonstrated in a seminal study published in the Academy of Management Journal in 1974* which showed that workers who practised TM experienced an increase in productivity and job satisfaction compared to controls. Other studies have shown that TM meditators enjoy greater peak mental performance and improved satisfaction with their quality of life. Adding this simple technique to your daily routine can make a big difference in how well you take on new challenges and find success.
“In the early morning hours, before my brain has gotten caught up in the bustle of business and busy-ness, I dive into that stillness, into that field of all possibilities, to recharge my mental and physical awareness, and most of all, to remember who I am. Being engaged in the business world can be draining and disorienting, but with the TM program as my touchstone, I have flourished with focus and clarity in a crazy environment. At the end of the day, when all the presentations are made and all the decisions settled, I will once again return during TM practise to myself and know that my success is defined not by the handshakes and agreements, but by the quiet stillness that hums in my heart and keeps my spirit singing.”
—Jennifer Meyers, businesswoman
So, having established the need to increase our inner well-being for success in life, and having found a way to do that, what else can you do to boost productivity? Here are some tips from the experts on how to maximize productivity during this lockdown.
- Create a schedule: This will help you resist the temptation to lay in bed late into the morning or spend two hours at breakfast. Whether you are doing office work at home or undertaking home projects, make sure you schedule a time for the important things.
- Keep your workspace organized. This can be a challenge, especially if you have children, but it is critical for productivity.
- Track and manage time—it can be very revealing. You may be spending too much time on projects that are not important.
- Regularly take stock of your productivity and adjust your schedule accordingly.
- Take regular breaks so that your mind stays fresh and alert.
- Get regular exercise – even a few fifteen-minute breaks for some aerobic exercise can keep the brain alert.
- Get plenty of rest and don’t stay up late just because you don’t need to get up in the morning. Rest is the basis for effective activity.
- Set some exciting and new goals. This is especially important when confined to home. It is vital to seek out new work or personal goals that may yield good outcomes.
- Tell others about your goals. This will make them more concrete and make you more accountable.
- Listen to relevant podcasts, Ted Talks, or any online resources that will help inspire and move you forward.
*Frew, D. R. (1974). Transcendental meditation and productivity. Academy of Management Journal, 17(2), 362–368.