Deepak Chopra has made a name for himself as a spiritual guru.
A big believer in the mind-body connection, he's forged a prosperous career for himself helping other people center themselves and find a sense of inner peace.
Although he originally trained as a neuroendocrinologist, he now publishes books, gives lectures, and spreads the word about how to reach balance in your life.
If you're not into spirituality, this can sound a little like new age woo.
But it's important to keep in mind that many things that are historically associated with spiritual practices, like meditation and the influence of the mind on the body, have been found by neuroscientific investigation to have genuine benefits.
In recent interview with Entrepreneur, Chopra offers some sage advice about productivity.
Some of it might surprise you, especially his unusual but insightful approach to the concept of work-life balance.
What’s a strategy to keep focused?
Actually, I stay unfocused, with only awareness of the moment, and its possibilities. I call that experience choiceless awareness. I believe in the experience of effortless spontaneity, getting rid of the notion of separateness and the richness of sensory experience in every moment.
What was your first business idea and what did you do with it?
I did self-publish my first book, which no one would publish for me. I felt I was learning so much from my patients — they were telling me stories that were never written about in textbooks or journals. I tried my best to get those insights published in professionals journals but no one would accept them. Through a series of coincidences it ended up becoming a bestseller.
What’s a productivity tip you swear by?
I have only a few simple rules. Is what I’m doing fun?
Number two, are the people I work with fun to be with and derive joy from that?
And number three, is it making a difference in the quality of people’s lives for the better?
What does work-life balance mean to you?
I think it’s an oxymoron. I think work and life and enjoyment of life should all be part of your life experience. For me, work is what you do for one third of your life, so it better be something you are engaged in and enjoying.
When people ask, I suggest that their job and career, and higher purpose or calling, whatever that is should be in alignment, otherwise you will constantly feel worried about work life imbalance.
There is a concept in Eastern wisdom traditions called Dharma. It implies many things, but one thing it does imply is how you fit in the big scheme of things. Imagine that the whole universe is a jigsaw puzzle and every part fits somehow.
You can read the full interview over at Entrepreneur.