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5 Valuable Lessons Only Learned From Comic Books

5 Valuable Lessons Only Learned From Comic Books

I love comic books. I’ve loved them since I was five years old. Over the years, I have often wondered what it is about them that I enjoy so much. I have thought about it for days, weeks, and months without ever finding the answer. Recently, I sat down to read one of my favorites, and while I was reading, it hit me. Suddenly, I knew exactly what it is that I enjoy so much. To my surprise, there isn’t any one character or theme that explains it. It is actually because of the subliminal messages that can be found buried in their pages.

Tough topics

Topics like racism, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexism are too often considered taboo. In that case, is a person who suffers from any one of these meant to suffer alone? The comic industry doesn’t think so, and over the years it has done an admirable job of speaking up. They have created entire story arcs designed help raise awareness for each of the above problems.

Because of the unique platform comic books have, you and I are able to see life from different viewpoints.

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Real-world issues

Comic books have become an outlet for writers and artists to get their opinions into the market. Real-world issues are highlighted throughout their pages, and it is the comic books that aren’t afraid of these topics that have become the most sought after and memorable comics in history. Just off the top of my head, I can think of references in comic books to the Suez crisis, PETA, buried landmines, world hunger, safe sex, and feminism.

Comics do what most of the world can’t. While the world struggles to find a politically correct way to bring these issues to the forefront, comic book writers are thinking of the next topic to highlight. Unlike most platforms, the comic industry does not fear the implications of its actions, and so comic books say what the world needs to hear.

Take note and don’t be afraid to speak up.

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Everybody has problems

On your worst day, you aren’t the only one struggling. Peter Parker is a teenager trying to find his place in the world, all while dealing with the everyday crises that are involved in being Spider-Man. Clark Kent is a man with two very different identities. As Superman, he must cope with being the epitome of all that is good, while as Clark, he juggles his normal life.

Just like Peter and Clark, you are forced to juggle two very different worlds: your professional life and your personal life. Yes, it is hard and yes, it can be overwhelming. Remember this: people all over this planet live on next to nothing, barely able to scrape by. They sometimes go days without water and even longer without food.

No matter how hard you perceive your life to be, someone, somewhere is much worse off.

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You can make a difference

We all want to change the world, but so very few of us do. While most think that changing the world is impossible, the ones who actually create change understand that anything is possible. The question is, “How?”

Take some time to figure out what your definition of “world” is. Is it your street? Neighborhood? City? Country? The entire planet? And what change do you want to create? Whatever it is, define it. Write it down, and repeat it to yourself daily. From there, equip yourself with the knowledge, people, and resources to make it happen. It isn’t as hard as you might think.

If Superman can make Metropolis a better place, you can make your world a better place too.

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Never give up

C.S. Lewis famously said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Comic book heroes suffer hardships more than any other characters in history. They lose allies, battles, and their health, all while creating a better world. Heed that lesson. Learn from it. A future… your future is worth fighting for.

When life knocks you down, get right back up and continue moving.

Featured photo credit: Flickr.com via flickr.com

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Joel a Scott

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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