Sleep is the new drug in town. We reach for the pain killers and eventually we might take to our bed. However what if we saw sleep as a preventative drug.
Matthew Walker is the director at the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, he has spent the last 20 years studying “sleep”.
“When have you ever seen an NHS poster urging sleep?’ – “when did a Doctor prescribe sleep not sleeping pills, sleep loss costs the UK economy more than £30bn a year in the lost revenue”
Sleep resets our body and brain by working on the following:-
- emotional stability
- immune system
When we sleep it is like hitting the save button on your memories. Studies have also shown that we can learn new facts much better after a good 8 hours. The Hippocampus in the brain is the memory in-box. MRI scans of sleep deprived individuals show the lack of activity or using the metaphor of the in-box no new files.
Sleep manages emotional volatility, scans of the brain show the Amygdala has increased activity with sleep deprived individuals. So for our emotional well being 8 hours sleep a night is the best recovery.
Our physicality is improved with sleep as we have natural killer cells, our immune cells who work during the night. The World Health Organisation has now identified that shift workers are at risk due to poor sleeping routines.
Sleep resets your body and brain so go out there and reclaim it and make sure it is the full 8 hours.
The snow globe is a very visual representation as to how we live our lives. We focus on the small things and yet some-one is forever shaking it up. The building or structure in the centre of the globe we forget about.
We enjoy achieving the small stuff as we get that buzz of achievement, we have ticked a list or highlighted an accomplishment. We release dopamine in the brain the feel good chemical, instant gratification.
We have attended 3 meetings this week however they may have no complexity. Thinking is not linear and involves engaging the brain fully. The temptation to achieve immediate is everywhere. The email pop up could easily take you away from the hard report that needs to be written and involves thinking. We get addicted at accumulating small tasks, it is called structured procrastination.
This short term horizon is due to the fact that we are now a society based on impulse. We crave automatic self stimulation, we send a message and we crave the reply. We create an addictive cycle.
We are encouraged to do more and now with technology we have no limits. There are now work addiction groups. People enjoy the control that task accomplishment gives them, where as living life does not have the same completion and control.
An example would be a Senior Executive has to forecast next year’s figures, it will be a black and white document with figures based on the evidence of the previous year. The same Executive has to manage the behaviour of their 18 month old who has not yet mastered sleeping through the night. You can guess which one has the linear thinking and the control and the latter requires a more creative approach.
The culture we have created is “Try harder” and it is a “Short time Horizon” we need to look to a broader, slower and altogether bigger horizon. Try this week to do more thinking.
Please do get in touch to explore thinking more email@example.com
We wear busy like a badge of honour. The first thing we say to each other is “how are you?” and the most common response is “busy”.
We deal in a currency of numbers, people will tell you how many emails they have in their in-box and how many meetings they have attended.
The “busy” becomes a showcase, we boast about not having time. Our reputation and existence is based on demonstrating “busy”. We need to rush and walk quickly to emulate “busy”.
Even our weekends are about justifying ourselves to ourself. We enter marathons and discuss what is right for our children in terms of after school activities. Studies now show that children need to learn how to be bored.
We cloud effort and results, as often if things take longer we have looked busy for longer.
A locksmith explained that when he first started his trade it used to take him a long time to change a lock. He charged $120 and $25 for the key and was often given a tip. He is now experienced and changes a lock in 2 minutes and still charges a $120, and yet he never receives tips. Ironically people were paying for incompetence, and yet they believed they were paying for effort.
To understand more about “busy” listen to the Radio 4 series by Oliver Burkeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07w1dpx/episodes/player
Please do look at our website and get in touch www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk
The brain operates everything and in the evenings like any piece of machinery its tired. We turn the telly up a little louder as we can’t hear so well and we lose the ability to make decisions about what to eat, we are slowing down.
To relax you might look at your Facebook account, however the same process required to read an email is the same process as to look at your social media. The brain machine has the functionality to read whether it be work or not work. The mechanics cannot differentiate the same psychological activity whatever you are reading. If you are tired the topic won’t make a difference the machine is operating slower.
We need to maintain the brain as we would any other piece of machinery. Your car is serviced and requires an MOT, how much love and care do you give your brain:-
- Stare into space – give it a break
- Drink lots of water
- Eat the right food
- Keep up the agility – do a sudoko
- Limit screen time
- Physical activity
- Rest it – lots of sleep
Look after your brain this week and for a nugget workshop please do look at our website www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Too many things to do, and too many tasks and a shortage of time. We fall into the scarcity trap, which is where are cognitive bandwidth cannot process any more data. Long term memories are stored, but the short term space is limited. We make poor decisions if we have overload.
We need time to uncover and unwind, if we ruminate on the day it comes home with us. A psychologist, Zeigarnik explained how interrupted and uncompleted tasks stayed in the mind far longer than completed. The studies showed waiters remembered orders whilst the service was in progress when asked afterwards which orders belonged to which customers they were unable to recall. Tasks not finished fill the mind.
Multi tasking is not the answer as it takes 40% longer to complete a task if you have switched at some point. Doing two things at once is really bad for the concentration and quality will suffer. Studies in America suggest that speaking on your mobile phone whilst driving is as bad as being under the influence of alcohol.
Some suggestions for protecting your bandwidth are:-
- cluster tasks – just do email and only email
- one task at a time
- book two meetings with yourself everyday 15mins at the start and 15mins at the end of the day
- complete your hardest task first thing when you have the most bandwidth
- never read emails before a meeting it will affect your bandwidth
People who fill their bandwidth are creating the illusion of efficiency, if you have checked your emails before going into the meeting your mind is in the email not the meeting. Management of your bandwidth will lead to greater accomplishments.
Replace the word busy and approach busy differently…
Please do contact nuggets for a workshop on managing bandwidth email@example.com
Our behaviour is a function of our decisions and choices not our conditions.
We have the freedom to choose our responses despite the circumstances. We will always have our own imagination, conscience as to what feels right or wrong and our very own independent will to choose.
Reactive people are:-
- driven by circumstances, conditions whether they be social or physical
- if the weather is good, they feel good, if the weather is bad they feel bad
- when people treat them well, they feel well, when people mistreat them they become defensive
- mistakes are blamed on others, rationalised as being inevitable
- focus on concerns
- use “have” language
Proactive people are:-
- driven by values
- carry their own weather, rain or shine
- mistakes are acknowledged instantly and corrected, and learnt from
- focus on things they can influence
- use language with choice
- Eleanor Roosevelt said “No-one can hurt you without your consent”
Our ability to live a life of choice is our ability to focus on what we can influence and not focus on the concerns we cannot change.
Please do contact nuggets for a workshop on Proactive Thinking firstname.lastname@example.org
When information needs to be given quickly, there is no better way than by email. Unfortunately, with the benefit of speed come some problems that are not always predictable. Employees need to all be consistent in the way they engage with email and ensure that it is true to the values of the organisation.
Overall you should lead your in-box rather than be led by it.
How to take control?
- Book an appointment with it
- Ring fence the time you spend on the email
- Create 3 subfolders and put a #before the title so that they stay at the top
- #Waiting for
- #Read review
- Take the alert off, so you choose to go in, not “it” inviting you
- Remember email is not a to-do list
- email is “real” work integrate it appropriately
- The signature should be clear and accurate and all communication devices
- Take action immediately where you can
- Unsubscribe there and then
- Be realistic – zero in-box does not work for everyone
“Anyone with an inbox knows what I’m talking about. A dozen emails to set up a meeting time. Documents attached and edited and reedited until no-one knows which version is current. Urgent messages drowning in forwards and cc’s and spam” – Ryan Holmes
For a 90 minute workshop on making email work for you, please contact email@example.com for more courses tour our website www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk