Difficulty level – 1 (easy)
Time commitment : 10 minutes everyday
This exercise will help you reflect upon your daily tasks, and take the first steps to move from being busy, to being productive.
A few points to note:
- Consistency – It will take a bit of effort to get into the habit of doing this exercise – so set reminders if required.
- Visualisation – You will also have to visualise during this exercise – and so select a calm and quiet place to do this.
- Write – If required, you can combine this with the Aparigraha exercise, and write down the three accomplishments. This would also help you review the list at the end of the week (again, combined with the Saptarishis).
How you do it
When you wake up
Ideally, you have been waking up at the same time everyday. Before you get down to starting your day with yoga, or exercise (in case you start your day with meditation, then perform this exercise AFTER completing the meditation exercise), take a series of three deep breaths, so as to bring your heart rate down, and calm your senses.
Now, think of three things that you want accomplished during the day.
Not just think, but visualise yourself completing these three tasks – and the reward that possibly follows.
For example, today the three tasks that I want to complete are:
1. complete all the initial work required to make a business plan for a client;
2. finish the social media strategy for Avyakta Yoga; and
3. Commence a new prānāyāma series, that will go on for 21 days.
I closed my eyes, and visualised myself completing these tasks – the business plan template was ready, the social media strategy was on excel (with yellow highlights on action points), and I saw myself practicing the prānāyāma that I wanted to explore. I felt the relief that I would feel when I completed each of these tasks. Some were small goals in themselves, but not isolated tasks – each one was a precursor to a larger series of tasks that would only kickstart once I completed these steps. So, starting these were very important.
The tasks you select should be important enough for you to devote your time, attention and energy to complete and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Before you sleep
Repeat the exercise before you go to bed. The only difference being, think of three things that you accomplished during the day. Ideally, these would be the same things you set out to do in the morning, but it is not necessary that these lists tally. The point of this exercise is to count your achievements, however small.
This exercise is one of the many small productivity exercises that I will be rolling out in the coming weeks.
Someone asked me – what is a productivity article doing in a sādhanā course? My answer – why not?
One of the main issues that I have seen with the recent way of living is that we do everything in silos – our days and lives are divided into two categories – work, and not-work. Work is what we do in office (or given the recent events, at home), and not-work comprises exercise, family time, entertainment, hobbies (if we all still have one) and the like. What we fail to understand is that we are not switches, that can change modes instantaneously. Our bodies and minds work in a continuous mode – hence our thoughts of the upcoming vacation, while at work, and of the upcoming client meetings – when with family. How we can go from the continuous mode, to being in the present – is the topic for another upcoming exercise – but for now, let’s look at small ways to get started on reducing the stress of trying to fit in everything we can in the limited time we have everyday. That is where productivity comes in.
More productivity – better results – less stress – more smiles, less sorrows – body and mind work in tandem, and you are at peace. Is that the goal of yoga?
I told you – the yoga studio teaches for one hour. My yog is for the other twenty-three.
You don’t win the silver – you lose the gold – was said by someone who wanted to pump up your adrenalin and motivate you – we ended up taking this literally.
And so now, we spend our lives pondering over the lost gold, even when we worked hard to achieve that silver medal.
We are in constant negative mode – we constantly think about what we were unable to do, however small the task was, rather than what we were able to accomplish, however big the achievement was.The point of this exercise is to recognise our achievements, rather than ponder over what we were unable to complete. Thats the first step towards a positive mind, and a positive mind is essential for a positive outlook towards life.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||
karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi
Bhagavad Gīta 2.47
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.