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Archive for the ‘Multitasking’ tag

The Fountain of Youth, Red Meat, and The Effort Trap (Sunday Reads #19)

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Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocusera 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 Living Well

While I’m not usually a fan of these, 12 Signs You’ve Done Well in Life is a keeper.

Strength training is the true fountain of youth.  Training with resistance boosts brain health while simultaneously making you less fragile.

The Mediterranean Diet may slow the aging process by 5 years.  As usual, this headline is a bit on the extreme side.  But “there is an increasing amount of evidence that eating a healthy diet rich in fish, vegetables, legumes and nuts is good for your brain.”

Speaking of diets, many of you probably read the (many) articles about how red meat is “proven” to cause cancer.  Of course, it’s tempting (though dangerous) to read too much into articles like those.  If you’re looking for a breakdown, the following articles are good reads: 1) What Does the WHO Report Mean For Your Meat-Eating Habit, and 2) So Will Processed Meat Give You Cancer?

On Productive Work

Jack Dorsey picks themes for days of the week in order to effectively run two companies at once.  If you have the flexibility to do, focusing on one area (and nothing else) for specific days throughout the week is a great idea.

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Written by Mike Torres

November 1st, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Habit Triggers, Krill Oil, and Eliminating Neck Pain (Sunday Reads #9)

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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 Work/Life Balance, Anxiety, and Habits

A new study in the Journal of Marketing Research: “Emotions such as guilt about where time is being spent or fear over loss of income both generate stress, and make a person feel more pressed for time than they actually are.”  I’ve always been of the opinion that work/life balance and “lack of time” isn’t the problem, it’s the underlying feeling of trading off the things that matter most to you. Missing your daughter’s piano performance for a mind-numbing meeting evokes feelings of guilt and resentment regardless of how much time you’ve spent at work or with family.  So what do you do?  One tip from the study is to pause to breathe more often.

Being mindful about anxiety can help to reduce it.  “The solution isn’t identifying why you’re anxious in the first place (though that knowledge has its place), but recognizing the signs of anxiety before nervousness, panic and rapid breathing hijack your emotional wellness.”

Using quotations from others can help improve your self-talk.  For almost 15 years now, I’ve been working on my own self-talk as I realize how important it is to overall well-being.  Here’s one of my favorites from this list:

The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join in the dance. —Alan Watts

Great post by James Clear on habit triggers, something I’m a big proponent of.  Using Time and Location triggers have been instrumental in a number of my own personal habits, including a new one to “do at least 10 minutes of mobility work every day” thanks to Kelly Starrett’s new book, Ready to Run.

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Written by Mike Torres

February 28th, 2015 at 3:52 pm

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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Multitasking vs. Background Processing

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Ed. Note: Sorry for the lack of activity lately.  We’ve had the trifecta of big change around here requiring a shift in my focus: new baby, new job, and new house.  Which means my normal writing time (during kid #1’s Sunday naptime) is no longer tenable.  I suspect my writing will be spaced out for a bit while I find a new rhythm, but it’s not going to stop!

Click for photoIf you’re reading this blog, chances are you fall into one of two camps:

  1. You think you’re a great multitasker and thrive on juggling a million complex tasks at the same time
  2. You know better

Folks in camp #2 should probably just move on to reading something else (here are some recommendations!)  If you’re in camp #1, I’d love a demonstration 😉

Multitasking is a catch-all phrase that’s used for a lot of different work styles and concepts.  First a few words about what it isn’t.

Multitasking isn’t having different areas of focus (family, career, health, and so on).  Multitasking also doesn’t incorporate doing unrelated (or somewhat related) things at different times of the day (moving from email to meetings to writing to reading).

Both views of multitasking are fine in that they’re normal behavior; stuff you won’t get penalized by the efficiency gods for excelling at.  If you didn’t have different areas of focus, you’d be a robot, a dog, or a Perl script without any emotional attachment or ability to "let go" of a single area.  And if you weren’t able to switch tasks to some degree throughout the day, you wouldn’t be the least bit effective at work or at home.

We need to be flexible, but we also need to be focused.  And like most things in life, there’s a fair amount of nuance in there.

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Written by Mike Torres

August 8th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

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