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Unplug
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Take a deep breath, slow down to navigate into a richer more fulfilling life.
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Keep an Eye to Your Habits for Work-Life Balance

Keep an Eye to Your Habits for Work-Life Balance | Unplug | Scoop.it
5 Threats to Work-Life Balance
PayScale Career News
You must have boundaries to maintain balance in your life, at work and at home.
Susan Taylor's insight:

Keeping an eye on your daily habits can help you to maintain balance in your life.  Here are five things to pay attention to:

 

(1) Create boundaries by knowing when to say "NO"

(2) Drop the "Should"

(3) Delegate responsibilities

(4) Enjoy more personal time

(5) Go home

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Kathleen Klompien's curator insight, March 7, 2014 2:13 PM

This might be a useful website overall for essay 1 as well. 

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Want to Create Balance? Change How You Think

Want to Create Balance?  Change How You Think | Unplug | Scoop.it
Australians are spending more hours at work than ever before and contribute more unpaid overtime each year than their annual leave allowance. While wo...
Susan Taylor's insight:

You're plugged in all day at the office and again when you get home. We've created a business culture where it is completely acceptable to be always on, always connected.  "Many of us leave our smart phones by our bed; it’s the last thing we look at each night and the first thing each morning." 

 

Everyone's talking about work-life balance.  But how do you achieve it?  According to Brenton Prosser, you need to re-frame how you think about work and life.  Here are some suggestions:

 

  • Focus on things like family, religious beliefs and values as a way to recognize how much time and energy you give to your profession.
  • Discover how your personality, principles and passions help you "to thrive and not just survive" in your work.
  • Change your iWorld (the state of being constantly 'switched on' to work) to your LifeWorld (the importance of whole-of-life activity). 

 

"New times present new challenges that require new conceptual resources."  With these changes comes the necessity to change how we think about the work-life balance.

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Health & Wellness a Top Priority at HootSuite

Health & Wellness a Top Priority at HootSuite | Unplug | Scoop.it
At HootSuite, where things tend to move at a lightening speed, it can be especially challenging for many of us to maintain a good work-life balance.
Susan Taylor's insight:

Things move at warp speed at HootSuite, but it does not stop this company from keeping health and wellness a priority.  CEO Ryan Holmes shares 5 secrets to health and happiness:

 

(1) Honor your lunch hour

(2) Find a way to get outside - every day

(3) Dog therapy (HootSuite's office employs 20 full-time dogs so the staff can interact with animals)

(4) Take an afternoon nap

(5) Stay fueled with healthy snacks

 

 

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Can Technology Help Us be Mindful?

Can Technology Help Us be Mindful? | Unplug | Scoop.it
Can we really create a technology that actually helps us tune in and support being mindful? And if it's possible, how could this impact our life and the lives of those around us? I believe it is possible.

Via Bart Everson
Susan Taylor's insight:

Technological advances in social media, home computers, apps and smartphones are still quite new.  And as technology continues to advance, we will continue to shift how we interact with it. 

 

These advances have led to a rise in Digital Brain Health -- "raising awareness about the value of being mindful and what it takes to build healthy brain habits."

 

As most technology takes us out of the "now", can we really create a technology that supports present moment awareness?  Michael Apollo believes it is possible. 

 

In an overly distracted "never enough time" society, support systems like devices that give people tools to assist them with mindfulness can make things easier.  From mindfulness bell alerts on your iphone to bio-sensing of your breath and heart rates, technology tools act as reminders to tune in and be aware.  And the future holds even more promise in the form of apps and sensors that will not only monitor the breath and heart, but the electrical activity of your brain.

 

It's up to each one of us to make conscious decisions about how to practice present moment awareness.  And regardless of what the future holds in the form of hi-tech tools, I think it's important not to continually rely on something external of ourselves.  Balance is fundamental here.  While these tools can certainly kick-start or support your practice, balancing how often you "tune in" with a devices vs. tuning into yourself is significant. 

 

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Bart Everson's curator insight, October 17, 2013 12:44 PM

I generally avoid HuffPo because of their atrocious overlaoded web design. But this article by Michael Apollo gives a nice overview of the intersection between mindfulness and technology.

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Take a Break from Fear

Take a Break from Fear | Unplug | Scoop.it
Wouldn't you love to feel free from fear? We get afraid when we think that what we’re facing is bigger than the resources we have to handle it. Because of that, we feel more fear when we exaggerate...
Susan Taylor's insight:

Would it be worth just 10 minutes of your time to rid yourself of some of your fears?  This mini-meditation from Mind Body can help.

 

We are living in a world of worry.  Fear is present these days in nearly every aspect of our lives, contributing to our greatest fear of all: Survival.  So how can we relieve ourselves from all of this anxiety?  One option is to connect with that part of you that is fearless.

 

We are afraid when we feel we don't have the resources to handle the very thing we fear.  We inflate that fear when we exaggerate its power, underestimating our own resources.  When we continue to focus on what scares us, we start to believe that that thing is more likely to happen then it is. 

 

This mini-meditation guides you through a "specific fear you have from a place inside you that is free from fear".  It helps you to connect with your Core Source and build trust with the part of you that is fearless. 

 

I took 10 minutes this morning to try this guided practice.  After listening, I had a smile on my face and felt lighter and somewhat relieved.  Perhaps you would like to give it a try as well.

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Ready? Set? PAUSE!

Ready?  Set?  PAUSE! | Unplug | Scoop.it
People spend about 47 of their lives lost in thought pondering the past and worrying about the future. Stop the cycle and get more productive and... (RT @DerekONeill101: Don't forget to hit PAUSE!
Susan Taylor's insight:

We live in a world of continuous distraction.  According to a recent study by Harvard, 47% of our lives are spent lost in thought -- "pondering the past and worrying about the future" -- not able to cherish the present moment.  No longer true for Amy Jo Martin and her team at Digital Royalty. 

 

Stress is no stranger to Ms. Martin.  As the CEO of a social media consulting firm, there have been days when meetings were lined up 15 at a time.  It was on one such day when Amy Jo noticed an 8 minute meeting on her calendar entitled, "Ready, Set Pause." 

 

Encouraged by a colleague, Ms. Martin took 8 minutes to put on her headphones and listen to music.  This short hiatus changed her life.  "From that day on, an 8-minute 'Ready, Set, Pause' has held a permanent spot in my daily agenda".  And today, "Ready, Set, Pause" is part of Digital Royalty University courses.

 

Taking a daily pause fosters mindfulness and immediately decreases stress levels. "It can be as easy as listening to a few songs, or going for a walk. However you choose to take it, make sure there are no distractions. No phones, conversations, or computers."

 

Are you ready?  Set?  Then pause and share your experience with others using the hashtag #ReadySetPause or tagging @ReadySetPause.  We would also be interested in hearing about your experiences @iUnplug.

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Turn Off the Smartphone and Learn

Turn Off the Smartphone and Learn | Unplug | Scoop.it
The average person checks his or her smartphone approximately 150 times in 16 hours. A one-day digital detox made one man realize just how important it is to unplug.
Susan Taylor's insight:

A one-day digital detox can help you learn the importance of what it means to be unplugged.  At least that's what 24 hours of device-less time did for Brian Moran, CEO of Moran & Associates.

 

One day last month, Brian cut the cord.  This is what he learned:

 

(1) Smartphones have instilled a need in us to know about everything going on in the world.  The average person checks his or her smartphone every 6.5 minutes whether they are driving, in the bathroom or in bed.  The first thing Mr. Moran learned is that we are addicted to the small intelligent devices we call smartphones. 

 

(2) Whether you use your smartphone as an alarm clock, to check the weather, inquire about your flight status or connect with family and business colleagues, "smartphones are a necessary and integral part of our daily lives." 

 

(3) During his experiment, Moran was curious about what messages he was missing and what was going on with his clients or colleagues.  While he missed a few calls and texts that were time sensitive, the sky didn't fall.  What he realized is that almost everything he missed during his digital detox could have waited until the next day.  His learning?  "Smartphones are the ultimate time-suck in our daily lives."

 

(4) The boundaries between our personal and professional lives are shrinking.  And the future will make those two aspects of ourselves even more interconnected.  "Unless we reinforce the eroding boundaries now, social acceptance of being accessible 24 hours/day will become reality".  This realization led Brian Moran to Lession #5.

 

(5) "It's important to periodically cut the cord."  Likened to a sense of freedom, Brian shares the physical relief he felt in not being tethered to his smartphone.  He wasn't beholden to anyone or anything and was reminded of how good it feels to be in the "now".  The end result? "I should try this experiment more often."

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Missing the Magic: Are Smartphones an Intrusion on the Nature Experience?

Missing the Magic: Are Smartphones an Intrusion on the Nature Experience? | Unplug | Scoop.it
Huffington Post
Should Nature-and-Adventure Travel Companies Have Smartphone Policies?
Susan Taylor's insight:

As the world continues to jump on to the smartphone bandwagon, it becomes more difficult for us to leave them behind as we embark on a long trip away from home.  We have become quite reliant on these small intelligent devices.  After all, they allow us do almost anything from checking email to closing the garage door we left open to having 24/7 access to friends and family.

 

On the other hand, imagine being at Yellowstone National Park, enjoying a rare view of Mamma bear with her two cubs -- only to have that experience spoiled by someone having a loud conversation via his/her cell phone as the bears scare off into the forest.

 

The author has written a great article about whether or not Nature and Adventure Travel Companies should introduce policies for smartphone use.  While most travel agencies do not yet have an official policy, some do see smartphones as an intrusion, requesting that guests not use them in public or common areas.  And as cell phone use continues to increase, firmer policies may need to be implemented.

 

Often times, guests who partake in adventure trips do so with the intention to unplug.  They are more than happy to turn off their smartphone for the duration of their trip.  Others are unwilling or unable to separate from their digital devices. 

 

From the travel company side, Steve Markle from O.A.R.S. states: "Our trips are really about taking a break from our hyperconnected lives and using wilderness to restore some balance. If you're glued to your phone to help manage a merger or acquisition while you're on vacation, you're missing the magic."

 

Right now, there seem to be few policies in place around smartphone use on adverture trips.  The desire or need to stay in contact is basically up to each traveler. 

 

The next time you are at Yellowstone or on a canoe trip down the Colorado River, what will you decide?  Will you digitally disconnect or are you willing to miss the magic?

 

 

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Writing As A Meditation Practice

Writing As A Meditation Practice | Unplug | Scoop.it
Those who have a regular meditation practice can simply add the writing immediately following it, and those who find it difficult to do traditional meditation will find this practice fruitful as the writing gives your busy mind something to do.
Susan Taylor's insight:

Are you a meditation practitioner or do you find meditation practice to be a challenge?  Either way, writing can be used as a way to bridge your active mind with the meditative mind.  And as little as 10 minutes each day reaps great rewards.  This blog tells you how:

 

(1) Sit in stillness for 5-15 minutes or begin by taking a minimum of 21 consecutive breaths.  This sets the "intention to cultivate an atmosphere of warmth and openness toward yourself and your experience."

(2) Set a timer and free write for 10 minutes.  Just write what immediately comes to mind without conscious thinking.  (Right now...) Suspend impusles to stop, contemplate, edit or analyze.

(3) When the timer goes off, pause; take a breath or two and read what you wrote aloud to yourself.  Give yourself permission to listen deeply to yourself.

(4) Underline or highlight any words or phrases that resonate.  These fragments can be used now or for other timed writing sessions.

(5) At the conclusion of the session, intend that "whatever insight you gained produce positive effects for yourself and all beings touched by you."

 

This practice can be done anywhere, at any time in virtually any location.  The practice creates the "conditions where insights can arise as you uncover hidden obstacles and unwind your judging mind into greater warmth, spaciousness and acceptance of of all."

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Tomorrow's Leaders are Training their Brains

Tomorrow's Leaders are Training their Brains | Unplug | Scoop.it
Mindfulness training is helping business leaders rethink the way they make big decisions, stay sane and get ahead at work, says neurologist Dr Tamara Russell. (Can you really retrain your brain?
Susan Taylor's insight:

Great insights about the benefits of mindfulness in today's turbo-charged business environment.  The article also touches upon the importance of being present with those who really matter to us.

 

To be mindful is to be alert and aware to what is unfolding in any given moment.  This includes being engaged with how your mind and body reacts to certain situations. Enlightened leaders are learning that mindfulness -- training the mind to pay attention -- takes both discipline and practice.

 

"By repeatedly training the mind to pay attention to the sensations of the body as they enter the brain, mindfulness training uses this information to build up an exquisitely sensitive understanding of our reactions and responses in the world -- both at work and elsewhere in our lives."

 

Benefits of training include:

 

  • The ability to be present with others
  • Improvements in attention
  • Enhanced memory and recall
  • Advanced problem-solving
  • Increased creativity

 

For best results, the author suggests you train in a quiet dedicated environment where you will not be interrupted. Just 20 minutes of mindfulness training in the morning, for example, will "radically change how you experience your work day and relate to others."

 

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AnnC's curator insight, October 17, 2013 9:40 PM

BE COGNIZANT OF THE MOMENT FOR YOUR BRAIN'S SAKE.

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Nature-Deficit Disorder - Really?

Nature-Deficit Disorder - Really? | Unplug | Scoop.it
The cure for much of what ails us is just outside the window.


"Kids who do play outside are less likely to get sick, to be stressed or become aggressive, and are more adaptable to life’s unpredictable turns, Louv said. Since his book came out, things have gotten worse."

craig daniels's insight:

I've always been grateful for growing up in rural Vermont, just a few steps out my back door many wooded trails and adventures awaited. Just 5 miles from my front door an Ivy League school became my touchstone for broader horizons.


The trendiness of Nature-Deficit Disorder is what caught me as my eyes scanned the endless news stories scrolling across my monitor, but it was the realization that I had not taken a walk in 2 or 3 days that stopped me cold and led me to read the story.


I grew up outdoors but now more often than not I interact with the outdoors through a window. Do think about your relationship with the outdoors and nature. When was the last time you got a nature fix?


I'm off for a brisk 2 miles walk, join me won't you?

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Step Away from the To-Do List and Just Have Fun!

Step Away from the To-Do List and Just Have Fun! | Unplug | Scoop.it
7 Tips and Tricks to streamline your life and get into work life balance (7 Ways to Simplify Your Work Life Balance - Project Eve http://t.co/JPBe4HrSW1)...
Susan Taylor's insight:

Too much work and not enough YOU?  Project Eve shares with us 7 ways to simplify our workday:

 

(1) Get Clear: Make a list of all your work-related tasks in as much detail as possible.  What's most critical and what are the drop-dead deadlines?

(2) Delegate: Decide which tasks must be done by you and delegate the rest.

(3) Shut off Email: Close your email window when you're working on a project and take 15 minutes every couple of hours solely to read/respond to messages.

(4) Clear the Clutter: Clear desk = clear thinking and saves you time in the long-run.

(5) Drink More Water: A large contributer to afternoon fatigue is dehydration.

(6) Take Frequent Breaks: Physically get up and walk down the hall (or better yet, around the block).

(7) Work with a Coach: You may want to consider working with a coach for support.

 

"And above all, remember that the best stress relief comes from stepping back from your endless to-do list from time to time to just have fun...those are the memories that will stick with you in the long run."

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Invest Your Time Being Unplugged in Nature; You May Just Plug into Something Profound

Invest Your Time Being Unplugged in Nature; You May Just Plug into Something Profound | Unplug | Scoop.it
I am trying to teach my two and half year old son how to pray.
Susan Taylor's insight:

"Frank Lloyd Wright said it best, 'I believe in God, I just spell it nature.'"

 

One of the best things we can do for our health and well-being is to develop an intimate connection with Nature.  Consider times when you've seen a beautiful sunset; witnessed the vastness of the ocean or felt awe at the sight of 14,000 foot peaks.  We feel something powerful and mysterious when in the presence of Nature.

 

Appreciating Nature in all her glory "makes us feel intimately connected to all life" and is foundational to feelings of happiness and gratitude.  Eoin Finn, author of this Huff Post blog, calls these instances "Nature Appreciation Moments" -- times when you put away your computers, pads and phones and step outdoors to discover something beautiful.

 

So the next time you need a break from the digital grind, go outside.  Then "relax and breathe, observe and receive."

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Ruth Obadia's curator insight, October 19, 2013 10:48 AM

I am not sure what God really is but I know we feel something powerful in the presence of nature. What is it? It can only be experienced firsthand and cannot be explained using the rational mind. This is where we get the word "mystic." There is a feeling of something powerful inside us, but what is that something? It's a mystery.

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What Have You Done for Your Brain Lately?

What Have You Done for Your Brain Lately? | Unplug | Scoop.it
You’ve heard the advice about how to create a viral video, and you’ve read all the tips on how to create SEO keywords, but what have you done for your brain lately?

Via Thomas Faltin
Susan Taylor's insight:

How do we get an idea to go viral?  What SEO keywords should we use to drive traffic? What social media platform is best for our business?

 

In today's fast-paced and highly competitive market, small business owners need to stay on top of their game.  And how do you ensure that all pistons are firing?  Exercise your brain!

 

"Just like the muscles in your body, you can train your mind to perform at a higher level by engaging in the right exercises."  Here's how:

 

(1) Physical exercise is beneficial for your body and your brain 

(2) Mental exercises such as puzzles and games have long-term benefits

(3) Proper diet and nutrition makes a difference

(4) Socialize -- make friends and engage with others (and I don't mean via Facebook or Twitter)

(5) Manage your stress level

 

Whether you're running a small business or not, you've only got one brain.  "Treat it well".

 

 


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Find Your Entrepreneurial Zen

Find Your Entrepreneurial Zen | Unplug | Scoop.it
Think entrepreneurship requires putting your personal life on hold and working 100 hours a week? Think again. We spoke to successful 'treps who've...
Susan Taylor's insight:

"Julie Fredrickson jokes that she's running her startup wrong."  She works less than 10 hours each day, rarely on weekend.  She makes time for family, friends and triathlons.  She eats well and sleeps 9 hours every night. 

 

"I am strongly in favor of a balanced life," Fredrickson says. "I think I am a  better entrepreneur for this decision." 

 

A better entrepreneur indeed.  Fredrickson's company, playAPI, has grossed more than $1 million since its launch just over one year ago.

 

 

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When Life Feels Hectic - Try Journaling

When Life Feels Hectic - Try Journaling | Unplug | Scoop.it
I have been journaling for the past 8 or so years. When I hop into bed for the evening, I have my journal sitting on my bed stand. I often pull it out and reflect on my day.
Susan Taylor's insight:

It's important to get thoughts on paper -- especially when life tends to get a little hectic.  Debbi Dickinson has been journaling for 8 years now and finds the practice to be beneficial to her and the clients she coaches. 

 

There is no wrong way to journal.  But is there a difference between journalling on a computer vs. writing by hand?  It turns out there is...

 

Journaling via computer is great for mind dumps and telling stories.  "A computer has it’s pluses in that it’s quick and can often keep up with your thoughts if you are proficient at the keyboard."  So if you've got a lot on your mind, start typing and put those thoughts to screen.

 

For more reflective moments, journaling by hand is your best bet. "Studies have shown that handwritten journaling invokes a creative and introspective portion of our brains that typing cannot match."  So for those quiet moments when you're feeling more insightful, put pen to paper.

 

Whichever medium you choose, what's most important is that you set aside conscious time to journal -- especially when you feel the need to get all that "stuff" out of your head!

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Technology is Rewiring Your Brain

Technology is Rewiring Your Brain | Unplug | Scoop.it
Scientists say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information from e-mail and other interruptions.

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
Susan Taylor's insight:

A few years ago, Kord Campbell missed the email of his life -- for 12 days.  How did this happen?  Through an electronic flood of email, IM, chats and web browers, it simply slipped through the cracks.

 

Campbell managed to save his million dollar deal, "yet continues to struggle with the effects of the deluge of data. Even after he unplugs, he craves the stimulation he gets from his electronic gadgets. He forgets things like dinner plans, and he has trouble focusing on his family."

 

This is our brain in the Digital Age.

 

Generally, our ability to focus is being undermined by never-ending bits of information coming at us 24/7.  Information overload, multitasking, interruptions and constant distraction hampers work and family life.

 

"Nonstop interactivity is  one of the most significant shifts ever in the human environment."  The bottom line?  Technology is rewiring our brains, exposing us "to an environment that asks our brains to do things we weren’t necessarily evolved to do.  We know already there are consequences.”

 

We are at a moment of dramatic change. 

 

The greatest threat?  "Heavy technology use diminishes empathy by limiting how much people engage with one another -- even in the same room.  That empathy is essential to the human condition."

 

In an age that supposedly keeps us more connected, we are in fact becoming more fragmented. The human condition -- the unique features of being human -- is becoming more fragile.

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AnnC's curator insight, October 17, 2013 9:27 PM

HOW DO WE CHOOSE TO EVOLVE?

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Rediscover the Value of Device-less Interactions

Rediscover the Value of Device-less Interactions | Unplug | Scoop.it
Check your phone before going to bed and again first thing in the morning? You might be an addict--and it might be hurting your business. (RT @JohnEcken: Digital Detox?
Susan Taylor's insight:

We hear more about it every day.  Take a Digital Detox.  Unplug.  Get Off the Grid.  Yet most of us find it so difficult to be separated from our smartphone that we bring it to bed with us -- 68% of us sleep with our device.

 

In this blog, the President & CEO of Visage shares with us some reasons why both employees and companies should disconnect.

 

Why Employees Should Disconnect

Many employees have have a fearful sense of stress when they cannot immediately respond to an email or business deal.  Phone users have relied so heavily on their devices to provide instant information "that they've lost the ability to plan ahead, their memories have suffered, and their creativity is stunted." 

 

Disconnecting "affords us time for the rest and relaxation necessary to restore the energy we put into our professional lives".

 

Why Companies Should Disconnect

We brag about what multi-taskers we are.  Turns out that being a great multi-tasker means you're great at minimizing your concentration and diminishing your creativity.  Focus and innovation  are "the lifeblood of any growing company".   Any company without those will lose their competitive advantage.

 

 

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Multitasking: An Impediment to Thinking & Behaviour

Multitasking: An Impediment to Thinking & Behaviour | Unplug | Scoop.it
More and more articles on the web state that multitasking and doing 10 things at a time, not only hamper creativity and innovation as well as reduce people’s ability to behave in an ‘emotionally in...

Via Jenny Ebermann
Susan Taylor's insight:

We've all done it...participating in a conference call while checking email, Tweeting and checking our Facebook news feed.  Driving while on our cell phone (hopefully hands free) and drinking coffee.  Dinner with the family in conversation together until the phone beeps indicating we have a new text message.

 

Whatever it is we are doing -- one thing is clear.  Doing too many things at the same time not only hampers our creativity and innovation; research now shows that multi-tasking can affect our memory, leading to stress and even illness.

 

So what do you do the next time you need to be in three places at the same time?  Jenny Ebermann suggests that "we need to learn to scale down and approach tasks, demands and workload in a different, mindful way."

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AnnC's curator insight, October 17, 2013 9:31 PM

BE MINDFUL OF WHAT IS HERE.

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Make Nature A Priority

Make Nature A Priority | Unplug | Scoop.it
Throughout the Fall Family Challenge, we're profiling families across Canada who make time in nature a priority. Today we're in Canada's largest city, where Jode Roberts, his wife Carol, and...
Susan Taylor's insight:

Do you ever feel that nature has become less of a priority in your life?  This Toronto family has chosen to make being outdoors a vital part of theirs.

 

Living in an area that has access to urban green space and is within walking distance to grocery stores, cafes, parks and schools was a conscious choice for the Roberts family. 

 

And why this conscious lifestyle choice?

 

Splashing in puddles, rolling down hills or camping outside of the city helps The Roberts restore balance and gives them space to think and be creative.  For their young son, engaging with nature is important so that he can "run and explore after hours spent indoors at school and in front of screens."

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Do We Need to Teach Mindfulness?

Do We Need to Teach Mindfulness? | Unplug | Scoop.it
Think of sitting quietly in a spartan room. There are no TVs, computers, smartphones, books, magazines or music. If you’re like most people, this probably sounds like a recipe for boredom.
craig daniels's insight:

Habitual by nature, attention is a skill that needs to be cultivated.  In our Information Age, continuous overstimulation has become a way of life.  And the speed at which technology is advancing leaves little space for conscious decision making. 


With more than a 350% increase in information consumption since 1980, it seems to me that being mindful about when to spend time online -- and off -- is becoming a necessity in our schools; in our businesses; and in our lives.

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