I imagine most people are busy. We have to-do lists with one-off tasks, we have regular commitments, and then we put more on the lists. We do this in work and in our home life. And some of the tasks may be fun e.g. making bread, some may be an unpleasant chore e.g. cleaning the shower. Somehow, we (or do I mean I?!), nearly always find that the ‘nice’ job has been done, but not the less pleasant one. If you’re a procrastinator (something I’m trying to wean myself off), you may find that even the ‘nice’ jobs don’t get done!
Or, you may find that even though you start a task, you can’t concentrate on it, you’re constantly doing other things whilst technically still doing the first thing. This isn’t very efficient, effective or productive.
So, what can we do about it?
Well, meditation can help in two ways. One long term benefit of meditation is a more focused mind, the ability to concentrate on one thing at once without distractions. If your task is to write a report in work, or a blog post, and you keep finding yourself checking emails, checking Facebook, checking other websites, reading the news online, checking the weather etc, you can see how un-focused the mind is. Through practising meditation we can begin to train the mind to remain focused on the task in hand.
The second way meditation can help with knuckling down to a task is through a meditation practice on the task you’re meant to be doing but keep avoiding. Blogger and writer Leo Babauta has written a simple 10-step process on doing tasks that you don’t want to do. He starts with meditating on the task, and asking yourself why you’re doing it, why you don’t want to do it etc. The 10 steps also include tips on tackling the task itself e.g. setting yourself mini-goals and constraints.
It’s worth a read if you do find yourself either putting off jobs, or, being very distracted whilst you’re doing them. I definitely find that the reward system works well for me, and that no task is ever as bad as I feared it would be, once I’ve got started with it! What are your tips for concentrating on tasks?