from the world's big
Knowing this fact about your brain can increase your productivity — significantly
World class athletes, musicians, and chess masters use a similar technique.
Want to be more productive? Most jobs nowadays require us to focus for long periods of time. The trouble is, we think our ability to concentrate is unlimited. Truth be told, the human mind wasn't meant to be hyper-focused for terribly long periods of time. So how can we hack our brain to squeeze out the most concentration out of it? Research by the Draugiem Group—a US-Latvian IT company, proves useful.
Their study finds that the brain can focus for only about 52 minutes at a clip. That means if you work at a task that requires a high level of concentration for 52 minutes, a break is necessary in order for you to continue to give it your best effort. Best case scenario, your break should be taken away from the computer. You can take a little walk, chitchat with a coworker—about something other than work, or do a little stretching or some light exercise. Scrolling through social media or checking your inbox doesn't count. The brain doesn't consider these a legitimate break.
Many see long hours in extended stretches of concentration as the hallmark of a good worker. But that may only be putting on airs, done in an effort to portray a dedication that cannot be denied. This investment of energy in optics dulls productivity in the long run. Trying to push through instead of taking strategic breaks makes you less productive, a body of research claims. Master chess players, professional musicians, and world class athletes all know the power of using breaks effectively.
Emotional intelligence proponent and psychologist Daniel Goldman uses this example:
The Iditarod dog sled race covers 1,100 miles of Arctic ice and takes more than a week. The standard strategy for mushers had been to run twelve hours at a stretch, then rest for twelve. That all changed because of Susan Butcher, a veterinarian's assistant keenly aware of the biological limits of her dogs. She trained them to run in four-to-six hour spurts, and then rest for the same length of time, racing at that rhythm both night and day. She and her dogs won the race four times.
Your brain doesn't consider social media time a legitimate break because you're still reading and processing information and staring at a screen. Credit: Getty Images.
Many other studies back up the strategic break hypothesis. A 1999 Cornell University study for instance, found that when workers were reminded to take breaks periodically, they were actually 13% more accurate in their tasks. In fact, some countries are stepping in legislatively. South Korea, which has some of the most hours worked in the world, ironically has a low productivity rate. As a result, the government recently instituted a country-wide 52 hour work week, down from 68.
So how did the Draugiem Group come to land on 52 minutes? Researchers recorded worker productivity through employee computers, using an app called DeskTime. They found that the top 10% most productive workers followed a specific pattern. When they were on, they were hyper-focused for 52 minutes. Then, they took a 17 minute break, where they stepped completely away from such tasks.
Researchers say this is similar to the Pomodoro method, which is where you choose a task to engage in, one and only one (no multitasking). After setting a timer for 25 minutes, you work on the task until the alarm goes off and then take a five minute break. After four consecutive periods like this, you take a 15 minute break.
Some light exercise or interacting with coworkers can help increase your productivity. Credit: Getty Images.
Consider that when you aren't doing anything, even just staring off into space, your brain is still at work, conducting operations that can help you. When we aren't focusing our mind, a certain neural circuit called the default mode network (DMN) kicks into gear. You think you're doing nothing, while in actuality, this neural circuit takes up 20% of the body's total energy.
Once engaged, the DMN works to connect the past, present, and future in unique ways, retrieves old memories and data, and even injects some self-awareness into your fuzzy state. As a result, sometimes when we're unfocused, a “Eureka!" moment or a burst of creative creativity can strike. Some experts even suggest trying to purposely enter this state.
One technique is called positive constructive daydreaming (PCD). This is when one engages in a low-level activity, such as light reading, staring out the window, or crocheting, and while doing so, enters the daydreaming state. It's thought that here, one can more easily conjure up important memories or come up with novel solutions to problems.
If you want to take advantage of this strategy, put together to-do lists, and tackle one important task after another, each in 52 minute chunks, or for more long-term assignments, over a series of them. Set a timer, and adhere to 52 minutes on, 17 minutes off. Save your social media time for your lunch or a coffee break. For those who want to try and do such a schedule organically, simply take a break when you feel your energy waning and dive back in around 15 minutes later.
To learn more about using science to boost productivity, click here.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.