Yunha Kim: This One Simple Habit Will Boost Your Productivity

August 23 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Stress Less, Live Better

One of the hottest and most helpful buzzwords this year is “mindfulness.” When I think of the term, I can’t help but picture myself wearing a florid kaftan while lounging in Bali and discovering the true meaning of life. But then I get a reminder notification on my phone that my mortgage payment is due and see that a deadline is coming up and, oh, you know, life happens. Here’s one clear-cut strategy for incorporating mindfulness in the workplace: Focus on one thing at a time. For instance, if you usually have a dozen tabs open on your computer at a time, close 11. Start small. Start simple.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Less Than 1 Week

One way to incorporate mindfulness into your hectic day is to do something celebrities like Kobe Bryant, Kristen Bell and Paul McCartney do: meditate. Unlike learning how to dunk, act or sing, learning how to meditate can happen in a mere five minutes, not to mention that, according to the National Institutes of Health, you’ll see benefits from meditation in less than a week, like improved memory and sleep quality.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Yunha Kim, Founder and CEO of Simple Habit

If you think you don’t have any dang time to zen out, that’s OK. Today’s Woman to Watch, Yunha Kim, will help bring the zen to you—specifically on that device you’re always holding in your palm. Yunha took to Shark Tank on season nine with an app for just that called Simple Habit.

Simple Habit offers more than 1,000 guided meditations to pick from, depending on your mood. Building such a comprehensive platform was far from simple, but Yunha made it happen. Dollar by dollar, she raised almost $3 million to not only build the tech structure of the app, but also to enlist skilled meditation teachers to guide it.

Yunha graduated from Duke University with an economics degree, and then went on to get her master’s degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business. After graduating, Yunha had her hands full: She worked on Wall Street as an investment banker, which, if it’s anything like The Wolf of Wall Street, is the definition of stress. But she quickly got bored with her job, which is when she decided to quit and create a tech/advertising hybrid app called Locket. Yunha roomed up with her co-founders in a small apartment with a couple bunk beds, and she experienced the highs and lows of getting a good idea off the ground.

In hindsight, Yunha sees what she risked by choosing the murky startup world, like money, time and even relationships. But the success of her first startup motivated her to start Simple Habit by showing her that getting funding early on is possible and that working late hours for a passion project is worth it. She credits her time at Duke for giving her the resources and networking opportunities she needed as an entrepreneur. She also used the tools of meditation to combat the stress that results in depending on the company’s success for her well-being and happiness. (And it worked!)

For we busy bees that cringe at the concept of carving out a few moments to silence our inner dialogue, I suggest starting with Simple Habit’s “Coffee Meditation.” Hold your mug with both hands, sip occasionally and listen to a five-minute reflection. For Yunha, meditation kept her grounded while she embarked on a project that changed her entire life.

Follow Yunha on Twitter at @YunhaJKim.


If you need some advice from someone who’s tested the startup waters, here’s what Yunha Kim has to say:

“If you have an idea and you want to do it and you’re passionate about it, drop everything you’re doing and start right now!”

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