Archive | May, 2014

Are We Outsourcing Our Memory to Camera Phones?

nevada-from-sky

Do we remember less as we take more photos with our camera phones? NPR’s Audie Cornish explored that question in her recent story, Take Photos to Remember Your Experiences? Think Again. 

Peter Jon Lindberg asked a similar question in his latest Travel + Leisure article: Are we really experiencing a new destination – or just recording random moments?

Psychologist Linda Henkel conducted two studies to examine whether photographing objects impacts how we remember them. Results showed a photo-taking-impairment effect: If participants took a photo of each object as a whole, they remembered fewer objects and details than if they only observed the objects without photographing them.

The growing conversation around our snap happy habits is not to advocate a Boston Tea Party-like event with our smartphones. But, as Dr. Henkel suggests in her NPR interview, we could benefit from a more mindful approach to our experiences – and why we record those experiences.

Are we taking and sharing photos to seek approval? Are we relying on our camera phone as a memory retrieval tool? Asking such questions encourages us to reassess our habits – and perhaps help enhance our memory of real-life experiences.

Join the conversation about our camera phone habits. Take part in our MindfulFilter campaign to help you create more awareness around how and why you take and share photos. Learn how to participate here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ep. 119: Discussing Leadership With Bill George, 4

Welcome to the More Than Sound podcast.

Many of these episodes explore concepts and tools that are important ingredients of success. So you might be surprised to hear that this one is devoted almost entirely to failure. But to Bill George, failure is an essential ingredient itself, as you’ll hear in this excerpt from Daniel Goleman‘s series Leadership: A Master Class.

Subscribe

Focus Coaching for the Distracted Manager

image1342914

The latest Inc. article, The Kings of Concentration, warns business owners about the impact distraction can have on an organization. As you can imagine, lost productivity is the most costly side effect. According to the article, info-tech researcher Basex surveyed 1,000 office workers in 2005. It found that distractions cost U.S. companies nearly $600 billion per year in lost productivity.

Yet cognitive overload remains a real issue for managers – and those they manage. How can HR, executive coaches and leaders help others – and themselves – stay focused?

Notice when you’re distracted

In Daniel Goleman’s latest article for Human Resource Executive, he notes that a senior executive told him that “when his mind wanders during a meeting, he wonders what business opportunity he just missed.” Take note of how often you check email or social media when you’re stuck on a problem, or bored with a project. The same exercise goes for when you tune out during meetings.

Think about unplugging

Responding to endless alert chimes from apps, emails or texts can be addictive. Try shutting your phone off, or closing a few windows on your computer screen for 30 minutes at some point during the day. Notice your productivity levels without the many electronic temptations.

Pay attention to attention

Try this exercise for a few minutes several times each day: select a single point of focus and resist the pull of anything else. It could be your breath, a picture on the wall, or a body sensation. When your mind wanders, just notice that. Bring your attention back to your focal point. This mental workout strengthens your brain’s circuitry for concentration.

Create a productive cocoon

Focus is crucial when you’re trying to come up with a creative solution – quickly. To help a person or team stay focused, carve out uninterrupted time for them to think, research and plan.

Here are some other resources to help distracted leaders rein in their focus.

Articles:

A More Mindful Workforce

What Mindfulness Is – And Isn’t

Organizational Attention Deficit Disorder

The Two Biggest Distractions – And What To Do About Them

Resource Library:

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence and Cultivating Focus: Techniques for Excellence – Daniel Goleman’s latest book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence uncovers the science of attention in all its varieties – presenting a groundbreaking look at this overlooked and underrated asset, and why it matters enormously for how we feel, and succeed, in life. To answer the call for practical techniques to increase focus, Dr. Goleman created Cultivating Focus: Techniques for Excellence, a series of guided exercises to help people of all ages hone their concentration, stay calm and better manage emotions.

Working with Mindfulness –  Mirabai Bush, key contributor to Google’s Search Inside Yourself curriculum, developed and narrates these attention training exercises for the workplace. The practices are designed to help reduce stress, increase productivity and encourage creative problem solving.

Relax: 6 Techniques to Lower Your Stress – Chronic stress can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes. It’s been shown to increase the risk of numerous health problems including heart disease, sleep issues, digestive complications, fatigue, depression, anxiety and obesity. Daniel Goleman developed Relax, a 45-minute audio program to help listeners effectively and naturally reduce stress. The guided relaxation program is especially beneficial to those with stressful jobs, or those managing teams in demanding work environments. The techniques are also useful for any number of everyday stressful situations or life transitions.