Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Science

How to be Productive: Turn up the Volume!

As I wrote this week, audio is becoming a popular way to learn new things.

But sound also helps as a working tool, not in the forefront but in the background. Like these:

  • Soccer games on TV make great background noise. It’s commercial free and the announcers raise their voice when a play is worthy of looking.
  • Music makes good background noise. If you’re writing or coding, they say that listening to the same song on repeat helps build flow.
  • The noise in coffee shops has always been a favorite place for people to work. It turns out that the coffee shop makes just the right type of ambient noise conducive to studying and creativity.

Noise is only intrusive when you can’t tune it out. It’s the silence that’s boring and distracting.

Categories
Science Tech

Our brains have limited storage

Our brain capacity is limited. Our ability to digest new information dwindles with each piece of new information we take in.  

That’s why people are taking deliberate breaks away from the Internet. The only way to fight feed-based culture is to turn it off completely, whether that’s through a 5-minute meditation or more intensively, through a 5-day digital retreat.  

This may sound obvious but the fundamental way to reset the brain is to sleep more.  

Our brain works like a dishwasher draining unnecessary filler when we sleep. If we’re stoic enough, we can also choose to sit there and do nothing.  

‘Always on’ is a recipe for a clouded, confused brain that confuses multitasking with hard work. At the same time, the Internet is the most amazing invention since the railroad.

At the end of the day, maybe we should all just daydream more and create our own memorable fantasies. 

Categories
Quotes Science

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

via giphy

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Selected Essays 
Categories
Life & Philosophy Science

What is the most beautiful number, and why?

108 represents the ultimate reality of the universe as being (seemingly paradoxically) simultaneously One, emptiness, and infinite.

What about number 3?

Categories
Creativity Science

A visit to NYC’s International Flavors & Fragrances

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of participating in a fragrance tutorial at International Flavors & Fragrances in NYC. One of the most important tips about smelling fragrances is to move the test strip back and forth under your nose. Our teacher taught us that our nostrils alternate between open and closed so the only way to capture the true smell is to waft from both sides. The second lesson in fragrance testing

One of the most important tips about smelling fragrances is to move the test strip back and forth under your nose. Our teacher taught us that our nostrils alternate between open and closed so the only way to capture the true smell is to waft from both sides. The second lesson in fragrance testing is to use our right brain. The right brain is responsible for emotions and gets highly activated when we smell.

Our instructor never told us the ingredients to the fragrances. Instead, we smelled the fragrances with our eyes closed and announced the colors we saw. It’s magical how our brains always associate the unknown with an image. Our brains crave certainty. Sometimes I smelled light green, Vietnam, and saw castles and mountains; other times I smelled black licorice. When one sense promotes another it’s called synesthesia. This is how blind people can paint. Music too conjures up images in our head.

When one sense promotes another it’s called synesthesia. This is how blind people can paint. Music too conjures up images in our head. A fragrance is our dreams, not words. The ingredients, nodes, distort the pure magic of the emotional experience in smelling fragrances. Smell is too easily commoditized. Our teacher passionately vouched for a return to the dreamy quality of fragrance. Colors mean something but words used primarily for marketing purposes distort what fragrance is for in the first place. The essence of a fragrance is in the emotion.

Categories
Health Science

“The chair-based lifestyle”

Humans are not made to be sedentary. We are born to walk, run, and hunt. Our bones serve to help our survival.

But we sit all day long. It starts in Elementary school and lasts the rest of our lives, through work and into retirement.

Excessive sitting is a lethal activity.

James Levine

Sitting kills you. If you don’t move often, you’ll get fat, sleepy, a bad heart, and you’ll be underproductive.

If you’re not a runner, then just walk. 15 minutes of movement or 2,000 steps prevent you from gaining weight.  If you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to run and eat right.

Exercise combined with a healthy diet keep both body and mind fit.  But don’t forget to take breaks and walk about—Go here and know some good meal plans too. Thanks to Steve Jobs, an avid walker, you can answer emails and social network on your phone.  You may even want to consider standing while working.  My mom does this and remains hyperactive all day, enough to come home and take care of three hungry boys.

My favorite part about walking are the meditative, creative, and discovery benefits.  When we’re more relaxed, our perspective is deeper.  We’re more open to life’s possibilities.

In short, move.  Move more often than you think.  Your life and productivity depend on it.