Friday, March 25, 2016

Eight productivity myths busted

No one ever said, "I'd like to be less productive." In today's world of hyper-connectivity, we're expected to always be 'on' because everyone else is. And sometimes it burns us out. Here are the things we think we should be doing in order to be more productive, but actually don't need to do. You're about to become more productive, without even trying, by busting these productivity myths.

Keep to-do lists

A long to-do list means we've got a lot to do, it doesn't mean we do a lot. Unconsciously it changes from a to-do list into a "what you haven't done list" and creates more stress and anxiety. A 'done list', on the other hand, is a list of things you have achieved. It creates positive associations and new connections in your brain, making you feel better about yourself.

Idea meetings

The first rule of having good ideas: Don't try to have good ideas. When there's pressure to think of a "great" idea, you start judging them before you've even written anything down. Whatever you're working on, try giving yourself 10 minutes to come up with 10 ideas on the subject. What's important is not to worry if these ideas are any good or not. Your only goal is to think of 10 ideas.

Get enough sleep

If you've got a creative problem to solve, you're at your best when you're not at your best. If you're tired, your brain is not so good at focusing on tasks or filtering out distractions. Your mind will wander more and therefore you'll be far more likely to create new connections and come up with unexpected ideas. Try setting your alarm half an hour before you have to get up. Being half asleep can encourage your mind to wander and let your unconscious thoughts bubble up.

Be a good listener

When you have a problem you've been stuck on for a while, you don't need to hear what other people think; you need to talk to a rubber duck. By stating the problem out loud, your brain mentally organises all the information, simplifies the problem and engages more areas of the brain. And unlike a person, the duck won't interrupt, yawn or say, he's too busy to deal with this right now.

Focus on success

Rather than imagining that a project you're working on is going to be a success, try imagining that it's going to be a complete failure. That's the idea behind the pre-mortem managerial strategy — it actively encourages you to be as negative as you can, so that you can identify threats to your success as soon as possible. That way you can be prepared for any possibility.

Ditch the screens

To be really productive, what you do in your break is just as important as what you do whilst you're working. Once you've stretched your legs and got yourself a coffee, the last thing you should do is sit down at your desk and check up on what's happening in the news. What you should be doing is watching videos of grumpy cats or whatever makes you laugh. A positive mood increases our cognitive flexibility.


There seems to be a current trend for de-cluttering. But if you want to solve problems, messy is the way to go. Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Alexander Fleming, Mark Zuckerberg and Alan Turing all have or had messy desks. Our brains are impressionable, so the subconscious cues of disorder in a messy room can make the way we think "messy". This disorderly thinking is an ideal state to be in when trying to come up with innovative and unexpected ideas.

Be sincere

Far from being the lowest form of wit, sarcasm actually engages more of the brain. Telling someone "Don't work too hard" when they are clearly resting, puts the receiver's brain into abstract thinking mode, which increases creativity. Research has shown that in fact, both being sarcastic and being at the receiving end, more than doubled participants abilities to solve problems creatively.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Vegans may lack vital nutrient intake, says study

Vegans need to guard against neurological disorders, anemia, reduced bone strength and other health concerns as their diet may lack vital nutrient intake, a new study has warned.

The US study points out that some vegans rely heavily on processed foods and may not eat a sufficient variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The findings showed that a whole food, plant-based diet is commendable and a well-planned vegan diet can be adequate to achieve proper nutrition, but requires some education.

Researchers recommend that healthcare providers monitor vegan patients for adequate blood levels of vitamin B-12, iron, ferritin, calcium and vitamin D.

"We found that some of these nutrients, which can have implications in neurologic disorders, anemia, bone strength and other health concerns, can be deficient in poorly planned vegan diets," said Heather Fields from Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Vegans consume strict plant-based diet that excludes all animal-derived foods.

Contrary to popular belief, "Vegans have not been shown to be deficient in protein intake or in any specific amino acids," Fields said in a paper published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

A retrospective review by Mayo Clinic physicians indicated that vegans should ensure adequate intake of a few nutrients.

With the growing popularity of plant-based diets, the researchers compiled a review to monitor and advise vegans to ensure proper nutritional intake. Nutrients of concern are vitamin B-12, iron, calcium, vitamin D, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Environment behind 1/4th of global deaths

While the Flint crisis may be an egregious example of cruelty and neglect, the damaging consequences of a broken environment are all around us, a new tally by the World Health Organization shows. Nearly a quarter of all Nearly a quarter of all deaths worldwide are caused by environmental risks like polluted air, dirty water, hazardous workplaces and dangerous roads, according to the WHO report.

The global health authority estimates that 12.6 million deaths in 2012, or about 23% of the total, were attributable to such factors. The burden is greatest on the poor and the youngest. Mortality from environmental risks is highest in sub-Saharan Africa and low and middle-income countries in Asia.

The risks disproportionately affect children "because of their innate vulnerability," said Frederica Perera, director of Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health.

The WHO report-which doesn't count risks such as smoking and diet-focuses on environmental risks that are the product of the societal decisions that shape the world we live in. "Some of these are well known, such as unsafe drinking water and sanitation," the report says.

To get to those numbers, the WHO examined studies on risks for more than 100 types of diseases and injuries.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Five practical ways to encounter failure in life

In business, as in life, we are often taken aback by unexpected events. Sometimes these events are beneficial and help us achieve our goals. However, more often than not, we face challenges that have the potential to permanently derail us from making our dreams come true. A setback can take any form and come at any time. But it's how you tackle it that will set you apart from the others.

No matter what the setback, there is one thing that you can control at all times: your reaction. If you are having a bad day at the office, there is no need to be a sourpuss and make life miserable for everyone around you. Carry on as if all were well.

Failure is never permanent

For most people, especially ambitious and competitive ones, setbacks are not always easy to swallow. By our very nature, we do not like to fail. The first time you rode a bike, you probably fell off after five seconds. Did you just quit and go back to sucking your thumb? Of course not. You got back on that thing and tried until you could ride it around the block.

Do you still handle failure in the same gung-ho manner today? Suppose you were up for a promotion and did not get it. Would you have a big chip on your shoulder and start slacking off on the job? If so, that may be why the boss picked the other guy. The first thing you need to keep in mind if you fail at something is that failure is nothing more than a temporary setback. If you see failure in this light, you will come to realize that it is not so bad.

It's a new day tom

Here's another great way to quickly get back on track. Always keep in mind that to is a new day. If we have a rough day and fail at something, it isn't easy to keep our game face on and keep working. However, what separates the successful from everyone else is that they take their medicine, absorb the pain for that one day, and then come back re-energized the next day.

Don't dwell on the past

Successful people are able to rise above the fray because they focus on the task at hand and on how they can improve themselves. They learn from their past mistakes. What's done is done and cannot be changed. Successful people know this and don't waste time or energy beating a dead horse.

Clear mind, clean execution

If you miss the winning shot one day, you must come to terms with it quickly and move on. If you do this, you'll have a clear mind and will perform better. If you want to hit a home run, you must go to bat with the same mindset you had the last time you hit a home run.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Beware: Overconfidence leads to bad decision-making

Being confident is one thing and being overconfident quite another. Researchers have found that those who think intelligence is fixed and unchangeable tend to be more overconfident.

"Such people tend to maintain their overconfidence by concentrating on the easy parts of tasks while spending as little time as possible on the hard parts of tasks," said Joyce Ehrlinger from Washington State University in the US.

"A little bit of overconfidence can be helpful, but larger amounts of overconfidence can lead people to make bad decisions and to miss out on opportunities to learn," Ehrlinger added in the paper to be published in March in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

But people who hold a growth mindset -- meaning they think intelligence is a changeable quality -- spend more time on the challenging parts of tasks, Consequently, their levels of confidence are more in line with their abilities.

The researchers note that overconfidence is a documented problem for drivers, motorcyclists, bungee jumpers, doctors and lawyers.

According to the first of three studies, the researchers found that students who hold a fixed mindset about intelligence were more overconfident about their performance on a multiple-choice test than those with a growth mindset. The second study found that students with fixed mindsets devoted less attention to difficult problems and, consequently, displayed more overconfidence than those with growth mindsets.

Further evidence for this conclusion came from a third study, which showed that forcing fixed theorists to really look at the difficult as well as the easy parts of an intellectual task shook their confidence, inspiring more accurate impressions of their performance.

"We know that students' beliefs about intelligence are very consequential in the classroom and that interventions teach students a growth mindset lead to improvements in their grades," Ehrlinger said. "We also know that being overconfident keeps people from learning. You have to understand and acknowledge what you don't yet know in order to truly learn," Ehrlinger explained.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Five ways to bring positive energy into your home

Good energy plays a key role in bringing in positivity in your home. Try using sea salt, which helps in purifying the house and never keep any kind of heavy furniture in the center of your house as it blocks off all the positive energy entering your house, says an expert.

Here are few tips to put away all the negativity from your home.

Sea salt
This is a very commonly applied and tested formula to put away all the negativity from the house. It will purify your home and create a lot of fresh space. Sea salt can be used as it is or can be mixed with water and can be placed in different areas of your house. Make sure it is placed in North-east or South-west directions.

Remove all the mess
All of us have the habit of piling up old stuff in drawers and bed boxes without realizing that we are actually trapping all the negative energies BSE -2.82 % inside the house. Throw away all that you don't need anymore, be it old dirty clothes or old newspapers and magazines. Also, make your bed in the morning before you leave your house.

Reschedule your furniture every now and then
Never keep any kind of heavy furniture in the center of your house as it blocks off all the positive energy. Try keeping plants inside your house as it adds color, life and bring in positive vibes .

Avoid overcrowded walkways
Place small little things on the walkways, according to the area and space. Avoid large paintings or frames on that way.

Meditating once or twice a day in your living space will bring in positive vibes to your house.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen When You Drink Coffee Every Day

For most, coffee is a much-needed morning ritual. Its caffeine boost jolts the senses and the brain, jump-starting the day in the right direction. Not only is coffee a popular morning beverage, it’s also a frequent go-to choice for many people, no matter the time of the day. Coffee has only increased in popularity with the many Starbucks stores and local coffee shops opening around the country.

In addition to giving bursts of energy, coffee also provides a variety of health benefits, especially for everyday drinkers. The following things that will happen when you drink coffee every day.
1. You’ll improve your workout performance
No need for workout supplements when you drink a cup of coffee before your workout! You’ll organically receive a boost from the caffeine, which increases the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream, allowing your muscles to absorb and burn those fats as fuel. Your body will automatically save its small reserve of carbohydrates for later, extending and enhancing your workout performance.
2. You’ll reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
According to a study from The American Chemical Society, those who drink 4 plus cups of coffee a day reduce their chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 50 percent. Furthermore, the reduction increases 7 percent with each additional cup after that.
3. You’ll increase the production of brain neurotransmitters
Coffee stimulates the production of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, which help regulate mood and cognitive function in the brain. The increased stimulation of neurotransmitters are also the proposed reason as to why drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee can reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by half.
4. You’ll be less likely to develop skin cancer
While there is no sure way to protect against skin cancer or any other forms of cancer, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Center and Harvard University found that women who drink 3 plus cups of coffee per day are less likely to develop skin cancer than women who don’t drink coffee at all.
5. You’ll make smarter, more efficient decisions
Coffee will not only perk you up, it’ll also sharpen your brain allowing you to make more intelligent and more efficient decisions. So go ahead and take that 3 PM coffee break, your boss will love your afternoon productivity.
In addition to helping you with better decision-making skills, coffee also helps the brain stay healthy. Studies at the University of South Florida and University of Miami found that daily consumption of coffee reduced the risk of and/or delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s.
6. You’ll be less stressed… just by the smell alone
Stressed because you didn’t get enough sleep last night? Or the night before that? Breathing in the smell of fresh coffee beans in the morning could help you de-stress, according to researchers at the Seoul National University. Try keeping some ground roast coffee next to your bed to help you wake up relaxed and ready to take on the day.
7. You’ll feel happier :)
And not just because of the so-called “caffeine-high.” Studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers are 10 percent less likely to be depressed than those who never drink coffee. Coffee also makes you feel good because it is full of antioxidants. The body is able to absorb more antioxidants from coffee than other fruits and vegetables, allowing the body to stay healthy and fight off diseases.
You should feel happier and healthier knowing that coffee is positively affecting your body, mind, and lifestyle. So whether you like your java with milk and sugar or just plain black, keep the coffee pot brewin’ all day long so you can reap the benefits for years and years to come.