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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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    Published on November 23, 2020

    How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

    How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

    Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

    Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

    Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

    Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

    Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

    Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

    Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

    In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

    Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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    After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

    What can we learn from this historical lesson?

    1. Focus on the Consequences

    Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

    So was Moscow not an important target after all?

    Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

    When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

    • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
    • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
    • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

    The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

    This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

    2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

    Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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    Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

    If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

    Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

    This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

    Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

    • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
    • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
    • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
    • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

    Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

    3. Ask for Advice

    Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

    Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

    A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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    Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

    4. Beware of Biased Advice

    Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

    For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

    • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
    • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
    • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
    • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
    • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

    However, most purchases are unnecessary.

    Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

    Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

    After all,

    • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
    • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
    • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
    • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
    • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

    There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

    Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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    Bottom Line

    It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

    You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

    Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

    Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

    Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

    Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

    Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

    More Tips on Thinking Clearly

    Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
    [2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
    [3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
    [4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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