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Multitasking is Failing: How to Stay Connected

Multitasking is Failing: How to Stay Connected

Nowadays, to be flexible is a state of delivery, service and excellence. Flexibility – like multitasking – is about focus, effort and alertness.

When we combine both flexibility and multitasking, we get stress. There is an approach – a practical way – to replace stress to the state of flow. From fast, wired, disruptive environment to the realm of connectness.

Multitasking drains the brain

We multitask for a few reasons. First, to save time and money. Secondly, to bring value by being productive and managing more in less effort. Third, we are in a flow when all things are in sort.

Multitasking is a brain drain that exhausts the mind, zaps cognitive resources and, if left unchecked, condemns us to early mental decline and decreased sharpness. Chronic multitaskers also have increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can damage the memory region of the brain.

Frequently switching between tasks overloads the brain and makes you less efficient. It’s a formula for failure in which your thoughts remain on the surface level and errors occur more frequently.

this-is-why-multitasking-is-failing-you
    How to switch from multitasking easily

    The control center of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, can handle just one new thing at a time, explains Jordan Grafman, Ph.D., chief of the cognitive neuroscience section of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. You can combine tasks that use different sensory channels in your brain. It is tough to send an e-mail and carry on a phone conversation (not that many of us do not try). But it’s pretty easy to fold clothes while listening to the weather report on the radio.

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    So how do you get more done without multitasking – or at least without multitasking to excess? Preparation is one answer. Discipline is also part of the mix. When you are working, train yourself to deflect distractions. As Dutch researchers recently reported in the journal Science, the unconscious mind is often a better problem solver than the focused one.

     

    Journaling leads to happiness,  Tim Ferriss example

    An attention time at the morning and evening sessions made Tim Ferriss 100% happier to reconnect with self. This can be your momentum too applying it right now to shift your multitasking into connectedness:

    Morning session in your journal jotting down:

    –          Three things you are grateful for.

    –          Three things that would make today great.

    –           An affirmation to prime you for the day ahead.

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    Evening session:

    –           Remember three amazing things that happened.

    –           Reflect on how you could have made your day better.

    Ferriss says he finds the quick journaling exercise, regardless of format, to be liberating and calming.

    S.A.V.E.R.S strategy to connect with self

    Taking it a step further, Hal Elrod in his best-selling book “Miracle Morning” shares the S.A.V.E.R.S strategy to with each  morning we can make the day more better. SAVERS is an acronym and each letter stands for the following:

    Silence – Minute One

    Imagine waking up in the morning, and spending the first minute sitting in purposeful silence. As you sit in silence, you’re totally present in the now, in the moment. You develop a deeper sense of peace, purpose, and direction.

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    Affirmations – Minute Two

    Read affirmations—the ones that remind you of your unlimited potential and your most important priorities—out loud from top to bottom. The reminders of how capable you really are gives you a feeling of confidence.

    Visualization – Minute Three

    You close your eyes, or you look at your vision board, and you visualize. Your visualization could include your goals and what it will look and feel like when you reach them.

    Scribing – Minute Four

    Take a few minutes to write down what you’re grateful for, what you’re proud of, and the results you’re committed to creating for that day. Doing so, you put yourself in an empowered, inspired, and confident state of mind.

    Reading – Minute Five

    Grab your self-help book and invest one miraculous minute reading a page or two. You learn a new idea, something that you can implement into your day. Discover something new that you can use to feel better.

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    Exercise – Minute Six

    Finally, stand up and spend the last minute doing jumping jacks for 60 seconds and getting your heart rate up. Get energized, wake up and increase your alertness and focus. Or in my case, I do five Tibetan healing exercises that bring energy to my entire body.

    How simple easy is that! Tim Ferriss is using these methods, and now it’s your turn.

    One thing at a time

    The rule of one says connect and put attention to one single matter. Science already has proven that  switching between tasks can cost you as much as 40% of your productivity, according to expert David Meyer. Doing one thing at a time is probably the most basic habit of concentration, and one of the most powerful. Focusing on one thing raises productivity, as multitasking trains to be less attentive.

    Featured photo credit: Qimono via pixabay.com

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    Loreta Pivoriunaite

    Life scientist, Coach

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

    How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

    There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

    So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

    What Is Systems Thinking?

    Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

    A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

    Characteristics of Systems Thinking

    Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

    In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

    Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

    • Issue is important
    • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
    • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

    Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

    How to Use Systems Thinking

    Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

    1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

    The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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    If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

    A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

    If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

    Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

    2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

    Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

    Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

    You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

    i. The Event Perspective

    If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

    So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

    There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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    ii. Pattern Perspective

    To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

    It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

    A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

    Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

     

    iii. The Structure Perspective

    To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

    If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

    The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

    The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

    3. People Problems vs System Problems

    Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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    Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

    If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

    Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

    In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

    How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

    Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

    Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

    1. Gain Mastery

    You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

    2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

    There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

    Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

    3. Establish Your Vision

    Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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    Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

    4. Learn in Groups

    There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

    For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

    5. Think in Systems

    Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

    Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

    After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

    Final Thoughts

    You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

    Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

    More to Help You Think Smarter

    Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

    Reference

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