Honestly, you’re not all that busy

Most people work in excess of 8 hours each day. Of those 8 hours, how many do you think are actually productive hours? In fact, don’t think about other people, think about yourself.

If I am completely honest I’d say that only 3-4 of those 8 hours are anywhere approaching productive. And here’s the thing: I am probably the most efficient and effective person I know. I’m not boasting. I just get a lot done. And yet I run at lees than 50% efficiency. Egad!

Now, before we continue, please watch this video. Gautam Jain is much smarter than I am and explains this all rather well.


Controlling what happens in your own head can be a tough gig. First you have to understand how you actually sabotage your own chances of getting stuff done. The above video points you in the right direction. All of that chatter in your head gets in your way. It’s hard to have a clear line of thinking if all that noise is getting in the way.

Quieting the noise in your head is initially very, very challenging, and ultimately very, very rewarding.

And just how does one go about quieting all that noise? Good question. I’m glad you asked. I have a two-fold approach. It worked for me. And it might just work for you too. First, meditate. Second, learn about your brain.

Meditation. Nothing original there. Lots of people recommend meditation. And for good reason. I’ve tried a whole lot of practices and found that two sat with me quite well (no pun intended). The first is mindfulness meditation. The second is zazen.

Mindfulness is removed from any spiritual anchors. It is all about appreciating the here and now. It helps you understand that all that noise is about the past and the future, and not the present. I’ve even done a guided mediation that focusses on appreciating chocolate. Yum!

Zazen is the seated mediation performed be practitioners of Zen Buddhism. It is a little more serious, and I’d suggest finding a sangha (community) to help you down this path. The practice is quite strict and having a qualified teacher is essential. I have practice zazen at home but it is incomplete without a good teacher.

As for learning about your brain, I don’t suggest you go off an enrol in a psychology course. You can learn some key concepts by getting familiar with the basic foundations of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Yes, there is a lot of controversy surrounding NLP and that’s due predominantly to those who use what they learn about how the minds works for less savoury outcomes. In fact, I avoided learning more about NLP for years because I thought it was all manipulation and trickery. How wrong I was.

NLP teaches that you are in control of your thoughts and feelings. It shows how you lay down memories, how you perceive the world around you, and how your beliefs can help and hinder you.

When you begin to understand how you do things inside your head, you will get a clearer picture of why you have so much noise in there.

My little two-fold approach is about understanding what goes on between your ears and then developing the requisite skills to change what is happening when it doesn’t serve you.

Closing thoughts:

  • If you want to practice a guided mindfulness mediation, I really dig Sam Harris.
  • Some of the best Zen dharma talks available anywhere are from Eshu Martin, Osho.
  • My recommendation for all things NLP is Gordon Young at Beyond NLP.

2 Replies to “Honestly, you’re not all that busy”

  1. Great Post – I really enjoyed it.

    I have only recently discovered the daily practise of meditation, but it has been extremely beneficial. I look forward to learning more about zazen.

    Thanks for the tip.

    1. Hi Alan,

      If you are interested in zazen and Zen in general, I recommend that you connect with Eshu Martin, Osho. You can find out more about him at http://zenwest.ca.

      Enjoy your continued practice.

      Peace, Adam.

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