Because of life’s busy nature, its headaches, stresses, and technology, it has become hard for the “average Joe” to stay focused and productive. The percentage of adults who have poor attention spans or lack a retentive memory has risen. And unfortunately this plays a massive and detrimental part in productivity levels.
Let’s break this down for a second…
- If you allow your concentration to drift, overcome with thoughts about what you could be doing, should be doing, WOULD be doing instead of working on the task at hand then you are distracting yourself from the present and from your workload.
- If you are letting your mind go to a stressful place, overcome with thoughts about all the things you have to get done then you are also distracting yourself from the present and your workload.
- If your musings call to mind anxieties about scenarios that may or may not happen, building them up in your head, and over thinking every last detail then you are distracting yourself from your present and workload.
- Moreover, if you are constantly checking Facebook, swiping through Instagram, or posting on Snapchat you are also putting off your workload, and therefore producing less.
Anything that is taking you away from the present, anything that is taking you away from your work, job, duties, or current obligations is mental rubbish. And this constant traffic jam in your head can occupy so much mental space that there’s no room left for productivity, money, and/or happiness.
I am in no shape or form saying that yoga is the magic bullet here. However, I do stand behind the idea that yoga helps when it comes to concentration and willpower. Any kind of exercise routine has the power to increase concentration levels, but yoga was designed with the physical AND mental in mind. Yoga exercises both to prepare the mind and body for meditation, which is single mindedness.
Implementing Sivananda Yoga impacts your productivity woes in direct ways. It keeps you centered, present, and alert. The Sivananda approach naturally impacts your daily energy levels, simplifies your choices, and gives you the peace of mind needed to stay present. Following the five principles of Sivananda Yoga (which means following a proper exercise routine, following a proper diet, having proper relaxation, practicing proper breathing, and incorporating positive thinking and meditation) WILL make your life easier, simply by adding structure.
For me, following the Sivananda approach means I have to find time for my personal yoga practice, meditation, pranayama, proper rest, and, of course, I must eat the right foods at the right time. All of this while handling my obligations and work duties. I honestly had no idea how I was going to fit everything into my busy schedule, so it kind of took a while for me to get the hang of it all. I work full time as an elementary school teacher. I teach one on one yoga 3-4 days a week. I am the content creator and marketer for this website. And I have to make time for my personal relationships-God, husband, family, friends. It was hard, but it got easier.
To follow the full spectrum of Sivananda, which I’m still working on, I had to sacrifice some things myself. I had to sacrifice time, energy, friends that weren’t in line with my positive changes, family members that weren’t getting it, fried foods, couch potato-ing, coffee, over indulging on sweets and wine, and sleeping in on weekends (which I LOVE!). I found a way to make the full spectrum of the Sivananda approach work for me. And, if it’s the path you’re after, you can too!
This is the structure that works for me during the week:
- Proper relaxation: I make sure to sleep 7-8 hours every day. On weekdays, I don’t waste time thinking about what to wear to work, what to do with my hair, or how much makeup to put on. Instead, I purposely wear a uniform everyday (Following Obama’s method!). I wear my hair up in a ponytail or a bun. And I never wear makeup. This allows me to create more time for relaxation and eradicates the time I would have wasted thinking about all of the above.
Side note: You definitely don’t have to do this in order to sleep 7-8 hours a day. This is just what works for me because it is something I don’t have to constantly think about or spend ANY extra time on. Start thinking about what is occupying your mind in the morning and right before bed and work on finding structure around that very thing. This is just another way to eliminate over thinking. Not thinking about these things in particular gives me the time to work more productively on just being present and getting things done in the morning.
- Proper diet: My breakfast is simple: yogurt + raw fruits. I rotate through different fruits but this easy equation remains the same. I eat a set lunch at the same time every day. I drink only water, but once in awhile I’ll have a juice. I have cut coffee out of my morning routine and I have eliminated eating out during the week. I buy groceries twice a week to keep fresh produce in my kitchen. I have a snack in between getting home from work and dinner time, which usually involves more fruits or raw veggies like carrots, avocado, or a small salad. Dinner dishes vary, especially since it involves my husband’s taste-buds. I’m not a vegan, and I don’t follow a strict diet, but I don’t binge. I just make sure to eat more plants, less meat, and avoid hyper processed food. Variety is key for me, but eating at the same time is a must. I don’t fuss about the food, I don’t put emotional baggage into it, and I don’t THINK about when and where I’m going to eat. Therefore creating more time for productivity.
Again, you don’t have to follow exactly what I’m doing in order to be “productive”. Everyone is different and everyone’s body is designed differently, which means that YOU have to find out what “diet” is best for you and follow through. What works is following a structure- eating at the same time every day and already knowing what you are going to eat. Because of this method, I don’t spend time over thinking what to eat in the morning or for lunch. For dinner I do like to spice things up a bit, but again I eat dinner at the same time in the evening making more room for my yoga practice and writing.
- Proper exercise, pranayama, and meditation: I practice during sunsets in the evenings after work. I do five to ten minutes of pranayama (breathing exercises), 15-20 minutes of meditation/prayer, and 30-60 minutes of yoga 5 days a week. I have clients throughout the week for one on one yoga sessions, so I don’t try to push myself too hard by practicing 7 days a week, I just commit to 5 sometimes 4 days of practice. Those days vary from time to time depending on client availability. The hour before the sun sets has become automatic for me, so I don’t waste time talking myself out of the workout.
It might seem like a lot of work, but at the end of the day WORK is what it takes. If you are serious about trying to build up your productivity level, health, and wealth then the reality is you are going to have to work for it. Making a few changes here and there simply because that specific change is “trending” won’t cut it. It takes commitment and probably some sacrifices.
As you can see, the five principle’s of Sivananda yoga have helped me eliminate some toxic habits, foods, and wasteful thinking from my life. As a result, I have become more productive in my professional and creative life. I have learned to completely separate my day job from my home life. I don’t plan lessons, check work emails, or take anything from my job home. I am able to do everything I need to do as a 5th and 6th grade teacher during those eight hours of my work day.
As for the rest of my day…I get to spend it doing things I love; like writing, creating, moving, stretching, reading, meditating, praying, and loving my husband.