Focus: Single-Tasking and Productivity, by Leo Babauta ‘Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.’ ~Alexander Graham Bell Many of us grew up in the age of multi-tasking, where you couldn’t call yourself productive if you weren’t a good multi-tasker. We learned to always have several balls in the air at once — while writing something on the computer, we had a phone call going, we were writing something on a notepad or paper form, we were reviewing documents, sometimes even holding a meeting at the same time. When email and Instant Messaging and blogs and the rest of the Internet came along, multi-tasking went haywire. It’s not a sane way of living, however, and it’s not necessarily the most effective way of working either. * Multi-tasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task, and the switch back again. * Multi-tasking is more complicated, and thus more prone to stress and errors. A single-tasking life Imagine instead, a single-tasking life. 1. 2. 3.
Monotasking Is The New Multitasking We all know multitasking is inefficient. A classic 2007 study of Microsoft workers found that when they responded to email or instant messaging alerts, it took them, on average, nearly 10 minutes to deal with their inboxes or messages, and another 10-15 minutes to really get back into their original tasks. That means that a mere three distractions per hour can preclude you from getting anything else done. Then there’s the relationship “inefficiency” that comes from multitasking. We know this, yet we keep doing it. No human activity is immune. Fortunately, there are ways to learn to focus. Live right There are many reasons to exercise, hydrate, and get enough sleep--and the ability to fight distractions is one of them. Tie yourself to the mast To resist the original siren song, Odysseus bound himself to his ship so he couldn’t pursue these tempting creatures. Play offense Don’t tolerate boredom Bregman once spent a week consciously avoiding multitasking. Plan Accept your limits
THE BRAIN - PBS series and book For the past 2 years I've been writing and filming this 6 hour television series and the companion book. Join me for an exhilarating tour into the inner cosmos that generates your reality. In the infinitely dense tangle of billions of brain cells and their trillions of connections, I hope you’ll be able to squint and make out something that you might not have expected to see in there. You. The Television Program THE BRAIN with David Eagleman airs in the United States beginning October 14, 2015 on PBS. Six one-hour episodes that tell the story of the inner workings of the brain and take viewers on a visually spectacular journey into why they feel and think the things they do. This epic series focuses on the basic truths of being human, exposing elegant ideas about the brain as they apply to us and our experiences. In a cubic centimeter of brain tissue there are as many connections as stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. THE BRAIN WITH DAVID EAGLEMAN is produced by Blink Films. The Book
9 Science-Backed Methods for a Happier, More Productive Meeting If you have ever wanted to pop an escape hatch or teleport to distant worlds just to get out of a meeting, take heart. There are ways to hold a better meeting. Forward-thinking companies have found creative ways to get their teams together, and their lessons and structure can be easily duplicated in meetings anywhere. These creative methods aren’t just clever for cleverness’s sake: Most of them are science-backed and all of them are grounded in successful experience. With just a handful of hacks, meetings can be speedier, more productive, and more enjoyable for everyone involved. 5 research-backed ways to hold a more productive meeting 1. What’s your record for longest meeting? Can anyone beat my four-hour marathon? When it comes to meeting pain points, length often tops the list. Work expands to the time you schedule for it. For this reason, you may want to keep meetings to 15 minutes or shorter, whenever possible. The 18-minute max has physiological roots. 2. Set a 30 minute timer. 3. 4.
The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time - Tony Schwartz by Tony Schwartz | 8:53 AM March 14, 2012 Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work? It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time. What we’ve lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Technology has blurred them beyond recognition. Tell the truth: Do you answer email during conference calls (and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? The biggest cost — assuming you don’t crash — is to your productivity. But most insidiously, it’s because if you’re always doing something, you’re relentlessly burning down your available reservoir of energy over the course of every day, so you have less available with every passing hour. I know this from my own experience. If you’re a manager, here are three policies worth promoting: 1. 2. 3. It’s also up to individuals to set their own boundaries. 1. 2. 3.
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8 Things Everybody Ought to Know About Concentrating “Music helps me concentrate,” Mike said to me glancing briefly over his shoulder. Mike was in his room writing a paper for his U.S. History class. On his desk next to his computer sat crunched Red Bulls, empty Gatorade bottles, some extra pocket change and scattered pieces of paper. Mike made a shift about every thirty seconds between all of the above. Do you know a person like this? The Science Behind Concentration In the above account, Mike’s obviously stuck in a routine that many of us may have found ourselves in, yet in the moment we feel it’s almost an impossible routine to get out of. When we constantly multitask to get things done, we’re not multitasking, we’re rapidly shifting our attention. Phase 1: Blood Rush Alert When Mike decides to start writing his History essay, blood rushes to his anterior prefrontal cortex. Phase 2: Find and Execute Phase 3: Disengagement While in this state, Mike then hears an email notification. The process repeats itself sequentially. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
The Super Simple Phone Hack That Will Transform Your Productivity A while back, my cofounder Leo gave me an interesting suggestion: He said I should try disabling all notifications on my iPhone. I find this suggestion especially interesting because it is one that goes against the normal phone setup. It’s so usual to stick to how things are, and with iPhone apps the easiest thing to do is to “allow” all those notifications. It seems almost odd to even consider doing things any other way. I chose to go along with Leo’s suggestion, although I was admittedly quite skeptical that it would change much. I imagined that I had pretty good willpower, and that I am fairly productive already. What it’s like to live without notifications “Don’t confuse the urgent with the important.” - Preston Ni For the first week that I turned off notifications, I checked Twitter, Facebook, email, and other places regularly. With zero notifications, I feel like I can get my head stuck into a problem much more easily than I did before. More than anything, I feel a lot calmer.
Choice Theory - William Glasser Institute The mission of The William Glasser Institute is to teach all people Choice Theory® and to use it as the basis for training in: Reality Therapy, Lead-Management, and Glasser Quality School Education. Choice Theory The 1998 book, Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, is the primary text for all that is taught by The William Glasser Institute. all we do is behave,that almost all behavior is chosen, andthat we are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun. In practice, the most important need is love and belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs. Choice theory, with the Seven Caring Habits, replaces external control psychology and the Seven Deadly Habits. Relationships and our Habits The Ten Axioms of Choice Theory
How Managers Become Leaders Artwork: Adam Ekberg, Country Road, 2005, ink-jet print Harald (not his real name) is a high-potential leader with 15 years of experience at a leading European chemical company. He started as an assistant product manager in the plastics unit and was quickly transferred to Hong Kong to help set up the unit’s new Asian business center. All of Harald’s hard work culminated in his appointment as the head of the company’s plastic resins unit, a business with more than 3,000 employees worldwide. Like Harald, many rising stars trip when they shift from leading a function to leading an enterprise and for the first time taking responsibility for a P&L and oversight of executives across corporate functions. What I found is that to make the transition successfully, executives must navigate a tricky set of changes in their leadership focus and skills, which I call the seven seismic shifts. Specialist to Generalist What is “enough”?