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Top 5 Benefits of Using Gantt Charts for Your Projects

Top 5 Benefits of Using Gantt Charts for Your Projects

If you are involved in a lot of projects at work, you need a way to be able to stay fully organized, to get things done in the best possible way, and to finish projects on time. So, what you really need is to start using Gantt Charts. What are Gantt Charts? Well, if you are not an expert in project management, you may not be familiar with these charts. But once you do familiarize yourself with them, you will wonder how you ever got projects completed without them.

So, let’s start out by talking about what a Gantt Chart actually is. A Gantt Chart is simply a project management technique that helps you to plan activities and track all project schedules. It is a terrific way to be able to display all of the tasks involved with a given project against time. Basically, it is a simple chart that tells you what you need to do and when you need to do it. The left side of the chart shows the tasks that need to be completed, and the right side is used as a timeline. Each activity is shown on the timeline by a bar that shows how long the activity should take.

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Benefits of Using Gantt Charts

There are several benefits of using Gantt Charts, and all of them involve making your job a whole lot easier. Here, we are going to discuss the top five benefits of using these charts to help you get projects completed on time.

1. Organize Your Thoughts

This is an excellent way to be able to keep your thoughts organized while you are working on projects. When you are able to organize thoughts, you can compartmentalize the various parts of each project, and this makes it a lot easier to get things done. You can do little things one by one and see results, rather than focusing on everything all at once and getting nothing done.

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2. Track Your Progress

When you have a Gantt Chart to look at, you can see how much progress you are making on projects you are working on. You can use the chart to prioritize high level tasks and to allocate tasks so you get the most important things completed first. You will always know whether you are on track and what still needs to be done.

3. Set Realistic Time Frames

Because the right side of the Gantt Chart is a timeline, you will be able to see what you are doing, when certain tasks need to be done, and how long it should take you to complete tasks. Make sure when you are setting time frames that you take into consideration other things that you will need to do during the same time frame. This will help you prepare for or avoid interruptions in your work that could keep you from getting things done.

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4. Clear Things Up

Often, diagrams and charts can be a lot easier to read than paragraphs of information. Gantt Charts give you the information you need in diagram and chart form so that you can see the whole picture and understand it completely. This is much clearer than having to piece together bits of information and figure it all out on your own.

5. Keep Your Team Informed

When you place the Gantt Chart in an area where your entire team can see it, everyone can stay on top of things and get projects completed faster. The Gantt Chart will let everyone know what the objectives are, when tasks are to be completed, and the process you will use to complete them. This will make a huge difference in how your team performs, and projects will get completed much better and faster.

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Featured photo credit: Startup Stock Photos via pexels.com

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Jane Hurst

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

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