Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Focus is important to productivity. But it’s daydreaming that makes us happy

Anne says: Last week I wrote about innovation and serendipity – this week’s article is connected, again, to how we work and challenges some of our accepted approaches to productivity. Stay focused now… well, actually, that’s what we’ve been told to do. Stay on the task, stay focused to be productive – but – there’s now research to challenge that assumption. There’s evidence that allowing your mind to wander can make us more creative and happier.

However – there is a right and wrong to mind wandering. And a couple of warnings.
Rumination over past events is not useful, it can make you depressed and distracted and less productive.
And, there are times when allowing your mind to wander is just dangerous, such as operating machinery or performing surgery.

The research indicates that mind-wandering needs to be “free-moving”, like daydreaming about future events that you’re looking forward to, or imagining that you’re going to do. The study has explored the different ways the brain reacts during mind-wandering and the positive effects that can lead to more creativity. We’re reminded of the lightbulb, aha moments when we’ve been attempting to solve a problem, get distracted or allowed our mind to wander away from the problem and suddenly the solution appears.

“…the link between mind-wandering and creativity has three components: how freely moving your thoughts are, the content of your thoughts and your ability to be removed from everyday concerns…”

The research into the use of mind-wandering is exploring different ways it could be used, including improved performance on tasks, increased creativity and managing depression.

Perhaps right now, while levels of anxiety and lockdowns are consuming our lives, it may be a good time to try to let your mind wander to more pleasant things. Try envisioning different scenarios, try guided meditation, listen to music and allow your thoughts to drift away from current tasks and contexts. Take a walk through gardens, even sitting in the garden, and listen to identify different sounds like specific birds, insects, the direction of the breeze – once your mind is distracted, let it just wander. Then return to your task and notice if you feel better, more focused. Find the most effective method for you, practice it, refine it and enjoy it!

Happy daydreaming!

Read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/08/02/daydream-mind-wander-happiness/

How to make stress your friend

Jakkii says: Stress is tough. It’s not a good feeling, it can make things feel and seem harder than they might be, and it can be overwhelming. It also has – or can have – negative impacts on our health. And worse, we can’t necessarily avoid stress, whether from work, from family, or from other aspects of our lives.

But, fortunately, stress doesn’t necessarily have to be terrible, either. Some stress can be motivating, a good reminder that we care, an indicator of where we need help or support, or even an indicator of gaps in our knowledge or experience we could benefit from working toward filling.

This TED Talk is a good, fairly brief (12 minutes) look at just that – reframing stress, when we can, into something more positive than negative, and maybe avoid those negative effects on our health after all.

…the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable. How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.

Give it a watch and let me know what you think – can stress be your friend?

Watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en

At home

Jakkii says: Well, as I write, half of Australia – population-wise at least – is back in lockdown. Hopefully, everyone’s staying safe and sane – and, whenever possible, staying home! Here’s a few ways to keep yourself occupied this week while you’re cooped up at home.

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace

Remote work and the digital workplace

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

Big Tech, tech and regulation

Social media

Extras

This is interesting: Iceland is the tip of a vast lost continent beneath the ocean’s surface, scientists propose

Things that make you go hmmm: Who owns my name?

Space: Scientists just ‘looked’ inside Mars. Here’s what they found

Podcast: Why your business strategy should be a learning strategy

Friday playlist: This week, take a trip to Sweden with this Swedish hits playlist


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