“Musical activities are an engaging form of cognitive brain training and we are now seeing robust evidence of brain plasticity from musical training not just in younger brains, but in older brains too”.
—Gavin Bidelman, Assistant professor, University of Memphis
With the use of modern technology, scientists have uncovered surprising evidence that playing a musical instrument holds a great deal more benefits than we have ever imagined.
Scientists are now able to monitor brain activity in real-time using FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). These machines monitor activity in different parts of the brain. Researchers found that listening to music triggered ‘fireworks’ within the brain, suggesting activity in multiple parts of the brain simultaneously.Advertising
Playing music is described by Anita Collins in a TED Ed video: ‘how playing an instrument benefits your brain’ as the brain’s version of a ‘full-body workout’.
“The neuroscientists saw multiple areas of the brain light up simultaneously, processing different information in intricate, interrelated and astonishingly fast sequences.”
—Anita Collins, TED Ed
Neuroscientists found that the aesthetic and artistic factors of learning to play a musical instrument are unique when compared with any other activity studied, including other arts and sports.Advertising
Making music triggers activity in virtually every part of the brain at once, particularly the visual, auditory and motor cortices, and disciplined practice strengthens these areas. We can apply that strength to benefit other functions in day-to-day life.
Playing a musical instrument involves the mathematical and linguistic capacities of the left hemisphere of the brain in addition to the creative capacity of the right hemisphere. This strengthens the bridge between the two, allowing better communication between them. As a result, it is suggested that people who play musical instruments hone better problem-solving skills in both social and academic situations. Musicians are also known to demonstrate heightened memory functions in regard to storing, creating and retrieving memories more efficiently.
The ability to comprehend speech has been shown to be one of the cognitive factors affected by aging. The brain’s central auditory system weakens in later years, diminishing its ability to analyze, sequence, and identify acoustic features of speech.
New studies led by the Canadian Rotman Research Institute (RRI) suggest that older adults who begin playing musical instruments at a young age identify speech sounds 20% faster than their non-musical peers.Advertising
“Starting formal lessons on a musical instrument prior to age 14 and continuing intense training for up to a decade appears to enhance key areas in the brain that support speech recognition”.
—- Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care
The study consisted of 20 healthy adults between the ages of 55 and 75, half of whom were musicians and the other half non-musicians. They were asked to identify sounds ranging from random speech sounds, to simple single vowel sounds, to a more challenging and complex combination of the two.
With the use of EEG (Electroencephalography) imaging, scientists were able to measure the precise timing of electrical activity in the brain in response to the given stimuli. It was then identified that older musicians showed double or triple brain-behavior response compared to their non-musical counterparts.Advertising
Musical training commenced before the age of fourteen and carried out into adulthood offers a cognitive boost to developing brains. Additionally, the new findings suggest that these boosts carry on into old age, when the brain needs the added help most.
Whether you are a parent considering introducing your child to their first musical instrument at a young age or an older adult who may have begun playing music as a young person, the benefits of a musical lifestyle are endless. Starting musical training early is the key to an even brighter future.
Last Updated on September 18, 2019
15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done
You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.
Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.
A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.
Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.
So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.
1. Purge Your Office
De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?
Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.
Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.
2. Gather and Redistribute
Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.
3. Establish Work “Zones”
Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)
Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.
4. Close Proximity
Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.
5. Get a Good Labeler
Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.
6. Revise Your Filing System
As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.
What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.
Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:
- Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
- Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
- Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
- Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
- Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
- Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
- File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.
Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity
7. Clear off Your Desk
Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.
If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.
8. Organize your Desktop
Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.
Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.
Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.
9. Organize Your Drawers
Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.
Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.
10. Separate Inboxes
If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.
11. Clear Your Piles
Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.
Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.
12. Sort Mails
Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .
13. Assign Discard Dates
You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.
Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.
14. Filter Your Emails
Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.
When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.
Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero
15. Straighten Your Desk
At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.
Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.
Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!
More Organizing Hacks
- How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People
- How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)
- One Question to Help You Successfully Declutter Anything
Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com