How To Ditch Multitasking For Better Productivity
Posted: 03/24/2014 8:22 am EDT Updated: 03/24/2014 8:59 am EDT Print ArticleMULTITASKING
By Katie Golde
Quick reality check: We live in a busy world where a million things are happening at once. For many of us, multitasking is a way to keep up with the flow and feel like we're not getting left behind. From checking email at brunch with friends to finishing a status report during a staff meeting, a lot of us are trying to accomplish a whole lot, all at the same time.
Here's the problem: Only 2 percent of us multitask effectively. That means the remaining 98 percent of us are running around like headless chickens in the name of "productivity."
Increased productivity is available to us all -- and surprisingly, it may come in the form of doing only one thing at a time.
What to do? It's time to put down the smartphone, lift up your head and actually listen to that funny joke your friend is telling or that question your boss is about to throw your way at the meeting. Increased productivity is available to us all -- and surprisingly, it may come in the form of doing only one thing at a time.
What's The Deal?
Just so we're all on the same page, multitasking means trying to do more than one thing a time. In the era of smartphones, tablets and portable laptops, it's easy to multitask without even realizing it. After all, most of us have checked Facebook in chemistry class or during that long conference call (at least once).
Multitasking with a phone (or iPad, tablet, etc.) is so prevalent (among those with access to these technologies) that one study even called it the "epidemic of distraction." Contrary to popular thought, addiction to mobile electronic devices may actually impair multitasking, lower performance and result in cognitive overload. Guess we aren't as productive with that iPhone as we thought, huh?
As it turns out, our brains aren't very good at doing more than one thing at a time. One study found that the brain may get overwhelmed when faced with multiple tasks. Researchers found that when we attempt to multitask, the brain "bottlenecks" the information and quickly moves its attention from one thing to the next, instead of addressing the items simultaneously. Rather than becoming more productive when faced with multiple tasks to accomplish at once, this suggests we really only become more frazzled -- and thus less able to handle the challenges of a high workload.
Your Action Plan
While most of us are susceptible to multitasking, research suggests that people who have a harder time blocking out distractions and focusing on a single task are more likely to be multitaskers (sound like someone you know?). Those of us who do multitask often overestimate just how successful we are at doing so, to boot.
But there's hope for us yet. Once you're willing to accept that multitasking isn't doing us any favors, follow these tips for focusing on one thing at a time -- without sacrificing productivity.
Put down the phone (gently!). Block out distractions while you work, hang out with friends or play the guitar by turning off the phone, TV and anything else that draws you away from what you're actually doing.
Get into a routine. This can be helpful if you spend a good chunk of your day on the computer or working from home. Instead of diving in to tasks willy-nilly, set up a schedule that tells you what to work on and when (and be sure to incorporate some breaks into the day). That way, you'll know what to expect from yourself each time you sit down to work (and you'll be less tempted to goof off online or tinker with household repairs).
Set goals. Know what you're going to do before you start doing it. If you have no clear path, distractions can come easily. Before starting a new task, take a few minutes to plan out the steps you'll need to complete and in what order -- that way, you'll be less able to wander. An important step of goal setting? A quality to-do list.
Eat a good breakfast. Turns out taking a second to chow down on a healthy breakfast can help boost concentration and focus. Bonus points if that meal includes some protein.
Meditate. Studies suggest that regular meditation can boost brain function and is associated with better focus and attention. It can also help reduce stress when a massive to-do list is looming.
Block it out. Can't beat distraction with willpower alone? Don't worry: There are applications out there that will shut down distractions on your media devices. An app called Dark Room only allows your computer to allow you to write. For $15, the app Anti-Social will stop you from checking social media while working. And Rescue Time allows you to block select sites and track the amount of time you spend on various activities, so you can adjust accordingly.
Listen well. We're not being the most productive when we're half listening to someone while checking our phone, Facebook and LinkedIn all at once (also, it's just plain rude). To be a better listener (and get the info you need the first time), face the speaker and look him/her right in the eye and stay present with the conversation. Who cares if you have 12 unread emails; this person deserves your attention.
Cut out clutter. To help avoid distractions, stay organized. Find a place for everything on your desk and keep your paperwork in order so you're not wasting time searching through piles of files (say that five times fast). This goes for your desktop too: Keep files organized and close extra browser windows and taps so you can work with a clean screen. For an extra boost, apply some Feng Shui principles to your workspace.
Give yourself a break. Catch yourself staring at your computer? Literally, just staring at it? Probably time for a break. Studies show taking brief breaks during a task can improve focus. So take a walk around the block, get up and do some jumping jacks or take five minutes to face the wall and breathe deeply. It's good for you, and it's good for your productivity -- win-win!
Read about it. Want even more tips? There are plenty of books available that will help you develop strategies for achieving better focus and deeper concentration. Check out this list to get started.
It may not be easy to quit, but science tells us that multitasking is not all it's cracked up to be. Staying focused and concentrating on one task at a time is worth a shot. And who knows? We may end up getting more done (and feeling a whole lot calmer) in the long run.
Click here for the original article.
everydaytaichi online lesson for Yang 10 Form + Single Whip, Cloud Hands, High Pat on Horse, Kick Outs, Double Punch
The Earth may not be flat nor is it the center of the universe, but that doesn't mean old-world intellectuals got everything wrong. In fact, in recent years, modern science has validated a number of teachings and beliefs rooted in ancient wisdom that, up until now, had been trusted but unproven empirically.
A full 55 pages of Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, are dedicated to these scientific breakthroughs that often confirm the power of ancient psychology and contemplative practices. On an intuitive level, we’ve known for centuries that these lifestyle practices can help us lead happy, healthy and balanced lives. But now, with the support of hard science, we can embrace these pieces of ancient wisdom and start really living them.
Here are eight ancient beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by modern science.
Helping others can make you healthier.
In their never-ending search for the best way to live, Greek philosophers argued over the relative benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness. Hedonic well-being sees happiness as a factor of increased pleasure and decreased pain, while eudaimonic ("human flourishing") happiness has more to do with having a larger purpose or meaning in life. A recent study from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist Barbara Fredrickson may reveal which form of happiness is more beneficial for health and well-being.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, found that while both types of happiness can make you feel good, the latter could promote physical health and longevity as well. Using phone interviews, questionnaires and blood samples, the study explored how the two forms of happiness affected individuals on a genetic level. Participants with more hedonic and less eudaimonic well-being were found to have a lower production of virus-attacking antibodies, while those with more eudaimonic well-being experienced an increase in antibody production.
Acupuncture can restore balance to your body.
The traditional Chinese medicine technique is believed to address imbalances in a person’s qi (pronounced chi), the circulating energy within every living thing. Whether or not you believe in the existence of this energy flow, a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that the age-old practice may be an effective way to relieve migraines, arthritis and other chronic pains.
Analyzing previous research data from approximately 18,000 subjects, researchers found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture and standard western care when treating various types of pain, including migraines and chronic back pain.
We need the support of a community in order to thrive.
Traditional Buddhist teachings suggest that community is a key component in any happy, fulfilled life. A 2010 study conducted by Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers confirmed this belief, concluding that a healthy social life promotes longevity.
In analyzing the 148 studies -- involving more than 300,000 individual participants -- available on the subject, the researchers discovered that those with stronger social relationships maintained a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival. The effect of social relationships on mortality risk is even greater than the effect of exercise or obesity.
Tai chi can help alleviate a variety of health conditions.
This ancient Chinese martial art is based on the belief that achieving balance with one’s mind and body creates an overall sense of peace and harmony, naturally inspiring a long life. A report in the May 2009 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch summarized several studies confirming that this “moving meditation” practice can help prevent and treat many age-related health problems alongside standard treatment in older adults. A number of studies in the past decade have found tai chi to be helpful for those suffering from arthritis, low bone density and heart disease.
Meditation can help you reduce stress and discover inner peace.
Stemming from ancient Eastern origins, the practice of meditation is believed to help still the mind and reach a heightened level of awareness, improving health and well-being as a byproduct. Science is now proving the health benefits of meditation. The latest study from a team of Harvard Medical School scientists reveals how this mind-body practice can affect genes that control stress levels and immune function.
Harvard psychiatrist John Denniger and his team used neuro-imaging and genomics technology to measure potential physiological changes in each subject more accurately. After observing the high-stress individuals as they followed the study’s prescribed yoga and meditation practices, the team noticed an improved mitochondrial energy production, utilization and resiliency, which help to reduce the stress linked to health conditions like hypertension and infertility.
Compassion is the key to a meaningful life.
Tibetan Buddhist tradition includes a practice called metta, or loving-kindness. A 2012 study from Emory University found that compassion meditation based on this Tibetan model can effectively boost one’s ability to empathize with others by way of reading their facial expressions.
Another loving-kindness meditation study from 2011 found that, over time, this practice increased participants' positive emotions that allowed them to find a deeper sense of mindfulness, their purpose in life, the network of support surrounding them, and their health. These components helped increase their overall life satisfaction.
Accepting what you can’t change is key to reducing suffering.
According to Buddhist teachings, one must accept the things they cannot change in order to reduce suffering. Now, scientists have found that this belief rings true, especially for older adults who are working through difficult life changes.
Researchers from Deakin University in Australia found that facing the realities of living with assistance and losing a degree of independence helps seniors live longer and feel far happier. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies last year, compared feelings of life satisfaction and perceived control of older adults living with assistance and those living in the community. Their analysis revealed that the ability to accept the inevitable (as well as maintain low-level control) in an assisted living setting was a significant predictor of life satisfaction. The researchers concluded, "In order to protect the well-being of older individuals, adaptation involves both a sense of control and the active acceptance of what cannot be changed."
All you need is love.
If there is one thing that a variety of ancient wisdom traditions can agree on, it’s the value of love in maintaining a happy, meaningful life. And a group of Harvard researchers, on a mission to uncover the true roots of life fulfillment, conducted a 75-year study that reached the same conclusion.
The Harvard Grant Study, led by psychiatrist George Vaillant, followed the life trajectories of 268 male students in order to answer life’s universal questions of growth, development, value and purpose. Vaillant considers the most meaningful finding of the study to be that a happy life revolves around loving relationships. He explained that there are two pillars of happiness: "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away."
Intuition is challenging to define, despite the huge role it plays in our everyday lives. Steve Jobs called it, for instance, "more powerful than intellect." But however we put it into words, we all, well, intuitively know just what it is.
Pretty much everyone has experienced a gut feeling -- that unconscious reasoning that propels us to do something without telling us why or how. But the nature of intuition has long eluded us, and has inspired centuries' worth of research and inquiry in the fields of philosophy and psychology.
"I define intuition as the subtle knowing without ever having any idea why you know it," Sophy Burnham, bestselling author of The Art of Intuition, tells The Huffington Post. "It's different from thinking, it's different from logic or analysis ... It's a knowing without knowing."
Our intuition is always there, whether we're aware of it or not. As HuffPost President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington puts it in her upcoming book Thrive:
Even when we're not at a fork in the road, wondering what to do and trying to hear that inner voice, our intuition is always there, always reading the situation, always trying to steer us the right way. But can we hear it? Are we paying attention? Are we living a life that keeps the pathway to our intuition unblocked? Feeding and nurturing our intuition, and living a life in which we can make use of its wisdom, is one key way to thrive, at work and in life.
Cognitive science is beginning to demystify the strong but sometimes inexplicable presence of unconscious reasoning in our lives and thought. Often dismissed as unscientific because of its connections to the psychic and paranormal, intuition isn't just a bunch of hoo-ha about our "Spidey senses" -- the U.S. military is even investigating the power of intuition, which has helped troops to make quick judgments during combat that ended up saving lives.
"There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions," Ivy Estabrooke, a program manager at the Office of Naval Research, told the New York Times in 2012.
Here are 10 things that people in touch with their intuition do differently.
They listen to that inner voice.
"It's very easy to dismiss intuition," says Burnham. "But it's a great gift that needs to be noticed."
The No. 1 thing that distinguishes intuitive people is that they listen to, rather than ignore, the guidance of their intuitions and gut feelings.
"Everybody is connected to their intuition, but some people don't pay attention to it as intuition," Burnham say. "I have yet to meet a successful businessman that didn't say, 'I don't know why I did that, it was just a hunch.'"
In order to make our best decisions, we need a balance of intuition -- which serves to bridge the gap between instinct and reasoning -- and rational thinking, according to Francis Cholle, author of The Intuitive Compass. But the cultural bias against following one's instinct or intuition often leads to disregarding our hunches -- to our own detriment.
"We don't have to reject scientific logic in order to benefit from instinct," says Cholle. "We can honor and call upon all of these tools, and we can seek balance. And by seeking this balance we will finally bring all of the resources of our brain into action."
They take time for solitude.
If you want to get in touch with your intuition, a little time alone may be the most effective way. Just as solitude can help give rise to creative thinking, it can also help us connect to our deepest inner wisdom.
Intuitive people are often introverted, according to Burnham. But whether you're an introvert or not, taking time for solitude can help you engage in deeper thought and reconnect with yourself.
"You have to be able to have a little bit of solitude; a little bit of silence," she says. "In the middle of craziness ... you can't recognize [intuition] above all of the noise of everyday life."
"Creativity does its best work when it functions intuitively," writes researcher and author Carla Woolf.
In fact, creative people are highly intuitive, explains Burnham, and just as you can increase your creativity through practice, you can boost your intuition. In fact, practicing one may build up the other.
They practice mindfulness.
Meditation and other mindfulness practices can be an excellent way to tap into your intuition. As the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute explains, "Mindfulness can help you filter out mental chatter, weigh your options objectively, tune into your intuition and ultimately make a decision that you can stand behind completely."
Mindfulness can also connect you to your intuition by boosting self-knowledge. A 2013 study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science showed that mindfulness -- defined as "paying attention to one's current experience in a non-judgmental way" -- may help us to better understand our own personalities. And as Arianna Huffington notes in Thrive, increased intuition, compassion, creativity and peace are all wonderful side effects of meditating.
They observe everything.
look out window
"The first thing to do is notice -- keep a little journal, and notice when odd things happen," Burnham says. You'll gain a keen sense for how often coincidences, surprising connections and on-the-dot intuitions occur in your daily life -- in other words, you'll start to tap into your intuition.
They listen to their bodies.
Intuitive people learn to tune into their bodies and heed their "gut feelings."
If you've ever started feeling sick to your stomach when you knew something was wrong but couldn't put your finger on what, you understand that intuitions can cause a physical sensation in the body. Our gut feelings are called gut feelings for a reason -- research suggests that emotion and intuition are very much rooted in the "second brain" in the gut.
They connect deeply with others.
Mind reading may seem like the stuff of fantasy and pseudo-science, but it's actually something we do everyday. It's called empathic accuracy, a term in psychology that refers to the "seemingly magical ability to map someone's mental terrain from their words, emotions and body language," according to Psychology Today.
"When you see a spider crawling up someone's leg, you feel a creepy sensation," Marcia Reynolds writes in Psychology Today. "Similarly, when you observe someone reach out to a friend and they are pushed away, your brain registers the sensation of rejection. When you watch your team win or a couple embrace on television, you feel their emotions as if you are there. Social emotions like guilt, shame, pride, embarrassment, disgust and lust can all be experienced by watching others."
Tuning into your own emotions, and spending time both observing and listening to others face-to-face can help boost your powers of empathy, says Reynolds.
They pay attention to their dreams.
Burnham recommends paying attention to your dreams as a way to get in touch with your mind's unconscious thinking processes. Both dreams and intuition spring from the unconscious, so you can begin to tap into this part of your mind by paying attention to your dreams.
"At night, when you're dreaming, you're receiving information from the unconscious or intuitive part of your brain," says Burnham. "If you're attuned to your dreams, you can get a lot of information about how to live your life."
They enjoy plenty of down time.
Few things stifle intuition as easily as constant busyness, multitasking, connectivity to digital devices and stress and burnout. According to Huffington, we always have an intuitive sense about the people in our lives -- on a deep level, we know the good ones from the "flatterers and dissemblers" -- but we're not always awake enough to our intuition to acknowledge the difference to ourselves. The problem is that we're simply too busy.
"We always get warnings from our heart and our intuition when they appear," she writes in Thrive. "But we are often too busy to notice."
They mindfully let go of negative emotions.
Strong emotions -- particularly negative ones -- can cloud our intuition. Many of us know that we feel out of sorts or "not ourselves" when we're upset, and it may be because we're disconnected from our intuition.
"When you are very depressed, you may find your intuition fails," says Burnham. "When you're angry or in a heightened emotional state ... your intuition [can] fail you completely."
The evidence isn't just anecdotal: A 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that being in a positive mood boosted the ability to make intuitive judgments in a word game.
That's not to say that intuitive people never get upset -- but your intuition will fare better if you're able to mindfully accept and let go of negative emotions for the most part, rather than suppressing or dwelling on them.
Click here for : Inspiring Quotes St. Patrick's Day Irish Wisdom Luck of the Irish Irish Proverbs Gps Guide Healthy Living News
The stress and strain of constantly being connected can sometimes take your life -- and your well-being -- off course. GPS For The Soul can help you find your way back to balance.
GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony, or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to look at the GPS Guide below, visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.
Irish wisdom has a lot to teach when it comes to leading a life full of happiness and wonder -- all it takes is a little positive perspective. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, check out the eight proverbs below and use the inspiration to channel your inner luck of the Irish.
Brand NEW SUMMER 2014 Tai Chi Classes in East Honolulu, Hawaii
Yang Style Tai Chi: 24 Short Form and 10 Form
Tai Chi Classes in Honolulu, Hawaii
at Kilauea District Park
by everydaytaichi by lucy chun
NEW Classes will begin
June 9 Monday 530PM INTRO- no experience
June 10 Tuesday 900AM BEGINNER'S-some experience
June 12 Thursday 9AM INTRO - no experience
June 12 Thursday 10AM INTRO/ Novice - little experience
If you would join us, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Introduction: for brand new students who have NO experience
Mondays 5:30-6:30PM (10 weeks) Yang 10 Form
Thursdays 9-10 AM (10 weeks) Yang 24 + 10 Forms
2. Novice/INTRO: Yang 24 Short Form + 10 Form Thursdays 10-11AM (for those students who have little experience and no experience)
3. Beginners: for all students who have varying degrees of experience
Tuesdays Class 9-10 AM (10 weeks) Yang 24 + 10 Form
Tuition #20 for 10 classes / session
payable to City and County of Honolulu
Summer 2014 Registration at Kilauea Park:
May 19, Monday: 6-8pm
May 20, Tuesday: 2-5pm
May 21, Wednesday: 2-5pm
if you miss the above dates, and would like to join us, email me at: email@example.com
Copyright 2009 vmnproduction