One of the things that surprises me time and time again is how we think our brains work and how they actually work. For example, I always found it understandable that we can multitask, but according to the research, it's impossible for our brains to handle two tasks at the same time.
Much like reading books, paying attention in class is a critical piece of academic success and an area ripe for student incentives. Why not reward students for their attention, with the smartphone as a measurement tool?
Campers left relaxed and more aware of their time-consuming relationship with technology. Activities like yoga, stargazing and pillow fights sound like a good time -- though I imagine some liquor wouldn't have hurt.
We are all incredibly busy. But, Emerson's quote reminds me that "busyness" alone will never bring us the success of which he speaks. In fact, I'm starting to understand that a life based solely on "busyness" risks the opposite of success.
Can we find a middle ground here? Maybe not so far back as kicking tumbleweed down Main Street, but at least spending some quality time with the people in our lives and putting down our devices sometimes so we can be present with others and ourselves?
I've found that checking out, taking time away from my phone rather than burying myself in it, has given me a new ability to focus on one thing at a time.
Our ability to focus on different things is one of the strengths of our truly incredible brains. It's a skill we would definitely not want to lose. However, psychologists and neurobiologists have both shown that we pay a price when we multitask.
The more I practice mindful awareness, the more I learn what it is and what it isn't. What it isn't is hours spent in the lotus position, eyes closed, blissfully deep in meditation.
If I find myself unable to move from the enormity of the forest, it's time to focus on just one tree. If that one tree seems like too much, it's time to focus on one branch or one leaf of that one tree. Narrowing the focus to the minutiae of the situation can make the forest seem more manageable.
It is important for us to realize what too much multitasking can do to our brains. Some interesting brain research from Your Brain at Work by David Rock tells us that to focus more effectively, we must retrain our mind for uninterrupted concentration.
So as we approach what I consider a sweet holiday, a suggestion. That you spend an extra few seconds with each of those little doorbell ringers. Try to imagine what it would be like to be their age, going to such extremes to get candy.
I argue that delegation is best because it allows the servicemen to do what they are good at so one can focus on what they themselves are good at. But are we really doing what we are good at, or are we just spending more time distracting ourselves with less-important tasks?
In an age where multitasking hasn't just become second nature, but our only nature, it's important to take a step back and think about the effects these choices are having on our lives.
Thanks to your fairy godmother and Steve Jobs you just need to find the right app, consult it every five minutes and maybe offer up a human sacrifice now and then and your dreams will come true.
Did you know that doing nothing, in the true sense of the word, can be overwhelming if we attempt to do too much nothing at once -- so we're supposed to do small nothings at first? Five minutes a day seems reasonable.
Tapping into the vagus nerve helps us achieve both brain and body health, which is the right balance between relaxation and stress. But how do we tap into the vagus and increase its activity?