Business 143(Wed, Thu, Sat) – Want To Be More Productive In The New Year? Try These Tips From A Neuroscientist.

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Forget Multitasking, Welcome Monotasking - Passionate Chic

Warm up

—- * * FOR NEW STUDENTS ** ————————————— ————

  1. What industry do you work in and what is your role?
  2. What are your responses in your role / position?
  3. Can you describe to the function of your workplace / company?
  4. How many departments, how many offices. National or International?
  5. What are the minimum requirements for employment ie Education or Experience?
  6. How many opportunities are there to ‘move up the ladder’?
  7. What is the process for changing job roles ie Interview? Test?

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General discussion about your workweek:

  1. Current projects? Deadlines? Opportunities?
  2. Anything of interest happening?



1. Do you set a resolution every year to be more productive at work, only to find yourself yet again the next December with a dozen tabs open on your browser and your mind still getting hijacked by worries about what people thought about something you said in a meeting? Do you start your day with a reasonable to-do list, only to find yourself doing lots of non-essential tasks that aren’t even on there and not getting to the priorities that matter to you? 

2. In her book, Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes A Day, neuroscientist Dr. Amishi Jha explores the science of attention and how it impacts our performance in many ways. She also shares how to address what she calls an “addiction to thinking” and developing “mental armor” to stand up to anxiety, distraction, and bias so you can be more present and productive.

3. Drawing from extensive research on mindfulness, she offers a training program to help you tame your wandering mind. Rather than treating mindfulness like an optional feel-good tool, she stresses the value of teaching your brain to pay attention differently so you can unlock your full potential. 

Did you make some New Year’s resolutions last year? Which ones did you complete? What resolutions do you have for this year?

Stop Multitasking 

4. You’ve probably heard this one before, but multitasking has been shown to actually hinder productivity by splitting our attention between a number of things. “There is a very real pressure to meet the challenges that are before us in our professional and personal lives,” explains Dr. Jha. “These are often called ‘challenge stressors,” which are in and of themselves not wholly good or bad, or even particularly difficult if done without time pressure.

5. Yet, a reality of modern work life is that most professionals are required to complete a variety of tasks in a time-pressured manner and to accomplish these tasks with creativity and conscientiousness. Add to this the non-work stressors that are also very real—personal demands we feel to maintain an active social life, staying connected with our friends, family, and causes that are meaningful to us.

6. All of this motivates us to meet the demands before us, and rise to the challenge, so to speak. But they also drive our feeling of overwhelm and push us to figure out ways to get it all done.” Dr. Jha encourages monotasking. “The reality is that the attention system does not and cannot not engage in multiple attentionally demanding activities at once. 

Do you sometimes multitask? If so, can you multitask well? What activities require your full attention?

7. Think of it this way— we only have 1 flashlight, not many. What we end up doing is task switching and the switching back and forth leads to attentional fatigue, which makes us exhausted and more error prone.” Instead, make it a goal to shine that flashlight on one thing at a time if you really want to work efficiently.

8. Feeling nervous about whether you’ll be able to get the essentials done? Dr. Jha recommends, “Pay attention to the quality of the work and experience of well-being after a heavy interval of multi-tasking, versus monotasking. My hunch, based on many research studies, is that the number of attentional lapses and errors will increase (which means you will have to redo tasks if possible or suffer the consequences of errors when corrections are not possible) and the sense of well-being will decrease under multi-tasking versus monotasking.

Do you regularly revise the work you do? Is it easy for you to focus on one task?When you feel overwhelmed what do you do to be able to focus?

Phonetic Chart

Phonemic Chart - click to see or print full size