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Flexible Work, Boredom, and Protein Powder Drama (Sunday Reads #12)

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Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.

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Work-Life Balance, Boredom, & Creativity

In Work-Life Balance Is Dead, author Ron Friedman says that “providing employees with more control over their schedule—to the extent that flexibility is possible—motivates them to work harder, produce higher-quality work, and develop greater loyalty for their company.”  Anecdotally, this feels right to me.

Finding ways to cope with boredom may help make you more creative according to a recent study. In this study, participants who had been asked to complete a boring writing task were more creative afterwards than a control group who had done more interesting work.  In other words, being bored may prime your brain for creative work.

First boredom, now distraction.  A new bit of research suggests that the kind of distractions from email, social media, and the like could actually boost your creativity.  Being open to distraction “may help people integrate ideas that are outside of focus of attention, leading to creativity in the real world.”

An old article, but a good one: How to Win the U.S. Memory Championship.  To become a grandmaster of memory, you have to “memorize 1,000 digits in under an hour, the precise order of 10 shuffled decks of playing cards in the same amount of time, and one shuffled deck in less than two minutes.”  Truly amazing.

Find yourself responding emotionally to things?  It could be due to lack of sleep.  One of the findings in a new book on sleep: “A person’s loss of sleep can be connected to their likelihood of reacting emotionally to a stressful situation.”  While not surprising, it’s a healthy reminder that your responses aren’t always rational, they could be a direct result of how well you’ve slept.

Food & Fitness

Protein powders from major companies like MusclePharm (which Arnold Schwarzenegger promotes) may not contain the amount of protein they claim according to a new lawsuit.  Sad, but not surprising if true.  The nutritional supplement industry has been known for this kind of stuff for decades.

I recently started using Naked Whey which has only one ingredient: 100% Grass-Fed Whey. No artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners and no taste (which is a good thing).

White rice isn’t known for its nutritional content, though it’s been making a bit of a comeback in the ancestral/primal/paleo world, especially for athletes.  But what if a little chemistry through cooking could improve upon white rice by cutting its caloric content and “converting” it into a resistant starch?

Scott Rdella covers The Awesomeness of the Turkish Getup, one of my all-time favorite movements. Learning it is more like learning a martial art or an elaborate dance move than an exercise.  If I could only do one movement for the rest of my life, the getup would go head-to-head with the deadlift for my weapon of choice.  Don’t know what it is?  Check out this video.

Could intermittent fasting work differently for women than it does for man?  An article on Precision Nutrition discusses the potential differences and offers some advice for how to experiment with it.

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Written by Mike Torres

March 29th, 2015 at 8:52 pm

  • Ravi

    Funny that you posted about the US memory champs…I just got out a deck of cards to do that card memorization thing Tim Ferris posted on his blog long back!

    On another note, I completely agree with the benefits of flex time.

    My wife and I are both self-employed right now. Despite any real lack of schedule, I know I’m working harder and smarter (in fewer hours) than ever before. When people are given freedom and a compelling mission, the results can be remarkable.

    I hope more US companies take a cue from some European cities (like Gothenburg, Sweden) who are challenging the idea of the 40 hour work week. Flex time (not just working different hours…but also working less) can work if implemented correctly.

    Who came up with the idea of a 40 (or 50 or 60) hour workweek anyway??!!

    • Tim has a great podcast interview with Ed Cooke – I would definitely check it out – it’s amazing.

      I’m a big fan of flex time and will move to that model at some point 😉