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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 January 13, 2020

    7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

    7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

    Throughout the ages, there have been many beliefs in various tricks to boosting brain power, yet when held up to scientific scrutiny, most of these beliefs don’t add up.

    When I was a child, for example, my mother told me if I ate fish it would make me more intelligent. Of course, there’s no scientific proof this is true.

    Today, there is a myriad of games you can download to your phone that claims to improve your brain’s cognitive skills. While we are still waiting for a conclusive scientific verdict on these, recent studies by neuroscientists at Western University in Ontario[1] and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia appear to contradict these claims.[2]

    So, how can we really boost our brain power? Well, it turns out there are a number of simple things you can do that will improve the function of your brain. Here are seven to get you started.

    1. Do Your Most Difficult Tasks in the Morning

    Our brains work at their best when they are fresh and energized after a good night’s sleep.

    If you have a task to do that requires a lot of thought and focus, the best time to do that task would be first thing in the morning when your brain is at its freshest.

    This is one of the reasons why checking email first thing the morning is not a good idea. You are wasting your brain’s best hours on a simple task that can be done when your brain is not at its freshest

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    Throughout the day, you will find the amount of time you can focus for will fall. Your decision-making abilities will also begin to weaken as the day progresses. This is called “decision fatigue” and that means the decisions you make later in the day will not be as good as the decisions you make earlier in the day.

    It’s far better to do your most difficult, creative tasks early taking advantage of your brain’s higher energy levels.

    Try to avoid meetings first thing in the morning and schedule work that needs higher creative energy and concentration.

    2. Get Enough Breaks

    Our brains are not very good at maintaining concentration and focus for much more than an hour. Once you go beyond a certain amount of time, doing focused work, you will find yourself making more and more mistakes. This is a sign your brain is tired and needs a break.

    Taking the right kind of break is important. Switching from working on a complex spreadsheet to checking your social media feeds is not going to give your brain the right kind of break. Instead, get up from your desk and head outside. If that is not possible, go to the nearest window and look outside.

    Your brain needs a break from the screen, not just the spreadsheet, so leave your phone behind so you are not tempted to look at it and just savour the view.

    3. Read Books, not Social Media Feeds

    There are no shortcuts to improved knowledge and you are certainly not going to improve your general knowledge about anything useful by reading social media feeds. Instead, make reading books a regular habit.

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    When you read good quality books, you increase your ability to use the knowledge you learn to solve problems as your brain will apply the knowledge you learned to existing situations.

    Learn about economic theory, history and psychology. All these topics have real practical applications for us all today.

    4. Exercise Regularly

    Humans did not evolve to be stationary animals. You need to move.

    Had our ancestors spent their days sat around, they would not have survived very long. To survive and find food, our ancestors had to keep moving. Our brains have evolved to function at their best when we are exercised.

    In his book, Brain Rules, Prof.John Medina explains when we exercise, we increase the amount of oxygen in our brains and this helps to sharpen our brain’s functions.

    In studies, when a previously sedentary group of people began a light exercise programme, their cognitive skills improve as well as reaction times and quantitive skills.

    This is why you are more likely to find the solution to a problem when you are walking somewhere or exercising rather than when you are sat at a desk in front of a screen.

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    5. Get Enough of the Right Food

    You probably have experienced the afternoon slump at some point in your life. This is when you feel tired and fatigued in the mid-afternoon. This is a result of the carbohydrates you ate at lunchtime, stimulating your body to produce insulin which then causes a drop in your blood sugar levels.

    When you go into an afternoon slump, concentrating for long periods become almost impossible and you just want to curl up and go to sleep.

    To prevent the afternoon slump, try to eat a protein-rich lunch such as a tuna or chicken salad without pasta, rice or bread. Keep some healthy snacks such as mixed nuts and dried bananas around your workspace and when you feel a little peckish, eat a few of these.

    Not only will you avoid the afternoon slump, but you will also improve your overall general health and feel a lot more energetic.

    6. Drink Enough Water

    Your brain is made up of about 70% water, so without enough water, your brain will not function at its best.

    When you are not drinking enough water, you will find your ability to concentrate, make decisions and stay alert will reduce. You will feel sleepy and lack energy. Your brain functions at its best when it is properly hydrated.

    The solution is to keep a large bottle of water at your work station and sip regularly from it throughout the day. This will increase the number of trips you need to make to the bathroom which is a good thing. It will keep you moving and taking regular breaks from your screen.

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    7. Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

    You probably don’t need a long scientific study to convince you that if you are not getting enough sleep, you are not going to function at your best.

    You just need to go a couple of days without getting enough sleep and you feel your abilities reduce. Your decision-making skills become erratic, your energy levels drop and your ability to stay focused on your work diminishes.

    If you want to improve your brain’s ability to function, then start with getting enough sleep. The number of hours you need will depend on your own circadian rhythms, so find what works best for you.

    Six to eight hours is usually enough for most people so make sure you are hitting that number of hours per night as a minimum.

    The Bottom Line

    Improving our brain power is not difficult. All we need to do is develop a few simple habits such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and eating the right foods.

    These seven tips will go a long way to helping you to become more alert, able to focus longer and make decisions. All simple common sense tricks anyone can use.

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    Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

    Reference

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