5:00AM Wake Up, Get Dressed, Eat Breakfast
6:00AM Wake Kids Up, Get Them Dressed, Eat Breakfast
7:00AM Kids Off To School, Leave For Work Commute
7:30-7:45AM Arrive To Work, Chat With Co-Workers
8:00AM Begin Work
8:15AM Call From Orthodontist’s Office; Your Son Needs Braces
8:20AM Review Health Insurance Coverage
8:45AM Begin Work, Again
9:00AM Boss Stops By To Check On Your Progress, Assigns You Two Extra Tasks
9:15AM Smartphone App Alert: BREAKING NATIONAL NEWS STORY
9:30AM Finish Google Search On News Story; Begin Work, Again
10:00AM Office Meeting: Project Deadline’s Moved Forward One Week
11:00AM Meeting Adjourned, Return To Office, Contemplate Life
11:15AM BREAK: Browse The Internet
11:30AM Begin Working Again
It’s only been a half day and this poor soul has only accomplished an hour and half’s worth of work in the first half of a typical 8-hour workday. A solid fifteen minutes into their scheduled work day the challenges of day-to-day life were put into effect.
Does this person’s daily schedule slightly resemble your own? Do you by chance see any consistencies with your own working behavior or personal life? Chances are while we all may not have children or have a daily meeting, we’re all subject to a number of distractions. At TalenAlexander we have our own personal mantra, Break Through The Noise.
Frequent stop-and-go habits only further complicate focusing on the task at hand. In fact, according to a study released by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, human beings now have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish; estimated goldfish attention span is 9 seconds.
Of the recent findings, TIME Magazine wrote,
Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.
What/who is the culprit behind this decrease in our collective cognitive functioning abilities? Smartphones, multi-screens and lifestyles geared towards expedience. On the uptick our ability to multi-task has grown stronger due our technological inclination.
However, living your life in overdrive can rob you of vitality, be it in creative, professional or personal endeavors. So, how do you go about recharging your batteries in a society in high gear? The answer lies within meditation.
Before you doubt the validity of Eastern medicine or your ability to induce your own tranquility, listen to the sentiments of Peter Bregman, Harvard Business Review Contributor and CEO of Bregman Partners.
Meditation brings many benefits: It refreshes us, helps us settle into what’s happening now, makes us wiser and gentler, helps us cope in a world that overloads us with information and communication, and more. But if you’re still looking for a business case to justify spending time meditating, try this one: Meditation makes you more productive.
How? By increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.
Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance. If you can resist your urges, you can make better, more thoughtful decisions. You can be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can think about the outcome of your actions before following through on them.
In hard science terms, the practice and effect Bregman is alluding to is known as, Delayed Gratification.
Study.com defines delayed gratification as, “The ability to put off something mildly fun or pleasurable now in order to wait for something that is greatly fun, pleasurable, or rewarding later.”
Stanford Pyschologist Walter Mischel is infamous for his studies in delayed gratification with his Marshmallow Test. During the test, an experimenter would give four-year-old children a marshmallow instructing them that they could either eat the marshmallow now or wait fifteen minutes until the experimenter returned from completing a task. Upon their return, if they had not eaten the treat they could recieve two marshmallows. The children would then be left to sit in a room with the marshmallow sitting in front of them.
What were the results of the study?
Years later, Mischel followed up his test subjects and learned that,
Children who were able to wait for two marshmallows grew up to be more intelligent, more likely to resist temptation, have better social responsibility, exhibit better ways to cope with frustration and stress, and strive for higher levels of achievement in many areas of life. In one group of participants in these many experiments, there was a link between delay of gratification and higher SAT scores.
*210 Points higher via Psychology Today
It’s a fascinating discovery, but where does all of this leave you?
It’s tempting to want to break away from the stressors of your life be it via social media, Google search engines, food, or other distractions. All of these external factors coupled with a shortened attention span can make life overwhelming. We can squander our creative drive, stifle our problem solving abilities, and become short-sighted by what feels like a barrage of events beyond our control.
We at TalenAlexander encourage you to Break Through The Noise and practice, meditation. The facts have all been presented before you, so what else have you got to lose, but a few moments of your day. A few minutes completely dedicated to the betterment of yourself. Doing absolutely nothing. Thinking absolutely nothing. Wanting for absolutely nothing.
When you’ve finished meditating, you can return to the chaos of everyday life, but by sparing yourself a few moments to disconnect from everything, you can access the private island to which no one but yourself is invited. You share no thoughts, tragedies, successes, or curiosities. Nothing at all.
Your meditation can be as long as an hour or as short as 10 minutes. The length of time is not important. What is important is that you make time for yourself whether it be in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening.
If you’re unsure of how to start, there are even apps to help you. Ironic, right?
Russell Simmons, Founder/CEO of Def Jam Recordings and New York Times Best-Selling Author, created the app, Meditation Made Simple which is available through iTunes.
If you’re the owner of an Android, Headspace is an equally apt app developed by Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson; Puddicombe is a former Buddhist monk. Available through the Google Play store, Headspace is also accessible as a web account through registration online.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let life weigh you down, it’s a gift. Sit back, relax, and recharge your batteries…and then get back to living.