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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ tag

Dark Chocolate for Focus, Exercise for a Long Life (Sunday Reads #15)

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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.

This week I’m posting it on Monday because… well… Memorial Day.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Creativity and Focus

Creativity can reduce stress and become a habit.  “Productivity on meaningful work encourages engagement with that work, and this engagement fosters creativity.”

A new study has found that a Mediterranean diet with antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts was associated with improved cognitive function in older adults in Spain.  The control group ate a low-fat diet.

Dark chocolate can boost attention.  At least a few times per week I substitute an afternoon coffee or tea with some sipping chocolate (85%) – not only is it incredibly tasty, it helps me focus.

A new study has found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating.  I’m on Day 21 of the Headspace program and I already feel a noticeable difference in my overall stress levels, clarity of thought and ability to focus.  I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

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Written by Mike Torres

May 25th, 2015 at 12:30 pm

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.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

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.

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Written by Mike Torres

March 29th, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Creativity Myths, Decision Fatigue, and Gluten-Free Fanatics (Sunday Reads #10)

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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.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Creative Work

If you still think you couldn’t possibly be creative, the 5 Creativity Myths You Need to Stop Believing should help.

One of the most important thing you can do for lifelong learning & creativity is to read a lot.  According to Warren Buffett, knowledge builds up like compound interest and reading is the mechanism to enable it.  This article introduces the 10% Rule; a new system for reading more books on Amazon’s Kindle.

Omar Shahine tells us how to hit Inbox Zero every time you check your email.  I bounce at zero daily most days, but I haven’t tried this approach yet.

Children are natural born mindfulness practitioners.  So perhaps you could learn mindfulness by watching a child.

Great write-up on Farnham Street on Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset research.  If you’re a parent, you need to read this.  Everybody else should as well 😉

A short analysis of INTJ, a specific Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that I just happen to be.  “They tend to be both methodical and perfectionistic, and they have the drive to put their ideas into action and the persistence to realize their dreams.”  I’ll take that.  There are articles on other personality type indicators linked from that article as well.

Could your company have 9-5 hours, a full hour for lunch every day, 5-7 weeks of annual vacation, and zero email on nights and weekends… and still thrive?  Tony Schwartz believes so.

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Low-Fat Diets, Morning Routines, and Procrastination (Sunday Reads #7)

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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.  I’m posting this on Saturday this time to make sure email subscribers get this on Sunday.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Food as Fuel and Athleticism

Not that this is a surprise to most of you, but the science behind low-fat diet advice was undercooked.  “An international team of health scientists has completed a systematic study of the evidence available back in the 1970s and ’80s and concluded that a relationship of causation between fat consumption and coronary heart disease was never established.”

The U.S. is also dropping it’s crusade against cholesterol.  Another example of how misled we’ve all been for so long.

The flavonoids in dark chocolate have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, and anti-diarrheal properties.  My favorite dark chocolate is Green & Blacks and I eat a cube or two every evening.

Is there a better way to become the ultimate athlete than the randomness of Crossfit?  Max Shank puts forth a dedicated system with programming to be as strong as a gymnast, as fast as a sprinter, and as flexible as a martial artist.

The Incredible Power of Sleep

If you want to reduce body-fat levels, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation, you should sleep in a dark room and avoid blue light before you sleep.

This one is weird, but night owls tend to be more exploitive and entitled than early risers.

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Written by Mike Torres

February 14th, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Creative Work, Stress, and Being “Ready to Run” (Sunday Reads #5)

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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.  I’m posting this on Saturday this time to make sure email subscribers get this on Sunday.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Creative Work

How many times have you found yourself thinking “that really didn’t need to take an hour”?  Brad Feld has some experience with that.

“People sitting at messy desks are less efficient, less persistent, and more frustrated and weary than those at neat desks.”  I find it easier to keep my desk clean than to actually clean it, so at the end of every day I take 20 seconds to reset it before I leave the office.

18 Habits of Highly Creative People pulls together some great recommendations for how to do incredible things.

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Written by Mike Torres

January 31st, 2015 at 9:22 am

Boosting Memory, Perils of Diet Soda, and Getting Unstuck (Sunday Reads #3)

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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.  I’m posting this on Saturday this time to make sure email subscribers get this on Sunday.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.

High-Performance Work and Life

Fantastic post on the differences between a high-performer and a workaholic.  In my experience as someone who could maybe appear to be a workaholic from the outside, the conclusion rings true: “The big difference isn’t how many hours are logged, but how the individual feels on the inside about who they are in relationship to their work.”

When it comes to creativity, the “myth of epiphany” is commonplace.

An amazing episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast with Pavel Tsatsouline on the Science of Strength and the Art of Physical Performance.

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Written by Mike Torres

January 17th, 2015 at 9:20 am

How to Keep the Creativity Train Running on Time

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Creativity

Some days you feel like absolutely nothing can go wrong.  You’re on fire, unstoppable.  Ideas are flowing, confidence is high, and you’re walking around with your chin up and your back straight.  There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re at the top of your game.  The world is your oyster.  Everything you touch seems to turn to gold and you wonder how you were ever stagnant before.

Until the past few years, I had really only been able to identify these times when looking back.  Now I’m acutely aware of them when I’m in them and I grab onto them and try not to let go when that train is rolling.

But these feelings never last long. Maybe a day or two, maybe a little more. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a full week of this superhuman ability to create things out of nothing without obstruction.  Sooner or later things will return to normal and there’s no explanation why this happens.  You just can’t self-motivate like you were able to the day before.  Ideas are at a distance, just out of reach.  You aren’t feeling flow and a day’s worth of work is taking two full days instead of just three hours.

It’s crazy frustrating when this happens. You try and recreate the environment, the feeling you had, and you just can’t. Your mind has moved on, your thoughts are elsewhere, and your current experience has been altered in some inexplicable way. And you don’t like it at all.

What happened?  Well, nothing at all.  It’s perfectly normal for creativity to ebb and flow like this.  It happens to every single creative person dozens – even hundreds – of times throughout a year. It’s just not possible to keep anything running at its highest capacity all the time.

But are there ways to keep it running for as long as you can?  Maybe.  There are things you can do that will help but only in the sense that they may be able to prolong that window.  There’s no guarantee that these things will work every time, but if they buy you an extra few days or a shorter period in the downswing, it could be worth it.

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