Meditation and Creativity

Silhouette of meditator sitting cross-legged

If you could do with a little more clarity and focus in your creative work, have a look at What Daily Meditation Can Do for Your Creativity – my latest guest article for The 99%.

One of the most popular pieces I’ve written at lateral action is How Getting Nothing Done Can Make You More Productive, based on my experience of meditation retreats in a Buddhist monastery. This latest piece looks at the benefits of incorporating meditation into your daily routine, without having to disappear to a monastery in Tibet (or in my case Hertfordshire). Editor of The 99% Jocelyn Glei asked me to write about it after she saw me interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about how I established the habit of daily meditation. (Hint: it had nothing to do with willpower.)

Who’d have thought sitting doing nothing would attract so much interest?

Speaking of guest articles, I hope you’ve enjoyed the excellent contributions by our guest writers over the past few weeks. Expect more excellence from them (and others) in future.

And speaking of doing nothing, rest assured I’ve not forgotten the series on breaking through your creative blocks. I’ve recently been working on cool stuff behind the scenes for our members, but I’ll be picking up the series on Monday and tackling another of our readers’ creative blocks… stay tuned!

How to get creative work done in an "always on" world

Productivity for Creative People

Mark McGuinness' latest book Productivity for Creative People is a is a collection of insights, tips, and techniques to help you carve out time for your most important work – amid the demands and distractions of 21st century life.

β€œOf all the writers I know, I have learned the most about how to be a productive creative person from Mark. His tips are always realistic, accessible, and sticky. It’s not just talk, this is productivity advice that will change your life.”

Jocelyn Glei, author and Founding Editor, 99U

More about Productivity for Creative People. >>

Responses to this Post


  1. When I was still in Corporate America I said I didn’t have the time to stop and meditate. Now I start most days with a short practice. If I skip a day, I find myself more rushed and less productive. Who would’ve known?

  2. As those who read my blog know, I recently found myself face to face with a serious illness. Meditation and mindfulness practices have helped my work with where I am and to maintain the life I have for as long as I can.

  3. I’ve been meditating more than 30 years. (Do you think it might be a good idea to stand up and finally do something?)

    Anyway, I’ve now learned what I call “speed meditation.” It’s a way that allows me to get greater benefit from even 10 minutes than I used to get from 20-30 mins or more.

    And I’ve brought it into my workshops. it’s layered in when we return after breaks, and in a more profound way as an optional 15 mins before we open the day.

    The affect of those who chose the meditation is different. Even if it were only a deep rest that was gained, they have more to draw from. You can see it.

  4. @ Joanne – Who indeed? I know exactly what you mean.

    @ Mike – Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve not had to face anything as serious as your illness, but I’ve certainly found mindfulness helpful when facing up to various difficult situations. Love the combination of humour and realism in your writing about your own situation and mindfulness.

    @ Jim – “Speed meditation”?! Doesn’t that defeat the point of the exercise? πŸ™‚

  5. Mark, “speed meditation?” It just means that I’ve found a more effective meditation or more powerful. Because of that, I can do a short session rather than skipping it. If I do a longer one, the effect on me is profound.

    In any case, if I get into a high-productivity mode and find it hard to take the time to meditate, I remind myself that if for no other reason, my energy will be cleaner and clearer and more sustained if I “invest” in pausing.

    Next: integrating the practice within the day at very frequent, few second, consciousness shifts — so I’m just plain in a meditative state more of the time.

  6. Well, Ramakrishna said “One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise. It will taste sweet either way.” so I guess it could be microwaved as well as slow-baked. πŸ˜‰

  7. I always remind myself, “when you feel like you should be speeding up, that’s exactly when it’s time to s l o w d o w n”. Even if I can only squeeze in a few deep breaths with my eyes closed (or not, if I’m driving πŸ™‚ ) it really seems to help keep me in a positive flow.