Lessons from Arianna Huffington: To be more productive you must live in the moment

As a freelancer, the amount of work you have – and consequent money you make – is dependent on how productive and creative you are. Arianna Huffington, in her book Thrive, suggests that the way to enhance your productivity and creativity is becoming more mindful.

What does becoming more ‘mindful’ entail?

The concept of becoming more mindful has long been associated with the practice of yoga and meditation.  When I would think of meditation, scenes of Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love – struggling to get to grips with the concept (usually for hours on end) – would usually come to mind. I dismissed meditation simply because it seemed like a lot of work, too time-consuming and hopelessly too difficult to master. And – as all freelancers know – time is money so the more you can do in as little time as possible, the better.

Meditation and becoming mindful have untold benefits

There are countless studies out there that prove meditation has a positive effect on creativity – a fact which should be of interest to freelancers. One such study was conducted by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University. These researchers even suggested that meditation could benefit your imagination and resourcefulness immensely – even if you are a meditation newbie.

Bianca Rothschild – entrepreneur and self-proclaimed ‘meditation hustler’ – swears by the practice, saying that meditating is her first port of call when she tackles a new project as it enhances her ability to think out of the box.

Meditation doesn’t have to take hours

Arianna p0ints out that you don’t have to spend hours and hours, sitting cross-legged and chanting ‘ohm’, in order to reap the benefits of meditation. For a beginner meditator, she suggests picking a daily activity – for example brushing your teeth or having a shower – and during this activity, becoming aware of every single motion that is involved in this activity. For example:

  • While you’re in the shower, concentrate on the temperature of the water: is it too hot/cold, or is the temperature just right?
  • How does the water feel as it strikes your head?
  • Feel the water massaging the tension out of your shoulders.

Practise mindfulness, during this activity, for a week. Choose a new activity the following week.

We live in a technologically frantic world that is full of distractions, which prevent us from fully engaging in the task at hand. So, if we get rid of these distractions – and focus completely on the task at hand – we’ll be able to perform with a greater level of clarity and effectiveness – with a good measure of strategic thinking.