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Clear your Mind with the Sound of Silence
Written by RWorks
Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:05



Sink or Swim?

One of my favourite topics to think about/ talk about/ write about is that constant battle between Productivity and Information Overload. Isn't it hard to get anything done effectively when phones are ringing, co-workers are pulling from all sides, and your email inbox and ToDo list are screaming for attention?


The Internal versus the External Chatter

It's a noisy world out there. But there's also often a lot of 'noise' inside your head. We often don't even realise it's happening. I first became aware of it about ten years ago, when backpacking in India. I did some volunteer healthcare work at a Buddhist centre, and while living there, I signed up for a ten day silent retreat. Yes, SILENT. Completely silent. For ten whole days. We did long sessions of sitting, cross-legged on the floor. I was amazed at my motor mind, full of internal chat, flitting from one thing to the next, non-stop, all day. The Buddhist nun who sat with us would, every so often, gently calm and reassure, with a phrase like 'If there are thoughts coming in, don't grab hold of them, don't give them any time, just let them pass through, like clouds'. Unbelievably, it started to work. More white space, less frantic thought. Then much more white space, and a lot less mental traffic. Then actually a feeling, and I really don't say this lightly, of peace ....and clarity.

I liked it so much, I followed it up with another ten days of the same. Now, that was possibly a once in a lifetime experience, who knows. Being in India, away from my 'real life' certainly helped. However, we all need a bit of 'quiet time' in the day. Some time away from Information Overload, internal and external noise. The Buddhist nun who gave the retreat I did is called Thubden Chodren. She has written several books, including the aptly titled 'Taming the Monkey Mind'.

Just a month ago, Michael Samson, Collaboration Strategist, wrote a great article entitled "3 Quiet Ways You Can Get More Done" read here , where he writes "Creating the conditions of having a quiet soul is vital to productivity". He focuses on the importance of 3 forms of quiet: quiet on the ears, the soul and the mind, and writes that with attention to these 3 areas, you will be more focused, hence more effective, hence more productive.

So maybe today, just for a little while, turn off the radio, turn off your cellphone, and take a few minutes away from the noise and the useless chatter, and see for yourself.


This article was written by Valerie Redmond, co-founder of RWorks, an online software system designed to manage projects in freelancers and dispersed team. For more information go to Valerie can be reached by e-mailing, or followed on twitter @rworker




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