"ADD", "distracted", "focus", "to-do lists", "procrastination". These are just a few of the buzzwords that are thrown around in today's fast-paced society. People want to calm their distracted minds and be able to focus, but with the endless stream of online content, expectations of family and friends pulling at you in all different directions, it makes it all the more easy to be indecisive. More and more books by top businessmen, doctors, and analysts are pointing out the detrimental effects of being too distracted. Books like "The One Thing" by Gary Keller, "Rewire" by Richard O'Connor all talk about the pitfalls of our technologically driven society. As a floating and therapy centre, this post is to act as a reminder to love and take care of your brain and mental well-being.
1. Cut down social media usage
"The Internet has helped some of us to become more social and to establish and maintain a larger number of relationships. For others, particularly heavy Internet users who are introverted to begin with, the Internet has led them to become less socially involved, lonelier, and more likely to become depressed. Studies have shown a dramatic decline in empathy among college students, who apparently are less likely to say that it is valuable to put oneself in the place others or to try and understand their feelings. It is not just because they are reading less literary fiction, it's because they're spending more time alone under the illusion that they're being social." - Daniel J. Levitin, author of "The Organized Mind"
Social media usage has been linked to white matter abnormalities and executive functioning. An example of being able to perform "executive functions" is when you're at the point where you want to tell your mind to do chores, but something as small as that may seem overwhelming. Your brain hasn't exercised enough good habits that you immediately go for instantly gratifying pleasures instead of taking care of chores and "to-do" type duties. This is not to say that social media and Internet should be cut out entirely. However, it is important to make sure you don't find yourself being run by technology. I have heard a quote from a public speaker in the past whom I cannot recall, but I will try to paraphrase. He mentioned that technology is like a pit bull. If you take care of it and raise it well, it will protect you and be a good investment, but if you don't, you're in for a world of hurt.
Suggestion: Humans aren't infinite consuming beings. We like to think we are, however we are not. We wouldn't consume an infinite buffet of food, so why should we consume an exorbitant amount of mental junk? Perform regular social media friend list cleanses and schedule times when you check. Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Work Week suggests having set times when you check email and attend phone calls.
2. Cut down multitasking
Despite multitasking being proven not to help you truly focus on getting things done, our environment is making it easier to multitask. Numerous books and studies are out against the idea of multitasking. The consensus is that it is less productive than working on one thing at a time. Books like "The One Thing" by Gary Keller and "Make Your Brain Smarter" by Sandra Chapman Ph. D, refer to sources breaking down just how productive multitasking can be. It comes with numerous negative effects, such as a reduced attention span and not getting too much work done. Here is a great section from Gary Keller's book about multitasking:
"The modern office is a carnival of distracting multitasking demands. While you diligently try to complete a project, someone has a coughing fit in a nearby cubicle and asks if you have a lozenge. The office paging system continually calls out messages that anyone within earshot of an intercom hears. You're alerted around the clock to new e-mails arriving in your inbox while your social media newsfeed keeps trying to catch your eye and your cellphone intermittently vibrates on the desk to the tune of a new text... distraction, disturbance, disruption. Staying on task is exhausting. Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions. And yet amid all of this we still assume we can rise above it and do what has to be done within our deadlines".
Long story short, cutting down on multitasking and focusing on your immediate task at hand is of utmost importance.
To make sure you don't slip into unproductive time wasting blocks, mindfulness meditation is highly recommended. In Richard O'Connor's book "Rewire", he recommends that meditation should be mindfully done by employing a few strategies.
1. Not judging yourself - Everyone has those inner voices that is telling themselves they aren't meditating the "proper" way, or the voice that has extremely high expectations that ends up preventing you taking any action. The first step is to deliberately make yourself aware of this voice and just watch it.
2. Imagine and visualize yourself doing something relaxing like cradling a baby or imagining yourself as a rock being hit by waves.
3. Employing this routine everyday
We hope this article will help you with your goals towards being more calm, relaxed and efficient with your energy.