The Real Productivity Drain

Pointless thinking doesn't just waste time, it tires us out, and makes other tasks outside of that time harder.

The Real Productivity Drain

When it comes to productivity, we tend to focus on tools and technology that help us get more work done in less time.

But if we see more honestly and clearly, we may notice that a lot of our time seems to float by regardless, and any time we saved via new tools and processes doesn't always help as much as we hoped.

Where does it all go?  Ok.. if you are anything like I was, a LOT of it will be mindlessly sunk into "digital-distraction"... but also consider it is estimated that the average software developer spends 2 out 8 work hours simply ruminating on thoughts that have no value.  That is 25% of productive time lost to the void.  This is perhaps a conservative estimate, and the tip of a much greater iceberg of both internal and external distraction becoming "normal".

Pointless thinking doesn't just waste hours, it tires us out, and makes other tasks outside of that time even harder.  We are better off getting comfortable with instead spending an hour doing nothing, relaxing and being completely un-distracted - at least this recharges us, improves out mental state and we are better prepared for later tasks.  This IS meditation!

This thinking comes from being caught up in trains of habitual thought which has little to no payoff, and is shown to decrease satisfaction and can even lead to burn out.  It's often also echos of conversations we had, or should have had, or would like to have.

How can we minimize this waste thinking?

The practice of mindfulness has been shown to reduce such rumination by heightening our awareness of such thinking, allowing us to avoid being caught up for endless hours a day.  This not only avoids all of the side effects and time wasting of rumination, but also allows us to see more clearly and solve problems with more efficiency.

This is a double whammy of productivity which we don't want to miss out on. So don't delay, practice your meditation today.  Just like physical exercise to build your body, consistency is key to building the "mindfulness muscle" over time, and breaking the habit of rumination.

You can also think of it this way: 15 minutes a day invested in meditation in the morning can save you 2h of waste thinking in a day! That is a 8x return in time investment, in one day.

Deeper down the rabbit hole: there seems to be something within is that throws up thoughts and gets involved with them.  Can we find it and free ourselves from its grasp?  This is the real and most profound long term benefit to meditation.  We can go much further than simply improving productivity, we can completely transform our experience of life from the inside out!

For more about meditation and practical philosophy for every day mental health, also check out my YouTube channel Beyond Conceptual.