Can mindfulness increase your productivity?

learn to use meditation to improve your output

Productivity and mindfulness can sometimes feel like odd bedfellows. But, with the world being forced to slow down, we’re finding out that the old way of crunching hours at a desk doesn’t necessarily increase your productivity. In fact, slowing down has produced the quality work that we thought grinding would do.

Speaking to mindfulness teacher Anna Zannides, slowing down achieves this in several ways. “It helps you sort through all the noise in your mind,” she says. “If you’re busy, if you’re focusing on too much at one point in time, you can’t focus as clearly as you would if you managed to slow down and to remove unnecessary thinking.”

The positive aspects of mindfulness can also help you when you’re stuck in a rut. Zannides focuses on compassion-based mindfulness, which includes “being a lot kinder to yourself. We aren’t just productive beings. We’re not here just to produce.” Coming to terms with this fact alone can help you realize that there are limitations to production. 

There’s also realizing how you deal with distractions and how that affects productivity. “Some people could be working from morning until night and have produced very little and others can work for a few hours and produce a lot. So I think that’s all to do with how distracted you are.”

And these distractions led to a lack of productivity, which then led to feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed. “[People are] not quite sure if they can meet the expectation of what they are supposed to be doing. It all causes an unhealthy relationship with themselves and their work.”

So, to combat this, we’ve compiled five of the best mindfulness apps that’ll help you increase your productivity in a helpful way.

Ten Percent Happier

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: £12.99

If you’re still on the fence about mindfulness you’ll enjoy this app, which is described by co-founder Dan Harris as “meditation for fidgety skeptics.” With a tone described by Harris as “no bulls**t,” it makes this a perfect entry-level app for those dipping their toe in the wellness pool.

Buy “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book”  by Dan Harris 

 

  • Ten percent mindfullness

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book By Dan Harris

Calm

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: $69.99 per year

Like Headspace, Calm has a wide-reaching focus, with hundreds of programs designed around reducing stress, anxiety and other mindfulness activities There’s also a large library of sleep stories, relaxation music and masterclasses taught by experts.

  • Calm mindfullness

Headspace

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: $69.99 per year

One of the more popular apps, Headspace has a comprehensive list of activities. Splitting itself into several wide ranging areas called meditate, sleep, move and focus. These include everything from quick breathing exercises, workouts, sleep winddown routines to musical playlists.

  • headspace mindfulness

MyLife Meditation

Platform: iOS, Android

Price: Free

If the other options were too pricey for you, there’s also MyLife Meditation, which has an extensive free section. There’s an introductory section for all newcomers, alongside guided sessions such as breath control exercises, mindful walks and body part-specific training.

  • Mylife meditation mindfullness

Insight Timer

Platform: iOS, Android, Web

Price: Free

Insight Timer is known for its extensive library, with over 80,000 guided meditations from 10,000 teachers on everything from stress to relationships to creativity. You can follow specific teachers to find a style that gels with you and there’s also live events that allow you to participate in group meditation.

  • Insight Timer mindfulness