What can 20 minutes do for you?

mindlessness_woman_pouring_milk

What is mindfulness? It is a question that will get you many different answers. Mindfulness to me is having moment-by-moment awareness and focusing on the details that make up our lives. It’s ignoring our predisposed rigid mindsets and challenging the status quos. As cliché as it sounds, it’s training your brain to think, “outside of the box.” It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

I think we often forget that our brain is a muscle, and it can be trained and exercised similarly to other parts of our body. Often our brain goes into mindless mode and we go through life on autopilot.

How often have you driven home from work and you do not remember the commute at all? Have you ever pulled into your driveway and awoke from a daze thinking, “how did I get here?” Have you ever driven to work accidentally on a Saturday because you feel preprogrammed into your set routines? I know I have, and I think it’s a common thing we’ve all done. If you have any of your own “mindless” story please share it below!

I know one of my biggest problems is with my memory. From grocery lists, to errands, to my “honey-do” list, if it’s not written down, my brain simply cannot keep up with all of the daily demands thrown at it.

These are only a few examples, but with the mindfulness techniques I have been practicing I am more mentally present to my wife, my employer, and everyone around me. I have found my mind drifts less, and I am more focused and efficient in everything I do.

By setting aside time each day to allow your mind and body to clear and reset you can increase your focus throughout the day. When most people are asked to set aside 20-30 minutes for their breath meditations, they claim up and down that they do not have time. YOU DO HAVE THE TIME. Think of all the time you waste as your mind drifts off focus, or wanders from task to task.

When it comes to my own mindful meditations I like to think of a dirty kitchen. How many of you cannot start cooking in a messy kitchen? I know I can’t. I must first clean and straighten up my kitchen and then everything is ready for me to measure, prepare, and cook. I think of mindfulness the same way. I am cleaning up and organizing my thoughts 20 minutes per day, in order to have a “clean kitchen” in order to get my work done faster.

Would you trade 20 minutes per day to have more energy, to be more purposeful and focused, and to increase your efficiency throughout the day? If you wouldn’t do that, what would you be willing to trade for it?

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3 thoughts on “What can 20 minutes do for you?

  1. I agree with the meditation idea, but have never tried it. I think my biggest roadblock is finding the space that is quite, and also the courage to do it. At home I have 3 cats, 3 dogs, and a wife and baby. So not many quite spots there :). I started reading your blog and thought, my wife is my memory. When I get tired I tend to get a little lazy in forgetting to do something, but my wife is there to keep me ontrack :). Keep up the insights, I would love to learn more on how this helps your daily life.

    • Thanks for response Jeff. It is very difficult to find the time and space to do mindful meditations. I myself do them at my desk in my classroom before school starts, or sometimes even while parked in my car. Like anything, the hardest part is always getting started. Luckily for me it was part of the class I took at UNR. We had to do our meditations 20 minutes a day, five times a week.

      Without that requirement I don’t know how long I would have lasted on my own. It’s like going to the gym, if you can get through the first week or two it’s not so bad, and if you stop going your body begins to crave/miss it. I feel that way now, if I go a couple of days with our meditating I can feel cranky, short tempered, and feeling down.

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