Fast brain hack to improve your focus

Focus is the ability to direct your attention towards a specific task or goal, while filtering out distractions and irrelevant information. It allows you to fully engage with your work and make progress towards your objectives. Distractions are the enemy  of focus, despite being everywhere. Luckily,  there’s a neuroscience-backed hack that can help you focus like a  laser beam whenever you need to.

It’s called the Pomodoro Technique and it’s a time management method backed by neuroscience. It was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. He ran a series of experiments using a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (hence the name ‘Pomodoro’). These involved breaking his work into 25-minute intervals separated by short breaks. He found this approach improved productivity and focus significantly.

That’s because your brain  is not designed to focus for long periods. Your attention span naturally wanes after  20-25 minutes, which helps your brain conserve energy. By taking short breaks, you allow your brain to rest and recharge before diving back into work. Daydreaming or relaxing is one of the best ways to fully recharge your neural circuitry, so resist the temptation to check social media, surf the web or read your emails during rest times.

  • Instead, try one of these downtime activities, which shift your brainwaves into a restorative state:
  • Take a short walk outside
  • Listen to calming music
  • Meditate or do some mindfulness exercises
  • Listen to the Energise Now audio session and spend 20 minutes in a relaxing trance state
  • Have a quick tea break

These activities will help you relax and reset your brain, making it easier for you to focus again when your break is over. The key is to keep the breaks short – between ten and fifteen minutes duration each time. Most importantly,  avoid any mentally stimulating tasks during this time.

 

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Steps for success

Here’s how to get the most from this evidence-based focus hack.

  • Choose a task. This could be anything – an assignment, a project, or even cleaning your desk.
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes. Use your phone, a physical timer, or a Pomodoro app.
  • Work on the task until the timer goes off. Don’t let distractions derail you. If something pops into your mind, jot it down and return to it later.
  • Take a short break. Choose one of the options listed above and switch off for 10 minutes
  • Repeat the process. After four ‘Pomodoros,’ take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.

Remember, it’s all about working with your brain’s natural rhythm, not against it. By incorporating this technique into your daily routine, you’re not just improving your focus. You’re also reducing your risk of burnout, increasing your mental agility and making your workday more enjoyable. So, are you ready to hack your brain for better focus? Set your timer now and get started on your first Pomodoro of the day!

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

Speak with impact: a leader’s guide to assertiveness

When it comes to being a successful leader, being assertive is key. Assertiveness can help those in leadership positions to be more effective and efficient. The article cites examples of how being assertive can help leaders to stand up for themselves and their team, make better decisions, and manage difficult conversations with confidence.

The first step is to be aware of the different types of communication. There are three basic types: passive, aggressive and assertive. Passive communication is when you do not express your feelings or needs. Aggressive communication is when you express your feelings or needs in a way that is harmful to yourself or others. Assertive communication is when you express your feelings or needs in a way that is respectful to yourself and others.

The second step is to practice using assertive communication. This can be done by using the “I” statements below:

“I feel…”

“I need…”

“I want…”

For example, “I feel like I’m not being heard.” “I need more time to think about it.” “I want you to stop interrupting me.”

The third step is to use assertive language. This means using clear and direct language. For example, “Can we discuss this later?” instead of “Can we talk about this later?” or “I’d like a raise” instead of “Maybe we could discuss a raise?”

The fourth step is to be aware of your body language. Your body language should be open and relaxed. For example, uncross your arms and legs, keep your head up, and make eye contact with the person you are speaking to.

The fifth step is to practice self-compassion. When you make a mistake, be kind and forgiving towards yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect and accept that you are doing the best you can.

 

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The sixth step is to be mindful of your triggers. Triggers are things that upset you or cause you to react in a certain way. For example, if someone cuts in line, this may trigger feelings of anger or frustration. Be aware of your triggers and try to manage them as best as possible.

The seventh step is to set boundaries. Boundaries are limits that you put on how much you are willing to do for others. For example, you may set a boundary stating that you will only work eight hours per day or that you will not take work home with you. boundaries help protect your time and energy so that you can focus on your own goals and needs.

The eighth step is to practice assertiveness regularly. The more often you practice assertiveness, the easier it will become for you to use it in difficult situations. Remember that practice makes perfect!

So why is assertiveness so important in leadership? Well, because it allows you to get results without resorting to bullying or manipulation. It also sends a message to your team that you’re willing to work through disagreements respectfully and that you respect them enough to give them a voice. Being more assertive can lead to better communication, improved decision making, and increased productivity. Assertiveness can also help build relationships with co-workers and customers.

Find out more in the original article here: https://positivepsychology.com/assertiveness-in-leadership/

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

Strong purpose long life

Do you and your workforce have a sense of purpose? If so, recent research on mortality reveals this could be a key factor in protecting employee health, both now and in the future.

Recent research from the University of Michigan has revealed that having a sense of purpose may help to protect against cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline associated with aging. The article “Mortality Linked to Having a Sense of Purpose” published on Neuroscience News outlines the evidence behind this finding, with data from over 6,000 people aged 50 years or older who took part in the Health and Retirement Study between 1992 and 2010.

The key findings reveal that those individuals with a greater sense of purpose had lower risk of mortality overall, as well as death related to cardiovascular disease when compared to those without such purpose in life. Further, those with high levels of perceived purpose showed slower decline in mental ability over time than those without in comparison. This could have implications for managers, business owners, supervisors and employees alike.

Having an understanding that an individual’s potential health outcomes are linked to their sense of purpose can provide powerful motivation to take action within leading roles, particularly when managing employees who may be ageing or facing challenges due to poor health. It is important to create an environment where it is safe for employees to express their sense of purpose through meaningful work activities – something which has been shown to improve wellbeing outcomes for workers at all stages of life. Managers should focus on providing opportunities for employees to direct their energy towards meaningful tasks that take into account their own personal goals and values – as this has been found to increase engagement in tasks as well as foster higher performance overall.

 

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Furthermore, supervisors should seek out ways to ensure that everyone within the organisation feels they are making an important contribution; this could include setting clear expectations at the start of a role, offering feedback regularly during tasks or even just sharing success stories internally so team members feel valued and appreciated for their efforts. Each person needs to understand how their contributions make up part of the whole picture – something which will ultimately help them find meaning in work even as they age or face difficult situations outside the workplace.

Ultimately it is essential for managers and business owners across industries to consider how they can build staff capacity around having a sense of purpose by offering tailored support designed specifically for each individual’s needs — if we want our teams to stay healthy both now and later down the line.

Find out more in the original article here: (https://neurosciencenews.com/mortality-sense-purpose-21864/ )

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

What science tells us about hope

Can hope truly drive us to success? This is the question posed in the article, The Will and Ways of Hope, featured on Psychology Today. In this article, it elaborates on the idea of hope and how it can be used to help individuals reach their goals. How having a sense of optimism and belief that a goal can be achieved has been proven to increase motivation and allow people to work harder towards achieving that goal.

The article delves further into the different ways hope manifests itself; through persistence, courage, faith, conviction and taking risks. These are key components needed when striving for success. Furthermore, hope is necessary for managing stress as it provides strength during difficult times and serves as an “antidote” for low self-esteem.  It is also important to remember that hope should be realistic and achievable; otherwise, it will lead to disappointment

The author of the article concludes with emphasising that hope has the power to drive individuals towards their goals and dreams. It can be used as a tool for success when accompanied by determination and hard work, making it possible to have a positive outlook and strive for greatness. Therefore, the power of hope should not be underestimated as it can be a powerful source of motivation in achieving success.

 

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For managers, business owners and supervisors, understanding the psychology behind hope is essential in order to lead teams effectively. Instilling a sense of hope among employees must be done with thoughtfulness in order to motivate them in the right manner towards desired outcomes. Most importantly, leaders must understand how their own behaviour shapes the behaviours of their team members which requires careful consideration when conveying messages regarding expectations or setting deadlines.

The Will and Ways of Hope is an insightful article on the power of hope and how it can be harnessed to reach success. It highlights the importance of having a sense of optimism when striving for greatness and using it as a tool to motivate oneself. Being aware of the psychology behind hope is critical in order for managers, business owners and supervisors to effectively lead their teams.

Find out more in the original article here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/beautiful-minds/201112/the-will-and-ways-hope

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

Increase your impact with mental workouts

Do emotional exercises really improve mental health?

That’s the question posed by Washington Post wellness columnist in a recent article. According to the article, there is growing evidence that emotional exercises can help improve mental health, especially for people who are not responding to traditional therapy.

The article cites a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology which found that emotional exercises can be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression. The study involved more than 1,500 participants who were randomly assigned to one of three groups – a control group, an exercise group, or a cognitive therapy group.

The exercise group was asked to do thirty minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, while the cognitive therapy group received twelve sessions of cognitive behaviour therapy. The control group did not receive any treatment.

After eight weeks, the results showed that the exercise group had lower levels of anxiety and depression than the control group. They also had higher levels of self-esteem and were more physically active. The cognitive therapy group fared better than the exercise group, but not as well as the control group.

So what do these findings mean for managers and business owners?

There is growing evidence that emotional exercises can be an effective treatment for mental health issues like anxiety and depression. This means that businesses should consider offering these types of exercises to their employees as part of their wellness programs. Emotional exercises are activities or tasks that help you become more aware of your feelings and emotions. They can help you understand and manage your emotions better.

 

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There is evidence that emotional exercises can be very effective at treating mental illness. However, they can also be beneficial for healthy people too. Emotional exercises can help you manage stress, anxiety and anger. They can also improve your mood and overall well-being.

There are many different types of emotional exercises, but some of the most popular include mindfulness meditation, journaling and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Employees who participate in emotional exercises are likely to be less stressed and more productive. They may also be less likely to take time off work due to mental health issues.

Find out more in the original article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2022/09/28/emotional-exercises-for-mental-health/?itid=sf_wellbeing_wellbeing_Mind

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

Future-proof your brain, start dancing

What educators and parents should know about neuroplasticity, learning, and dance

Can movement change the way your brains work? According to the article in Sharp Brains, the answer is yes. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change its structure and function in response to experience. This means that you can learn new things and create new habits, even as you age. Dance is a great way to take advantage of neuroplasticity, because it involves both mental and physical activity. It can improve cognitive function and memory, as well as mood and emotional regulation.

The article cites a study that found that “dancing may improve cognitive function by enhancing neuroplasticity.” It goes on to say that “the brain is incredibly plastic, meaning it can change its structure and function in response to various experiences.” This is great news for educators and parents! It means that you can help you children learn by providing them with opportunities to engage in activities that are challenging and stimulating.

 

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So what does this mean for managers, business owners, and supervisors? It means that you need to be creative in your approach to employee development and training. First, by creating an environment that encourages employees to learn and grow. This could mean offering training opportunities or giving employees the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Second, by providing employees with breaks throughout the day so they can move their bodies and get some exercise. Finally, by promoting healthy lifestyles for employees, which will have a positive impact on their brains as well as their bodies.

This article shows that dance can be a useful tool for improving cognitive skills. Improving cognitive skills can lead to increased productivity and creativity in the workplace. It can also help employees stay focused and motivated. Creating a workplace that encourages employees to be physically active and engage in mentally stimulating activities will benefit the company as a whole.

Find more in the original article here: https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2016/01/22/what-educators-and-parents-should-know-about-neuroplasticity-learning-and-dance

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

Emotional labour is hard work

Are you the office mom? If so, your career is at risk.

That’s the conclusion of a new article by Melody Wilding for Forbes. According to Wilding, emotional labour – or the effort spent managing emotions – affects women’s careers more than men’s. And the office mom is often the one who bears the brunt of that burden.

The article discusses how women are often saddled with the majority of the emotional labour in the workplace. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as being responsible for managing relationships and handling tasks that are seen as ‘women’s work’. This can be extremely taxing and lead to women feeling overwhelmed and unsupported.

Emotional labour is the process of managing emotions in the workplace. It can include tasks such as cheering up a colleague who is having a bad day, handling customer complaints, or acting happy and enthusiastic even when you’re not feeling it. Women are often expected to shoulder the majority of emotional labour in the office, and this can take a toll on their careers.

There are several reasons for this. First, women are typically socialised to be more emotionally expressive than men. They’re also more likely to be responsible for tasks like organising team events and arranging childcare. All of these activities require emotional labour.

 

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But emotional labour doesn’t just affect women’s personal lives. It can also have a negative impact on their careers. For example, it can lead to feelings of burnout and frustration. It can also make it difficult to assert oneself in the workplace or to take on new challenges.

So what can managers, business owners and supervisors do to help? Here are three tips:

1) Be aware of the issue.

2) Encourage employees to take breaks.

3) Offer flexible work arrangements.

If you’re a woman in business, it’s important to be aware of the emotional labour you’re expected to perform. Take steps to manage your own emotions, and encourage your employees to do the same.

Find out more in the original article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/melodywilding/2018/06/06/dont-be-the-office-mom-how-emotional-labor-affects-womens-careers/?sh=274620651103

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

Are ‘attachment issues’ impacting your leadership style?

Have you ever wondered how attachment styles can affect performance in the workplace? This question is explored in depth in the article “Attachment in the Workplace”  on The Attachment Project. In this article, it asserts that our attachment style can significantly influence how we function and perform at work.

The article begins by introducing attachment theory, which states that people develop certain relationship patterns depending on their upbringing and experiences. It then goes on to explain how early childhood experiences shape our beliefs and behaviours when it comes to forming relationships, both personal and professional.  It further states that these attachment styles can affect our behaviour in the workplace, leading to different levels of performance and engagement

The article then outlines four possible attachment styles which could impact on how well a person performs at work: secure, avoidant, anxious-ambivalent, and disorganised. Each style is associated with its own unique set of beliefs and behaviours which can have a positive or negative effect on one’s performance.

The article finishes with some practical advice for those looking to improve their attachment style in the workplace: develop self-awareness, practice healthy relationships, learn effective communication and problem-solving skills, and seek professional help if necessary. It outlines ways in which understanding our own attachment style can help us better navigate our working environment.

 

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Overall , this article provides an insightful look into how our attachment style can shape our performance in the workplace. It is a must-read for anyone looking to make meaningful changes in their professional life

By understanding your own attachment style, you can develop strategies to help you effectively manage relationships and achieve success at work. This article is an invaluable resource

Examining one’s own attachment style can provide insight into why certain conflicts arise between colleagues, as well as what strategies might be employed to ensure a more effective team dynamic. It has implications for those in leadership positions too; managers, business owners and supervisors are encouraged to understand their own attachment styles so they can better relate to their subordinates and lead them with greater effectiveness.

This is an excellent resource for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of how their own attachment style affects their interactions – both positive and negative – in the workplace. Ultimately, understanding one’s self is key for any leader who wishes to foster an environment of collaboration and success amongst their team members.

Find out more in the original article here: https://www.attachmentproject.com/blog/attachment-in-the-workplace/

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

5 ways science can improve your focus

Can you really improve your focus at work? Recent research gives some interesting insights into how you can do this.  Are you constantly switching between tasks and finding it difficult to stay on track? If so, you’re not alone. In a recent article published by the BBC, here some tips for improving focus and productivity in the workplace.

 

The first tip is to break up your workday into smaller chunks. Instead of trying to work for eight hours straight, break it up into four two-hour sessions with a break in between. This will help keep your mind fresh and focused.

The second tip is to establish specific times for checking email and social media. Checking these things constantly can be extremely distracting, so try to limit yourself to just twice a day.

The third tip is to take a break every hour. Get up and move around, go for a walk or drink some water. This will help refresh your mind and make you more productive when you return to your work. The fourth tip is to create a distraction-free workspace. This means turning off all distractions (cell phone, TV, etc.) and focusing on one task at a time. The fifth and final tip is to set goals for yourself. Instead of just working on whatever comes your way, try setting specific goals for each day and week. This will help keep you focused and motivated.

These five tips are simple but effective ways to help improve your focus at work. If you’re having trouble staying productive, give them a try! They may just be what you need to get the job done.

 

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Taking regular breaks throughout the day gives your brain a chance to refresh and recharge, which can help improve focus and productivity in the long run. Try setting goals for yourself and tracking your progress over time. This helps you stay accountable and motivated and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed.

It is important that we foster a productive work environment for our employees. By following the simple steps, we can create an environment that is conducive to focus and productivity. And who knows? Maybe we’ll even be able to improve our own productivity in the process!

Find out more in the original article here: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20170925-the-surprising-tricks-to-help-you-focus-at-work

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference. 

 

5 thinking habits that block success

Do you know how your brain is sabotaging your success? You may be surprised. According to this article, there are five cognitive biases that can block your success. These are sunk cost fallacy, confirmation bias, self-serving bias, winner’s curse, and survivorship bias.

The first bias is the sunk cost fallacy. This is the belief that you’ve invested so much time and money into a project that you can’t give up on it. The sunk cost fallacy can lead to bad decision-making and prevent you from moving on to better opportunities. The second bias is loss aversion. This is the fear of losing something you already have. Loss aversion can lead to hesitation and indecision, which can prevent you from taking action.

The third bias is confirmation bias. This is the tendency to favour information that confirms our beliefs and ignore information that contradicts them. Confirmation bias can lead to poor decision-making and prevent you from considering all possible options. The fourth bias is overconfidence. This is the belief that you’re better than you really are. Overconfidence can lead to unrealistic expectations and poor decision-making.

The fifth bias is sunk cost fallacy 2.0 (or escalation of commitment). This is the tendency to keep investing in a project or idea even when it’s no longer viable. Escalation of commitment can lead to wasted resources and bad decision-making. Each of these biases can be a roadblock to our success. However, by recognising them and taking steps to overcome them, you can move closer to achieving your goals.

 

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So what can you do about these cognitive biases? Managers, business owners and supervisors should be aware of these biases because they can lead to bad decisions that harm the business. The best way to deal with them is to become aware of them and acknowledge that they exist. Once you’re aware of your own biases, you can start making an effort to counteract them. For example, you can try to take a step back and look at situations from different perspectives, or you can ask others for their opinions before making decisions. You can also make a point of gathering data from multiple sources before coming to any conclusions. And finally, you can practice mindfulness, which will help us stay aware of your thoughts and feelings as they happen and keep them from impacting your judgment.

Find out more in the original article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2021/09/27/5-cognitive-biases-blocking-your-success/?sh=5f6227282402

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.