October 19, 2014

Use Technology Like a Yogi & Get More Done.

Work Type laptop computer

All us modern Yogis are constantly striving to balance the call of the divine with the call of the dollar.

And where does this struggle come more to a head than in the use of technology—the very nature of it being to promote distraction versus mindfulness.

But can Yoga teach us anything about managing technology better?

As a novelist with a busy day job, here’s how Yoga philosophy has helped me improve my tech productivity:

1. Check email like a Buddhist monk

Centuries ago the Buddha explained the insatiable nature of desire. A craving arises in the mind, we rush to satisfy it, then realize we aren’t fully satisfied and rush again to satisfy the next craving.

So the cycle of perpetual discontent goes. Social media and email add fuel to this fire by giving us a constant flow of objects to lust after—new emails, tweets, likes etc leaving us restless and distracted. The way to break this cycle is to be guided by routine versus impulse—much like monks meditating on a schedule in a monastery.

For me, this means checking my email and social media for fifteen minutes on three hour intervals: 7:30 a.m, 10:30 a.m, 1:30p.m and so on only, not anytime in the middle. Choose a routine whether it’s to check your email just twice a day like Tim Ferriss or every hour like Eric Schmidt—and feel calmer and more in control as a result.

2. Replace television with streaming video

According to Yoga, mental stress is caused by the mind’s inability to live fully in the present moment. Cable Television with its array of choices and effortless channel surfing keeps the mind vacillating into the future (surely, there’s a better program playing somewhere!) and past (oh no, the previous one was good!).

Netflix streaming or a DVD (albeit no guarantee of better content) allows focus on one activity at a moment.

Of course, the best way to truly unwind is to meditate and still the mind but if TV viewing is non-negotiable, streaming is a better alternative. Take it from us—we’ve felt calmer and watched better video content after getting rid of our TV a couple of years ago.

3. Use social media like a Yogi

A Yogi strives to sublimate his ego. Surprisingly, social media works on the same principle: to build a truly passionate fan base you have to give content away for free that people would charge money for. Using the 20:1 principle (sharing 20 pieces of selfless content for every piece promoting myself), my Facebook fan page has shot up from 5,000 fans to 25,000 fans.

Paradoxically, this also helps productivity since you are more mindful while sharing truly helpful content versus posting pictures of yourself sipping a mai-tai on a beach.

4. Download a checklist tool.

The simplicity of an old-fashioned checklist makes it a must-have item for every Yogi. Checklists have helped artists make breakthrough art, hospitals save innumerable lives, and companies save millions of dollars. If you don’t carry a physical notebook, the Internet has many excellent checklist tools eg, Google Keep. I scribble out new ideas through the day on my free online notepad to help my writing later.

5. Know what you consume is who you are.

According to the Yoga sutras, the whole material world is made of varying combinations of the same three properties—sattva (the quality of purity and truth), rajas (the quality of restlessness and activity), and tamas (the quality of inertia and ignorance).

Thus everything in the universe is inextricably linked so if we consume rajasic and tamasik media—restless, angry, violent or dull media (attributes which describe much of programming today!), it will have a corresponding impact on our thoughts.

Fortunately sattvic media is on the rise so make sure you consume more of it to keep your mind rested and your ideas pure. Reading this article is a good start!



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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: glenbledsoe at Flickr 



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