Why Being Distracted Impacts Results in School, at Work, and on Vacation

Second waterfront pic April 2014It’s August. While many parents are getting ready for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?when kids head back to school, many kids are happy just being ‘distracted’ from the topic of school! I mean, isn’t that what summer vacation is all about – distraction!

Well, perhaps.

However, the topic of distraction – or lack of presence – is an important one for any time of year.

I read this post from SmartBlog on Education titled ‘Digital Distraction in the Modern Classroom‘ and it caused me to ‘pause’ on this topic.

I’ve had an ongoing dialogue with my children about how all of the research on the brain shows that MULTI-TASKING DOES NOT WORK! Multi-tasking results in ‘continuous partial attention’; we partially attend to many things, and are not fully attending to anything. Our performance drops and so does our energy.

My son, now heading in to grade 12, regularly told me about how often he used his cell phone as a part of his in-class learning in grade 11. While I agree with Paul Barnwell, that ‘smartphones can be powerful tools for learning’, I also cannot help but notice how ‘distracted’ my son can be when he is in the vicinity of his cell phone. Barnwell, it appears, experienced the same phenomena in his class. The kids are not just doing research in class. They have mutliple tabs open and they are checking email, texting, tweeting, facebooking, instagraming, tumblering, snapchatting, gaming….

And then I started thinking about what I hear people saying about their workplaces. Just like classrooms, I wonder what we are missing because we are continuously engaged with technology (interestingly enough, in an attempt not to ‘miss’ anything!!)

Even on vacation, I know that well over 50% of people report that they check their phones to try to stay ‘up to date’ on what is happening in the office, and to ensure they are managing their increasing workload as well as possible.

But, I wonder, at what cost?

So, for the rest of your vacation, put your technology away for at least one day a week. If you are at work, limit checking your email/phone to a specific time period each day (a great habit to develop, and advertise to people in your network. For example you could set your out of office message to read ‘I answer email messages from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. each day. If this is an emergency please call em at 123-456-7890.’). And, if you are getting ready to head back to school, practice being present while you are in class. If your teacher encourages you to use your phone to do research, then go to town! If not, turn your phone off and notice what you notice when you are right there – engaging, interacting, listening, and connecting with the people around you. You might just find that you really don’t know what you are missing.

Then, please take a minute to share your experience with the rest of us!

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!

 

Six Reasons to do your Mental Spring Cleaning

2013 Collage 3It’s Spring! Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the sun is shining and faces are smiling. There is nothing quite like it!

Spring is often the time of year when you engage in some Spring Cleaning; getting rid of what’s been stored over the winter that you doubt you will ever use again, cleaning the yard and around your home ridding yourself of the debris that has built up over the winter, and creating more order in your cupboards and closets.

What about your mental debris? You know, those limiting beliefs, those skewed expectations, that internal dialogue – that story – that is just not serving you any longer. What do you do with that? Most of us simply let it sit; like the filters in our furnace, these mental filters stay filled with dusty debris – much of which we no longer have use. Yet those beliefs, expectations, and thoughts influence every aspect of your life. They influence not just how you interpret what you experience, but they influence what you notice (and what you don’t).

In the spirit of Spring and of cleaning, here are six reasons for more mental hygiene?(the acronym is HEALTH):

Holism: Every part of you is connected to every other part of you. Your body, your cells are listening to your thoughts. Think about the message you’d like the rest of you to receive. Send that one.

Energy: Constructive, positive thoughts create energy. If you want more energy (and I cannot say I have met anyone who said they didn’t), you need to ensure you nourish your brain and your bloodstream with chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin…natural, effective, healthy ‘dope’ for your brain!

Assurance: The only way to be sure (as sure as you possibly can) you will be mentally healthy/psychologically well is to take preventative, deliberate steps to be mindful of your mind (thoughts). When I first engaged with mindful meditation, I was surprised at some of the thoughts I had that were holding me back from fully experiencing my life.

Life: Your very life depends on your psychological health. Without a healthy brain – one that serves you – your very life is at stake. (Not to be overly dramatic — but, really, think about it!!)

Trust: Cleaning out the debris in your brain – the negative thoughts, the limiting beliefs, the unrealistic expectations, the life-sucking story – will inspire trust in yourself and others’ trust in you. You’ll be the kind of person other people want to be around. And that increase in social connection with nourish your brain, which relies on it!

Check out this super-cool video by Matthew Lieberman on the social brain.

Harmony: In a world filled with epic disasters (planes disappearing, ferries sinking, extreme weather destroying homes and lives) and stories of people losing control of their psychological well-being (murder- suicides, workplace shootings, violent rampages) Mental Spring Cleaning will help you to add some peace, some harmony to the world. That’s something that will surely benefit us all.

What’s your favourite mental hygiene habit?

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!

 

 

 

 

3 Key Reasons Your Wellness Program is Sick

Symptom vs SourceDoes your organization have a wellness program? I’ll bet you do – in some form or another. Most organizations do – or at least they say they do.

Chances are good that your wellness program, no matter how elaborate or simple, is not delivering the outcomes you had hoped. There are 3 key reasons for that:

1) You are focusing on symptoms, not sources.

Your wellness program very likely includes something on smoking cessation, on obesity management, on encouraging more physical activity, or on managing stress in the workforce. And, while those are all great initiatives, do they really get at the source of the issue? Why are people obese? Why is stress so high? Why are people missing work?

Could it be because our organizations are designed (unintentionally, of course) to make people sick? Could it be because we are forgetting how to be truly ‘human’ at work?

I think the answers to these questions will begin to reveal what needs to happen in order to create truly ‘well’ – happy and healthy (and productive and profitable) – workplaces.

2) You have not asked – really asked – your team what will make a difference for them

Often, organizations rely on survey data – collected in aggregate – to determine what should be included in their wellness program. That’s the best case scenario. More often, we simply take the easy way out and purchase or copy a program that is being done elsewhere.

Instead, why not ACTUALLY TALK TO PEOPLE. They’ll not only help you understand what’s truly at the source of disengagement, stress, obesity, etc., but they will also be able to collectively determine how to address those sources. The time has come to move away from hierarchical decision making about how to create healthy workplaces, and to move toward collaborative models in which the entire organization takes part in creating it’s reality.

3) You are looking for the elusive quick fix

You’re busy. Absenteeism, disengagement, and turnover are taking your time and attention away from really important aspects of your work. You want the quick fix, ‘the magic pill’, to make it all go away so that you can get back to the things that are important to you and your organization.

Well, I don’t have to tell you what you already know: the quick fix doesn’t stick. Having said that, you might be surprised at just how simple the answer can be to the very complicated issue of wellness – at work and in life!

Check out this TEDx talk by Dr. Lissa Rankin titled ‘The Shocking Truth About Your Health’. What do you think??

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!