Activities To Teach The Energy Flow In The Ecosystem Technology, Multitasking, Stress and "Flow" – Critical Information You Need to Be at Your Best

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Technology, Multitasking, Stress and "Flow" – Critical Information You Need to Be at Your Best

“Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help shape the energy of those around you.”

Peter F. Drucker

“We must always change, renew, renew ourselves; otherwise, we become hardened.”

Gote

Are you busier than ever and less enjoying it? Are you too tired and frustrated at the end of the day to enjoy your evenings or your “down” time? is Still have down time? This, in my opinion, is the most important piece of information you can incorporate into your life in the coming year, to keep yourself out of an exceptionally stressful environment and, to excel in both your performance and productivity.

Since 2001, when researcher Joshua Rubenstein, Ph.D. Federal Aviation Administration, and David Meyer, Ph.D. and Geoffrey Evans. Ph.D. The two, from the University of Michigan, published their groundbreaking research in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, showing that we know there are problems with multitasking. In his work, he demonstrated that shifting mental gears takes time, especially when shifting to less familiar tasks.

To better understand executive control, or the “inner CEO,” researchers subjected groups of young adults to tasks of varying complexity (such as solving math problems) and measured the speed of their performance. In all cases, their measurements indicated that subjects lost time on the tasks, were actually completing less of the tasks than if they were doing them independently, and took longer to switch tasks when they were more complex or unfamiliar.

Since this time, a large body of research has developed that has shown similar losses in productivity and performance as a result of multitasking. Even more worryingly, some recent studies have shown that multitasking increases the levels of certain stress hormones, especially cortisol and adrenaline, which on a long-term basis damage our body systems, increasing the risk of many serious health problems and causing us distress. premature age

In the eight years since this initial research was published, the challenges to our personal time and our work-life balance have grown exponentially. Along with more complex technology and its increasing availability, our expectations of personal availability have increased. These advances in communication technology have allowed us to be available at any time of the day, any day of the week, and the ever-expanding global nature of business has further fueled this demand. More recently, depressed economic conditions and associated deep cutbacks in the workforce have left us, almost everywhere, with fewer people and longer working hours.

The pressure to multitask is overwhelming. This has become the norm in many organizations, yet as mentioned above, the costs can be enormous. The illusion of speed and getting more done in less time is very attractive, but it is often just an illusion. The loss in quality of performance is high, but not nearly as great as the potentially devastating long-term health costs from increased stress and personal and family relationships from never being fully present.

What is the solution to over-reliance on multitasking and its consequences? I’ve recently heard the term “persistent partial attention” used to describe what increasingly characterizes our behavior today, and I find it disturbingly accurate.

Several examples:

– At an important meeting at a local high school that would have a significant impact on the students’ futures, a student later noted that the principal spent the entire meeting (about an hour and a half) texting under the table.

– At a recent lunch meeting with another executive coach, answering his question, and reaching for a bite of my salad, I looked up to see him checking his e-mail on his new phone.

– A high-level job applicant recently told me that his interviewer (and potential boss) took three phone calls and had three full phone conversations about (apparently) urgent topics while he was sitting there.

– Countless clients have told me that they regularly answer business, e-mail, fax or phone or text messages from home and on vacation.

– Nearly as many have complained about their spouse or partner “disappearing into e-mail” in the evenings and weekends, effectively eliminating any “family time” or “couple time”.

What is the most important piece of information I can give you as you begin 2009? Check out the three strategies below:

1. Limit multitasking. Set clear boundaries for yourself for time for work and non-work activities. Turn off electronic devices at certain times and teach co-workers what an “emergency” means to ensure they contact you after hours. If you’re in a leadership role, model this for your employees and the organization, and be clear about what you’re doing.

2. Be fully present. Whether with a child, spouse, coworker, or employee, make a conscious choice to be present with them without the distraction of other technology and tasks. With colleagues and employees, they should have your attention as often as they need it for work-related activities. For family and significant others, this needs to happen every day.

3. Work when you work! And, when you play, play! In “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Lohr and Tony Schwartz, they repeatedly state that the key to high performance is managing energy, not time. They hold that sustained health, high performance, and productivity require alternating periods of intense effort (or work) with periods of complete renewal (or rest and “play.”) Additionally, many researchers have shown that the greatest predictor of happiness, and the most powerful protector we have against the negative effects of stress, is frequently being in a “flow” state. In other words, to become completely absorbed in an activity, so much so that we lose track of time. This is impossible when multitasking. And, the deep recovery needed to perform at our best is impossible if we don’t allow ourselves to fully relax and “play.”

I urge you to implement these three strategies in the coming year. Cultivate a tendency toward “continuous partial attention” and see changes in yourself, your organization, and others around you.

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