Did you know that cultivating calm can help you be more productive?

I recently came upon a new book written by Chris Bailey called How to Calm Your Mind.

In the book, he discusses a corollary of productivity, and that is calm. It would sound strange that a guru of productivity who has always written about how to be efficient and effective now is arguing that we can’t be productive without turning out our need to be productive for a pre-set time every day.

The book really hit a nerve for me because I am one who typically moves in many different directions without any focus or intention. This not only leads to a lack of productivity, but also frustration and anxiety.

Further, my life always feels out of control. There is nothing that I can say or do that will change that, and I felt like I was on a treadmill going to nowhere but running nonetheless—like a hamster on a Ferris wheel.

Further, I’m not getting as much done as I think I can or even set out to. Therefore, this is a timely book for me.

If you are scattered and all over the place before you write and while you’re writing, keep reading.

Below, I offer five tips on how to be calmer and more productive.

First, use a Pomodoro timer and set it for 20 or 25 minutes before you write.

Second, decide what one thing you will do during that period.

Third, start the timer, and do nothing but work on what you intended to do. Don’t check your email or answer the beeps on your cell phone. Instead, just be totally focused on what you are doing.

Fourth, if you have a busy view outside of your window where you write, consider closing the curtains while you write.

Don’t look things up on the internet while you’re writing, even if you’re using it to look something up that you need, like a statistic or thesaurus. Instead, leave a blank and a note to yourself to look that information up later after your timer goes off and you take a break.

Fifth, give yourself at least five minutes to pause after your 20 to 25 minutes of writing. Sit down and take a few deep breaths. Move away from your computer and your cell phone. Don’t check for messages or answer texts during this time. This is your time to regroup.

You may want to take the last few minutes of your time to decide what you will work on next. Once you set your next 20-minute segment, do nothing else but that when you set your next timer.

By taking these steps, you will ensure that you stay focused on what you’re doing while you’re writing.

You will be hearing much more about Chris Bailey’s book in the week’s to come. So stay tuned.

Try it!

Irene Roth