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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 July 7, 2020

    Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

    Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

    Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

    Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

    The Skinny on Mental Workouts

    Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

    Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

    1. Improved Memory

    After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

    2. Reduced Stress Levels

    Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

    3. Improved Work Performance

    Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

    4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

    As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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    Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

    Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

    The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

    1. Brainstorming

    One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

    If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

    2. Dancing

    Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

    Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

    3. Learning a New Language

    Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

    With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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    4. Developing a Hobby

    Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

    If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

    For example:

    • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
    • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
    • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
    • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

    Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

    5. Board Games

    Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

    Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

    6. Card Games

    Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

    A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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    7. Puzzles

    Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

    Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

    8. Playing Music

    Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

    Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

    What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

    9. Meditating

    Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

    Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

    • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
    • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
    • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
    • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
    • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
    • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

    10. Deep Conversation

    There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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    Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

    11. Cooking

    When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

    If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

    12. Mentorship

    Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

    Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

    Final Thoughts

    Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

    To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

    More Tips for Training Your Brain

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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