Several months ago, I asked a friend how often he meditated on any given day.
“Six or seven times,” he replied. “Sometimes more.”
I worked this out in my head. “You meditate for over an hour a day, every day?”
He proceeded to describe the One Minute Meditation: a quick tactic he used in the middle of his days, whenever he started to get unfocused, stressed, or otherwise unproductive.
You set a timer for 60 to 90 seconds, and you settle your mind by focusing on your breaths. You can count your breaths if it helps. Typically, you’ll get to fifteen or twenty before the timer ends. In that time, let your thoughts shift away from the task you just left behind. When the timer ends, you’ll find yourself in a state of increased clarity of the mind – ideal for continuing on your task at hand.
Initially, I was apprehensive. The cost of context switching, or switching between tasks, was already so high. Wasn’t I distracting myself by leaving for a minute? It turns out that with knowledge work, the law of diminishing returns often applies. When you’re stuck on a problem, taking a quick break can refresh your mind just enough to explore different thought patterns that lead to a solution.
I’ve been incorporating OMMs into my days since learning about them, and they’ve led to noticeable improvements to my levels of focus and productivity. In particular, I’ve found success with OMMs whenever I begin a work session, find myself spinning aimlessly in a task, or switch from one task to another.
It turns out that one minute is all you need to reap some of the benefits of meditation. One minute in the midst of a busy day, whenever you need it. Let me know what your results are, if you choose to give it a try.