Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Monash University's online course, Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds CRAIG HASSED: Now, being productive, being efficient, it’s a pretty simple formula. It’s the amount of energy, and time, and resources that we take to do something compared to the amount of output. Often, when we’re stressed, and frustrated, and distracted, we use a lot of time, or waste a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of resources, and oftentimes for not much output. And so being able to redress that issue is pretty helpful. So we can, for example, remove the unnecessary stress and tension from doing a work so we use less energy. But the better focus that comes with being mindful, being more on task, helps to improve the productivity.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 seconds Because ultimately, it’s not stress that drives productivity, it’s actually the attention or engagement with the work. The old stress-performance curve, so there’s low stress, low performance, and stress lifts us out of apathy. So when we’re not being productive, for example, we’re apathetic, we don’t care. We’re not stressed but we’re not getting on with something– that’s not a very productive sort of mode of living. Mind you, in the middle of the night it’s pretty good for helping us to sleep, but it’s not going to be so good when we’re at work, or at home wanting to be productive, or in our study. And so we often rely on stress to lift us out of apathy as a motivator.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 seconds But the stress only takes performance so far. If the stress keeps going up, then the performance starts to go down again, because we’re getting distressed, we’re getting anxious, and that impairs our ability to process information, to make decisions. And so sometimes even amygdala hijack– the stress centres overwhelm the decision-making areas. And when we perform at our worst when we’re most stressed, we feel terrible, but we can’t focus, we can’t engage properly with the task. Now, if we’re at the top of that sort of inverted U of the stress-performance curve and we want to go to a higher level of performance, we shouldn’t assume that it’s stress that’s going to take us there.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds It’s actually attention, complete engagement with the task, focus. And when you hear people talk about, and if you reflect for yourself about being in ‘The Zone’ or being in a flow state, those times of peak performance, then you’ll notice that you’re not only functioning at your best but you actually feel your best as well. And the interesting paradox is the person’s so completely in the moment with the process that they’re not anxious about the outcome. As soon as we get anxious about the outcome, we’re actually not in the present moment any longer. So the person achieves more but they feel better, and that’s total engagement, completely on task.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 seconds So cultivating mindfulness through meditation but being mindful as we work, is the best way to not only enhance our well-being but also to improve our efficiency and our productivity.

Tips for productivity

Watch Craig provide some tips on how you can cultivate mindfulness through meditation to become less stressed and more productive.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance

Monash University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: