Meditation Retreats

I tried Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s working hack and meditated twice a day. After just 15 minutes I felt noticeably less stressed.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, tries to meditate for two hours each day and has attended several meditation retreats.

  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s daily wellness habits include fasting, five miles of walks, and two hours of meditation.
  • He said the rigorous routine helped him cope with the stress of running both Twitter and Square.
  • I tried meditating in 15-minute blocks for a week and felt noticeably less stressed at work.

Aside from his beard and two simultaneous CEO appearances, Jack Dorsey set himself apart from other tech billionaires by having a rigorous wellness plan that included a five-mile walk to work, two hours of meditation, and one meal a day.

He said the lifestyle choices allow him to “stay afloat” while serving as CEO of both Twitter and Square. I couldn’t really focus on following his entire routine so I tried meditating for 15 minutes twice a day to see how this could affect my work life.

Dorsey specifically practiced Vipassana meditation, an ancient Buddhist meditation technique that often involves 10 days of silence. Also known as “insight meditation,” its guiding principle is non-judgment.

Unlike other meditative practices that focus on a specific mantra or visualization, you shouldn’t consciously control your thoughts during Vipassana. Instead, you acknowledge any wandering thoughts and immediately return to your breath, ultimately seeking a calmer and more focused mind.

Dorsey isn’t the only tech CEO who swears by technology as the secret to success. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, was so convinced of its benefits that the software giant added a meditation room on every floor of its San Francisco office.

Here’s how meditation affected my performance at work after being given 15 minutes twice a day for over a week.

I found the best times to meditate right after waking up and switch between tasks

I had read on the internet that vipassana meditation works best in the morning, but was nervous that the calming ritual would put me back to sleep in an instant. I’ve never been a morning person and rely heavily on coffee to start my day.

So I was really surprised that when I meditated I felt very awake immediately after waking up, no caffeine needed. Although I closed my eyes 15 minutes longer than I normally would, the concentrated breathing helped clear out any brain fog that normally lingers at my desk for the first hour.

I experienced similar effects when I meditated between the task changes that usually fell around noon. The moments when I feel least focused at work are when I have to switch from one article to the next, or from writing to interview. Meditating in between created a buffer and allowed my mindset to focus on my next task.

I felt noticeably less stressed, but not necessarily more productive

While I noticed that meditation helped me lower my anxiety, I found that it was more beneficial than doing short-term tasks in terms of solving high-level problems.

Usually, I get a healthy dose of stress and adrenaline through breaking news and daily deadlines. Vipassana meditation doesn’t allow you to respond to the checklist in your head and forces you to get a bird’s eye view of things which I found helpful in creative brainstorming and goal setting.

Sitting still for 15 minutes without the distraction was a lot harder than I thought

On the first day of this experiment, I didn’t think I would get through the week. Part of Vipassana is observing but not responding to sensations such as the urge to fidget, stretch, or even itch. Fifteen minutes of sitting upright and tightening my core forced me to become very conscious of any physical pain.

But after the first five minutes, focusing on my breath felt a lot more natural and intuitive. The hardest part was putting my phone down, closing my laptop, and convincing myself that I had 15 minutes in the middle of the day.

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