Over the past month I’ve been doing a lot of school work and website development on the computer. I notice that it’s very easy to get caught up in unneccesary distractions and lose focus on the task at hand. For example, while working on a statistical programming problem I wasted two days on what ended up being a dead end, and I kind of knew it from the start.
So as part of an at-home retreat, I’ve recently restarted my dharma practice, devoting the first 5 hours of the day to sitting meditation, reading dharma texts and contemplation.
While it would seem that spending a good part of my day doing not much of anything would reduce my productivity; ironically it has the opposite effect. When I start work after practicing all morning, my head is clear and I am focused. Frivolous distractions have less power to pull me away and if they do I come back faster–just like comng back to the breath. Things that I’d been putting off due to some subtle fear or aversion, now I just lean in and do it fearlessly. What a great feeling.
This insight is not new to me I’ve known it for years. Yet it is still easy to fool oneself into thinkng that the more one works the more one gets done. But as usual quality is more important than quantity. Do less to get more done.
And from a spiritual perspective the only way to get anything done is to do absolutely no-thing.