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THE NECESSITY OF NATURE

Getting into nature allows the pre-frontal cortex, the brain’s command center, to dial down and rest, like an overworked muscle. National Geographic 01.16

Time in nature can improve our creativity by up to 50% and affects higher order problem solving. National Geographic 01.16

If you can experience being in the moment for two or three days, it seems to produce a difference in qualitative thinking…The ‘three day effect’ he says, is a kind cleaning of the mental windshield that occurs when we’ve been immersed in nature long enough. National Geographic 01.16
 

CULTURE & TEAMS

A Gallup poll showed that employees prefer workplace wellbeing above and beyond anything else--even material benefits like flextime and work-from home opportunities. Wellbeing comes from one place, and one place only — a positive culture. Emma Seppala, in Harvard Business Review, 12.15

Decades of research demonstrates the importance of organizational culture, yet most of it has focused on the cognitive component. Emotional culture is shaped by how all employees - from the highest echelons to the front lines - comport themselves day in and day out...Emotions influence employees' commitment, creativity, decision-making, work quality, and likelihood of sticking around. … Emotional culture influences employee satisfaction, burnout, teamwork and even hard measures such as financial performance and absenteeism… It's up to senior leaders to establish which emotions will help the organization thrive, model those emotions and reward others for doing the same. HBR, 01.16

 

ADDICTION, STRESS & BURNOUT

The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention. We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive. Nicholas Carr “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” 

"Addiction is the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life. By that definition, nearly everyone I know is addicted in some measure to the Internet. It has arguably replaced work itself as our most socially sanctioned addiction.

Endless access to new information also easily overloads our working memory. When we reach cognitive overload, our ability to transfer learning to long-term memory significantly deteriorates. It’s as if our brain has become a full cup of water and anything more poured into it starts to spill out.

To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction." Deep Work, by Cal Newport

In her new book "The Happiness Track," Emma Seppala debunks one of the biggest myths among Western workers: the idea that you have to be insanely stressed to be successful. Seppala points to a solid body of research that suggests just the opposite. Chronic stress can hurt professional performance by depleting the cognitive skills necessary to do great work.  Business Insider, 01.16



other great reads

Positive Teams Are More Productive

Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive

Authentic Workplaces Don't Try to Make Everyone The Same

Addicted to Distraction

The Value of Unplugging

Five Keys to A Successful Team: Google

Lessons on Employee Engagement from IDEO