Understanding the psychology of distraction can help you stay on task

Could your urge to check emails — instead of finishing that major project — be a response to an uncomfortable emotional state?

  • It's easy to stumble down a rabbit hole when we consider the action beneficial like checking emails, stock prices, or sports scores.
  • However, if these seemingly beneficial actions take the place of something else we intended to do, they're just distractions. And we've been moved to these distraction as a psychological response to discomfort.
  • The truth is that distraction comes from within, and time management is just another form of pain management.
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How to vastly improve your problem-solving workshops

To reach a breakthrough solution to any problem, it's necessary to first understand the underlying causes.

  • Companies often jump right into workshopping solutions to a problem before they truly understand the underlying source and "pain points" of the issue.
  • Deliberate Innovation CEO, Dan Seewald, advises companies to visualize and map out those unmet needs in order to discover a new path to a fresh solution. Only then should you move onto brainstorming and ideation techniques.
  • These important steps allow for more meaningful experimentation, as well as greater opportunity for learning and breakthroughs.
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How Pete Holmes creates comedic flow: Try micro-visualization

Setting a simple intention and coming prepared can help you — and those around you — win big.

  • Setting an intention doesn't have to be complicated, and it can make a great difference when you're hoping for a specific outcome.
  • When comedian Pete Holmes is preparing to record an episode of his podcast, "You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes," he takes 15 seconds to check in with himself. This way, he's primed with his own material and can help guests feel safe and comfortable to share theirs, as well.
  • Taking time to visualize your goal for whatever you've set out to do can help you, your colleagues, and your projects succeed.
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Sleep hacking: How to control your mitochondrial clocks

Light controls your body clock. Hack it to get better sleep.

  • You can go a month without food, or three or four days without water, but try to go three or four days without sleep. "It's at least as important as water. But you don't see people going on water diets very often, but you do see people who just don't get enough sleep all the time," says Dave Asprey
  • Quality sleep is foundational to good health, helping to ward off diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's. It's also a key strategy for anti-aging.
  • Dave Asprey shares what he's learned about sleep hacking: Don't eat after the sun goes down, turn the lights down as much as you can after the sun goes down, and black out your room – you'll need more than regular black-out curtains. Watch the video to find out why.
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Why it’s so hard to stop obsessing about things — and what to do about it

Try not to think about your hands. Now enjoy a few minutes of not being able to stop thinking about them.

Image source: TheVisualsYouNeed/Shutterstock
  • The "white bear problem" describes that situation in which we can't stop thinking about something no matter how hard we try.
  • Your mental process at such times pits two parts of your brain against each other.
  • Research support a few ways to exit this maddening hamster wheel.
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