Maintaining Sanity in Tumultuous Times - Politicrossing
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Maintaining Sanity in Tumultuous Times

In times of tumult, it’s easy to get caught up on a variety of unfavorable issues making the news

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In times of tumult, it’s easy to get caught up on a variety of unfavorable issues making the news. However, this is an ill-advised practice.

It doesn’t matter on what side of the political spectrum you fall, these days, you can quickly open a newspaper, surf the web, flip on the TV, or tap your smartphone and find news items from around the world that are not to your liking. If this happens to you once a day, consider yourself lucky. For most people, it happens multiple times a day.

In the face of stirring change, remember: All we can do is all we can do. Become the master of your own domain and that will be fine. Open up your intellectual kimono to every other issue that comes your way, and you’ll soon feel frustrated and defeated.

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Equanimity Matters

Here are four tips that trainers you can put into place now to maintain some semblance of equanimity throughout the course of the day, week, month, year and your career, despite what news comes down the pike.

1.  Pick a handful of issues that you choose to follow and/or support. You can’t be on top of everything or offer your heart out in all directions. Narrow the field to what really matters to you and then give yourself permission to dive deeply into those issues.

2.  Don’t waste any time sparring online with others or trying to convince anybody else of your viewpoint when it’s clear that they’ve already dug in their heels. It’s fine for people to arrive at consensus, but it’s a mutual process. If one party is too invested in achieving a particular outcome, when the other is not, nothing much is going to happen.

3.  Give yourself a recurring rest from current events. That in turn helps to alleviate some of your stress and anxiety. You’ve likely got decades to go in this life. You don’t want to dissipate too much more of your time on issues upon which you can do nothing. Pick your spots, stay true to your interests, and recognize that it will be all right.

…You can take time away from the information maelstrom. There is no cosmic scoreboard in the sky detailing whether or not you’ve kept pace hour by hour or day by day. You deserve a break today. Give yourself a little bit of time without tuning in.

4.  Recognize that breaking news, as well as fads and what is currently trending, goes by the wayside quickly. Rather than get caught up in the minutia of popular culture, focus on long-term trends:

* Where is humanity heading?
* What will the health be of the typical adult in five years?
* What major milestones will be reached within five years?

The Long Game

By focusing on the long-term, rather than fads or current events, you give yourself the opportunity to consider events in the world from a better vantage point.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

Less Stress, Starting Now

As technological wonders increasingly dominate our lives, it becomes harder to concentrate

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The news each day is bad enough. As the Internet, mobile devices, and many other technological wonders increasingly dominate our lives, it becomes harder to concentrate on any single idea, item, or issue.

Understandably, people everywhere find themselves being besieged by competing demands for their time and attention, practically commanding them to practice multitasking. “Answer the phone.” “Click here.” “Push here.” “Open me.” “Complete our survey.” “Switch me on.” “Do it all at once!”

Equally unfortunate, multitasking is often promoted as a way for us to meet the complex demands of modern society — and accomplish more in the same amount of time. Have you ever attempted to work on two things at once? You don’t accomplish much, and time mysteriously disappears.

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Juggling Tasks is not Pretty

If your like most people, you often find yourself perpetually attempting to do many things at once: continue reviewing a client’s records, handle email, be ready for an important phone call, etc. Yet, attempting to do many things simultaneously can actually have the opposite effect; it makes you less efficient and contributes to stress.

No matter what analogies or metaphors you might have heard, a human being is not a computer. Computers can multitask with ease; the Windows operating system, for example, is capable of running any number of programs without sacrificing accuracy or peace of mind.

While there are some low level tasks here and there in which you can multitask, such as eating and watching television, for you and me, multitasking is an idea whose time should never have come.

Potentially Dangerous

The primary cost of multitasking is, ironically, exactly what you are often desperate to save: time. Multitasking is not only ineffective, it’s also potentially dangerous. On the highway, concentrating on a phone call inevitably detracts from a driver’s ability to focus on the road, putting them at dire risk of injury.

Several studies have found that cell phone use while driving leads to an increased risk of automobile accidents.

Back in the office, how can handle your daily tasks without becoming so stressed or frustrated that you cannot finish any of them? The short answer: less is more. Science has shown that your brain works best when it gives sharp attention in one direction. There is no greater efficiency than focusing on the task at hand and giving it your full concentration.

When an airline flight is canceled and people rush to the reservation desk and scramble to catch the next plane or some other connection, does the gate agent attempt to take on five or 10 people at a time? No.

He or she looks at the computer and handles a particular customer’s rerouting, looking up only sparingly. The attendant is not fazed by a 20-person line because it is practical to proceed through it one customer at a time.

Seek Completions

Suppose you are continually interrupted by the phone whenever you try to work at your PC. You cannot do your best work because when the phone rings you lose your concentration and focus. How can you handle that situation so that both jobs get the best of your attention? The key is a process called “mental completion.”

When the phone rings while you are working on your computer, silently recognize yourself by thinking, “I acknowledge myself for coming this far on this project.” Then save the work on your screen and turn to the phone.

Give the caller your complete and undivided attention; take notes, even smile into the phone. Do whatever you need to do in order to be successful on that phone call. At the end of the call, put the phone down, acknowledge yourself for handling it, and turn back to your earlier task.

The process of giving yourself a mental completion on all tasks, or even thoughts, sets up a mental partition. You gain more energy, more focus, and more direction for your next task. Both your productivity and your peace of mind will improve. And that is worth experiencing.

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Business

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

Throughout their lives, great minds ask confounding questions with child-like intensity

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Author Michael J. Gelb wrote a wonderful book titled How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, which contains many insights.

“Leonardo da Vinci lived to age 67 and during his life pioneered the sciences of botany, anatomy, and geology. He drew up plans for a flying machine, parachute, and helicopter, and he invented the telescoping ladder that’s still used by firefighters today. He also painted The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.” Here is what Gelb said about da Vinci and the topic of creativity:

[ ] Ask Questions. Throughout their lives, great minds ask confounding questions with child-like intensity. For instance, “How do birds fly?” “What makes the sky blue?” The answers can lead to discovery.

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[ ] Carry a notebook at all times so you won’t forget your brilliant ideas. By the way, da Vinci’s wrote many of his notes backward. Some people think it was because he was protecting his ideas from being stolen.

[ ] Challenge your long-standing opinions. You might have formed many of your views during or immediately after important childhood events. Ask yourself whether those conclusions still make sense.

[ ] Use your eyes and ears. Focus on the various parts of an object or scene, not just on the whole. This can help expand your perception. Instead of simply looking at a mountain, notice the rock formations and trees.

[ ] Try to write with your non-dominant hand. Taxing the opposite side of your brain can help you to think in a different way. And some people will think you went to medical school!

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