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Trance States and Productivity

Meditation is quite often associated with being calm, still and not really thought of in the same context as being productive. A state of trance, which is the gateway to meditation can be used to achieve highly productive outcomes. How does this work?

Given the presence of the appropriate tools, intellectual (as opposed to physical) productivity is usually hampered by stress, emotions such as anger and anxiety, and environmental distractions, plus the effects of ill-health.

First, entering trance isn’t the same as meditation. We enter trance several times a day on our own, without always being aware of having done so. We do this while driving, talking on the phone and during some meetings, among other contexts.

Second, some of us already use certain methods of trance induction, especially just before we begin our day, or are about to start repetitive tasks. For example, consider a scenario of when a person reaches their office and are about to begin work by turning on their computer, and the first thing they usually do is wade through a bunch of emails and respond to all the ones that need responding.

Some people will find themselves beginning to regulate their breathing, while performing some seemingly inconsequential actions, such as pushing the pen stands and a desk phone an inch further away, stacking papers or files that are already properly stacked, adjusting a monitor angle that’s already alright, all the while slowing down their breathing to a rhythmic pace. When done, they’ll sit in a comfortable position, adjust their mouse, height of their arm rests and open their email application.

Then, without much looking anyplace other than their screens, they’ll go through a few dozen emails, respond to whatever they need to and then stop, sometimes looking a little dazed.

Different people have different such rituals, usually before they begin repetitive tasks. This is their process of entering a mild state of trance, which enhances their productivity.

Trance can be defined as the engagement of the conscious mind, where most of our emotions exist. The conscious mind is also what responds to most environmental events around us. The ritual described above is a preparatory stage that assists us to enter the state (of being immersed in the matter on our screens and the task at hand), which is reinforced by daily repetition.

When we’re then immersed in the work at hand, our conscious minds engaged, the effects of emotions and distractions around us are greatly reduced, allowing us to achieve greater productivity than otherwise possible.

One downside to having such rituals, is that since the ritual is location-based, i.e. in the office, it becomes difficult to be as productive when working from home; possibly why some of us replicate our office work environments on desks at home.

Other than these rituals, which are quite effective, there are other ways of entering trance for the purpose of meditation. There are also some rituals that assist meditative trances. When we develop greater awareness of how and when we enter trance, it is possible to do so whenever desired.

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