Is our world today, with the enormous amount of information at our fingertips and the pressure to constantly be multi-tasking harming our ability to focus and get things done in the most efficient and effective manner? In a recent Success Talks Podcast, the Father of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, explains that he believes it is and he suggests a technique to counteract these negative effects.
Goleman references some interesting research out of Stanford that shows multi-tasking does seem to damage our ability to focus. This study found that the more someone multi-tasks the less concentrated they are on the thing they were originally working on. When they go back to that original task their concentration takes awhile to build up to the level it was before the multi-tasking began.
He then speaks about new research that shows there is an easy way to overcome that negative effect and it is by taking a few minutes to build your concentration. He states, “The mind is like a muscle. You can exercise a muscle the same way you lift weights in the gym, and the basic move in that exercise is focusing on something, watching your mind wander off and bringing it back. It's called Mindfulness. You can use your breath as an anchor.”
The research he referenced said a break of just 10 minutes overcomes the lack of concentration effect you get from multitasking. This technique actually changes the circuitry in the brain making it easier for you to bring your mind back to the original task.
One other item of note during the podcast was Goleman’s answer when he was asked what book he read that has influenced his life the most. His answer, The Power of Mindfulness. This is a book he read many years ago and he has been practicing the technique almost his whole life.
The full podcast is available at the link below.
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