In With Unitasking, Out With Multitasking

Multitasking

I just dropped my iPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking.. – Emma Watson

Whoever said about killing two birds with one stone was surely a fan of multitasking. By and large, multitasking connotes doing two things at once to be able to achieve both goals at one time. However, it turns out multitasking is not as beneficial as we think. In fact, several studies have shown that multitasking could actually make you less efficient and may even take you longer doing the tasks combined rather than doing them separately.

Say Hello to Unitasking!

Multitasking became popular around two decades ago, making unitasking a thing of the past. However, with recent studies proving that multitasking isn’t as beneficial as what most of us think, more people are now going back to unitasking, that is focusing on one task at a time.

Quick Unitasking Tips You Might Want to Try Today

The following unitasking tips may prove helpful if you find yourself drowning in tasks, not knowing which to focus on first.

1. Clean your workspace.

A clear workspace also promotes a clearer mind, making you more focused on the task at hand. When your desk is full of clutter, your mind tends to focus on what you should do about the clutter. So keep those papers, pens, and other things out of your workspace so you can have more space for the important things in your mind, too.

2. Clear your desktop as well.

Sort those folders out and try to reorganize your folders. Also, you might want to put your downloads in a separate folder to avoid desktop clutter. In addition, choose a mentally calming photograph as your background. 

3. Avoid giving in to the temptation of opening other programs in your computer.

It could be very tempting at times to check your email while working on a project. Or checking how many likes your recently uploaded Instagram photo has received. When unitasking, consider doing unnecessary online activities after you are done with the most important tasks of the day. How about setting a time of the day to check your email, social media accounts, favorite websites, etc?

There are still a lot of ways to unitask your way to increased productivity and creativity. Tell us about your unitasking strategies in the comments below!

Why Napping May Help You Keep Your Job

office napping

The idea of taking a nap in the middle of a busy workday used to be frowned upon but a growing number of studies in recent years have shown that napping is actually a smart thing to do.  Below are reasons (backed by science!) why taking a nap may just help you keep your job! 

It Increases Performance

A study on NASA pilots revealed that taking an average of 26-minute nap while in flight (with a co-pilot on duty)  increased their performance by 34 percent and  alertness by a whopping 54 percent.  Furthermore, the pilots reported a relief in “significant sleepiness”.

Apart from Google and Apple who are popularly known as companies promoting napping among their employees , the US National Transportation Safety Board has pushed for power naps as a counterintuitive solution to air traffic controllers caught sleeping at work.

It Promotes Creativity

“Not only do we need to remember to sleep, but most certainly we sleep to remember,”  says Dr. William Fishbein, a cognitive neuroscientist at the City University of New York. Furthermore, Dr. Fishbein and his colleagues found out in a study that power naps boose a certain type of memory which make you see the bigger picture, resulting to enhanced creativity. 

Timing is Everything!

Dr. Alon Avidan, UCLA’s associate director of the sleep disorders program and Dr. Rosalind Cartwright, chairman of the department of psychology at Rush University emphasized that timing is everything when it comes to reaping the benefits of a power nap. Both sleep experts recommend taking a nap between 1 to 3 in the afternoon, lasting between 15 to 20 minutes. According to Cartwright, “The longer you nap, the more likely you are to wake up from deep sleep,leading you to feel confused and groggy.” Furthermore, he said that napping too late in the day could result to insomnia, as it may shift your body’s circadian rhythm.

So how about a midday nap, anyone?

*Image from TimeWeek.com

Mission Zero Inbox: 3 Steps to Achieve Email Zen

email-check1

There are tons of information online on how to organize your inbox — from devoting a weekend of email cleanses to downloading certain apps to help put your email under control. This time around, we’ll talk about how to deal with individual emails as they arrive in your inbox!

1. First of all, you need to commit to the idea that you’ll do something with each email the first time it comes in. This is in contrast to the usual email reaction: glancing over the contents and promising yourself to respond to it at a later time. 

2. Pick a certain time/times of the day to check your email. You do not have to follow the same periods every day. You can check your inbox between 9 to 10 in the morning on weekdays and repeat it between 4 to 5 in the afternoon. For weekends, you can simply do a quick scan of your inbox during the evenings. It’s up to you to build a schedule; what’s important is sticking to such schedule.

3. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Should I get this email? If not, unsubscribe or filter future emails.

  • Am I the right person to respond to this email? If the answer is no, hand out those email (almost always involves doing certain tasks) to the right person, and make sure that you don’t receive similar emails in the future.

  • Do you need to have additional information from other people to be able to answer the email? If yes, consider sending a separate email for the additional information and let the other person know that you’re currently working on getting information in relation to his or her query.

  • Do I need to respond at all? Group and informational emails doesn’t require any response. Deal with such emails by taking note of relevant info and archive it right away.

  • Can I respond to this email in 5 minutes? If the answer is yes, compose your response right away. Also, the sooner you reply, the shorter your response. Shorter replies are actually way better than the lengthy ones unless you really need to write an essay-like reply.

How about you? What are your strategies to achieving email zen?

*Image wonderfully illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton

 

Give Yourself a Break!

Stress, whether physical or psychological, is part of the fast-paced world we live in. breakUnless you commit to a life of a hermit and avoid interaction by living alone, stress will always be there. The good news is that you don’t have to fight it, the best way to approach stress it to actually manage the type and amount of stress you’re getting.

By and large, chronic exposure to stress is the root cause of most problems afflicting the modern man, notably loads of health conditions. As a matter of fact, stress from time to time is a good thing. Take exercise for example. Physical stress in exercise could actually stimulate muscle growth when complemented with sufficient caloric intake.

Give Yourself a Break

Giving yourself a break is the key to effectively managing stress. By and large, there are two kinds of breaks: the long, luxurious types and the quick yet rejuvenating breaks. Both types allow you to  take a step back and re-examine what you’re doing, leading to reduced levels of stress. The following examples are excellent things to do when you think that all you need is a break: 

  • Do something physical. Walk around the neighborhood or building for 10 minutes, do some squats, or stretch for a few minutes or so. Whatever it is that you do, make it a point to leave your workstation.
  • Go for a power nap!
  • Refuel by taking snacks from whole food sources. This will also stabilize your blood glucose levels, providing you with sufficient levels of energy the whole day.
  • Work on something else. Every so often, all it takes for a fresher perspective on something you’re working on is not thinking about it for a certain period and going back to it after a few hours.
  • Breathe! Be mindful as you inhale and exhale.

 So shall we take a break?!

Image lifted from here.

3 Reasons to Stop Watching Television Now

Stop Watching TVWhile one might think that the Internet killed the television star (much like how video killed the radio star!), there are still a billion households all over the world who spend too much time in front of the telly. Have you ever thought how those hours could have been more useful if you spent it with other activities such as talking to a friend, reading a book, or working on a project? Read on below why you should stop paying too much attention to the boob tube.

1. You miss out on social interaction.
An hour spent in front of the TV is another hour wasted which you could have used interacting with family, friends, and colleagues. Face-to-face interactions remains the most effective way to interact with people.

2. TV creates unrealistic expectations.
Most, if not all, of the things you see on the screen are often make-believe and completely fake. With your mind being used to these fakery, it distorts your understanding of reality which could lead to unrealistic expectations.

3. TV makes you feel inadequate.
Real life is far from being similar to what happens in most soap operas, movies, and comedy shows. However, many people would often fail to understand this fact that watching too much TV may lead to disillusionment, making them feel inadequate.

Most TV shows would often imply that one is not smart, good-looking or funny enough! Take a look at the numerous ads and you’ll see what I mean. If you look at it closely, you’ll realize that most TV ads are designed to make you feel bad about yourself and brainwash you into believing that you need to buy their products so you’ll feel better.

On a whole, majority of what you see in the telly poisons your beliefs and degrades self-discipline. Furthermore, this study even found a link between prolonged television viewing to increased health risks. So ditch the remote, shall we?

Image lifted from here.

5 Ways to Make A Difference : A Minimalist Way of Helping Others

Help OthersShould living a minimalist life stop you from helping others?

After the horrific devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Typhoon Haiyan) that caused several provinces in the Philippines reeling with thousands of deaths and destruction, survivors are continually pleading for help. Other than the fact that they have lost their loved ones and their hard earned possessions, they are hungry, sick and lost.

Aid has come in the form of financial assistance, food, medicine, heavy equipments, rapid response team, search and rescue personnels and others from concerned countries all over the world.

As one watches the damage brought about by this calamity, and the people crying out for help, it is human nature to feel the need to make a difference even in just a small way. Yes, not everyone has the capacity to give out thousands or even millions of money to help, but there is something that you can do.

If you are a minimalist with a burning desire to help and make a difference, here are 5 ways of sharing your generosity:

  1. Basic Necessities.  It is the best time to declutter. Clothes, shoes, blankets, and other extra supplies at home that are sitting at the back of your closets are beneficial to the survivors. People are in great need of food and water. Anything you have that you can spare will help keep someone alive.
  2. Money.  Most people are willing to share even just a small amount to aid the victims of the typhoon. A small amount can make a difference. However, make sure to check the credentials of the organization where you want to donate your money. It is sad that there are many scammers taking advantage of situations like this.
  3. Services. You can also help by offering your service to repack food and medical supplies to be given out. As a matter of fact, there were many stranded tourists in Tacloban and Leyte who helped in any way they can — repacking and distributing basic needs needed by the people, comforting the needy and much, much more.    
  4. Kindness. An act of kindness toward someone going through such a horrible event in life can make a difference. There was so much love, kindness and outpour of concern that came from all over the world. Celebrities, athletes, politicians and other important people showed their support through different social media platforms.    
  5. Prayers.  Remembering them in your prayers may seem so small and insignificant, but in truth, it is a tremendous help. Only a Supreme Being can give people the courage, strength, hope and  faith to pick themselves up and continue the journey of life. Your prayer for the Filipino people will make a difference.

To make a difference in someone’s life is part of being human. Whether we have much or not, in our own ways we can reach out and touch someone’s life. Do you want to make a difference? You can.