Work Balance

LIFE WORK BALANCE

Ideas worth sharing about health, life and work balance. Learning to be more productive and full of energy. 



Letting creativity reign in the workplace is key to establishing an engaged and innovative workforce. The introduction of new ideas and new ways of doing things maximizes workers' well-being and encourages them to do their best for their company.


A job is a big part of people's lives and it should be fulfilling. Enabling workers to be creative helps create better-rounded people and new opportunities for business growth and innovation.


Creativity at work builds a foundation for greater business triumphs. Some of the greatest companies today are also well-renowned creative powerhouses. There isn't a single company in existence that wouldn't want to emulate their success.


We at Mood Food Organic Catering would like to share the following actionable tips for employers and employees to get the creative gears flowing.


1. Foster a diverse and inclusive environment

Every company starts with a great team, where personal connections are developed through a fun loving and collaborative environment. Everyone should be drawn together in the common pursuit of their company's goal. Breaking down company silos is of the utmost importance in the pursuit of this goal.


Writers should mingle with programmers, managers should spend some time chatting with the workers servicing the clients on the ground floor. A pollination of cross-disciplinary roles mixing together keeps everyone thinking on their toes.


New ideas and inspiration will flow freely from one department of the company to the next.

The additional opportunity for diverse cultural and ethnical backgrounds to come together with their respective backgrounds also creates new opportunities for growth.


2. Encourage unconventional problem solving

Managers and executive staff should be open to new ideas from their workforce. Some of the most revolutionary ways of doing business have been put forth by employees. All workers should have a piece of the action when it comes to solving problems. Dan Seewald, CEO of Deliberate Innovation believes in a lateral thinking process that encourages unconventional solutions.


The best way to boost creativity is to abandon logic at the onset of a brainstorming session. He believes that asking provocative and ridiculous 'what if?' questions puts us on a path to coming up with unique solutions to complex problems. It's brainstorming completely detached from any logical grounding. It's something that you can easily try out in the workplace without the fear of judgement of any bad ideas.


3. Provide flexibility in how work gets done

Studies have shown that just changing where you sit at work boosts creativity and innovation.

Sometimes a simple shift of perspective is all you need. Switching up where you work can do wonders. Every now and then, take the work home with you and telecommute. By embarking on new places outside of the office, you can unlock new ways of thinking.


A flexible work policy increases work productivity. It helps to cut down on transit time and allow for a healthier work-life balance.


4. Establish a company culture

Wherever human beings congregate you're bound to find culture. We have many varying degrees of culture. The micro-cultures that arise around a company can either be incredibly fulfilling or toxic. Company cultures must be driven by a singular shared focus. When workers are given reasons to be excited to come to work, you've succeeded in creating a great company culture.


Dysfunctional company cultures on the other hand can seriously impact employee's creativity and overall mental health. The simplest way to establish a company culture to spur creativity is to just give your employees purpose. From purpose, a culture blooms.


5. Let employees take risks and experiment

Cultivate a culture that isn't afraid to take risks. One that also rewards new creative experimentation. Most of the time employees aren't proposing new solutions or ideas because there is a fear of making a mistake. Employees need to be given support, guidance and allowance that they can fail in the pursuit of creation.


One of the best ways to implement this is by being open to feedback and suggestions from your workforce or fellow employees. Sometimes this means having an open door policy or creating an anonymous space for people to share their ideas.


6. Look to coworkers with great emotional intelligence

The workplace can be a great place for knowledge sharing. There's a great opportunity to learn various skills and garner new knowledge from your peers in the company. Encourage others to share what they know with different parts of the team.


This can help workers discover new interests and spark new creative pursuits that they can bring back to their role. It's also important to develop your emotional intelligence and look to others who display high rates of it for guidance.


Author Daniel Goleman, who's researched emotional intelligence in business, found that it is more important than IQ for success in the workplace.


"This turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of success in any field… The surprise was this: IQ correlated zero, zero with their success as rated by peers. Emotional intelligence correlated very, very highly."


7. Create a space for self-reflection and meditation

When the busy season strikes, it's easy for people to start getting too focused on their work and forget about the bigger picture. During times like these, creativity is lacking. The best thing to do during a time like this is to step out of the madness for a few mindful moments everyday.


Getting people into the habit of conducting self-reflections can help them center themselves and avoid stress or burn-out – two things that limit creativity. Just a simple check-in with yourself does wonders. Cultivating a regular schedule of meditation will take this to the next level.


Emptying the mind is a great way to fill it.


· Creativity in the workplace requires flexibility and a strong company culture.

· Experts encourage lateral thinking and meditation.

· A diverse and inclusive company also spurs creativity.


(source: https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/creativity-workplace)


Being able to focus and keep your attention on the task at hand can be a struggle in the information technology world of today. We at Mood Food Organic Catering would like to share some concentration-boosting and distraction-fighting techniques from Medical News Today to fire up your capacity to concentrate:


On an average day, Americans are bombarded with an estimated 34 gigabytes of information and 100,500 words. Meanwhile, office workers are interrupted every 11 minutes, while it takes 25 minutes, on average, to get back to the task they were working on before the interruption. It is therefore no surprise that our ability to focus is withering due to these endless distractions.


Maintaining attention allows us to construct our internal world in such a way that the thoughts, motivations, and emotions that are the most relevant to our goals will have priority in our brains.


The ability to sustain attention begins at an early age and contributes to success throughout people's lives. Several factors during childhood and adolescence can enhance or impair the development of skills that enable you to focus for extended periods.


Infants look to their parents for guidance on where to focus their attention, while preschoolers who can concentrate and persist on a task are 50 percent more likely to complete college.

Research has indicated that preschoolers and kindergartners who are farsighted often have a hard time paying attention, which could increase their risk of slipping behind in school.

In adolescents, binge drinking is thought to interrupt normal brain growth in the frontal brain areas that are linked to high-level thoughts, including organization and planning. Heavy alcohol use may therefore affect a teenager's ability to perform in school and sports, and these effects could be long-lasting.


Regardless of upbringing or social and work-based distractions, there are some steps that you can take to harness your brain at its best and channel your focus to complete tasks. Here are Medical News Today's tactics to help you improve your concentration quickly and effectively.


1. Get regular 'green time'

A dose of nature could be just what the doctor ordered when trying to improve your attention span and ability to concentrate.


Research suggests that exposure to natural surroundings, including green spaces, may prove beneficial for children's brain development.


In a study, children aged 4–5 to 7 years of age with more green space around their homes scored better in attention tests. These results underline the importance of expanding green areas in cities to support children's health and brain development.


Increased concentration from green exposure does not stop during childhood. Research has demonstrated that glancing at greenery can also markedly boost concentration levels and productivity in college and the workplace.


Students were asked to conduct a mundane task and given a 40-second break midway through to view either a bare concrete roof or a flowering meadow green roof. Individuals who glanced at the meadow scene made considerably fewer errors and exhibited superior concentration levels on the remaining half of the task than those who observed the concrete scene.


Another study showed that enriching a bare office with plants increased the productivity of workers by 15 percent. The presence of greenery increased workplace satisfaction, perceived air quality, and reported levels of concentration.


The researcher's analysis details that plants may be beneficial because a green office promotes employees' work engagement by making them more cognitively, emotionally, and physically involved in their work.


You may not have the luxury of a rooftop garden or an office laden with plants, but spending time outside someplace green, or eating your lunch in the park each day, could make a significant difference to your concentration.


2. Take a break

If you are lucky enough to have high working memory capacity, then you should have no problem ignoring distractions and staying focused on tasks. But for the rest of us, tuning out background distractions can be challenging.


Evidence suggests that taking a break from the following distractions could enhance your ability to concentrate.


Email

Controlling the times you log in to email — work or personal — and batching messages, among other strategies, could help to boost on-the-job productivity.


A study found that people who read emails throughout the day switched screen twice as often and were in an ongoing state of high alert with a constant heart rate. When email was removed from these people for 5 days, their heart rate returned to a natural, variable one.

The authors concluded that taking an email vacation significantly decreases stress and improves concentration and focus.


Cell phone notifications

Whether you are alerted to text or an incoming call by an alarm, vibration, or trendy ringtone, a cell phone notification can distract you enough to impair your ability to concentrate on a task.


In fact, the distraction caused by a notification is just as off-putting as using your cell phone to make calls or send a text message, according to research. A team discovered that while notifications are short in duration, they tend to trigger task-irrelevant thoughts or mind wandering that damages task performance.


The team explained that task performance takes a hit because humans have a limited capacity for attention that needs to be split between tasks. The researchers also emphasized that just being aware of a missed text or call can have the same effect.


If you need to stay on track and focused, it might be worth either turning off your cell phone, setting it to silent, or putting it away somewhere that you cannot see it.


Social media

The curiosity of checking personal social media accounts can often be overwhelming, but research indicates that there are negative consequences when using social media during office hours.


Approximately 2.8 billion people worldwide use social media, and many of those use social media for personal purpose while at work. Using social media during working hours has been revealed to have an adverse effect on self-reported work performance and concentration, and the well-being of the organization.


Fighting the urge to use social media while you need to concentrate may help to improve your productivity and concentration.


Work breaks

Other research demonstrates how to take the best type of break to boost energy, motivation, and concentration. Researchers recommend taking:

· a mid-morning break to replenish concentration

· better breaks by doing something you enjoy, which should make your break more restful, provide better recovery, and help you to come back to worked focused

· frequent short breaks to facilitate recovery


Taking breaks earlier in the day and doing preferred activities lead to better health, job satisfaction, and revival of energy, motivation, and concentration. Workers also experienced fewer headaches, eyestrain, and lower back pain after their break.


3. Rethink your environment

Our environment plays a significant role in how well we are able to concentrate. It is known that by decluttering your home or tidying your desk, your mind also feels more orderly, free, and able to think more clearly.


You can make changes to your environment so that it is favorable for sustaining concentration.


Design your own work space. Whether you have full control over the design of your work space or can embellish your desk with just a few personal items, having control over our work environment can help to improve productivity.


A study compared people who completed a series of tasks in a bare and functional office space, an office decorated with plants and pictures, and an office in which the individual designed the space.


People who were in a space with plants and pictures were 17 percent more productive than those in bare office, while those who designed their own spaces were 32 percent more productive than the workers at a functional desk.


Listen to Baroque classical music. In a study of radiologist's work lives, it was found that listening to Baroque classical music improved mood and job satisfaction and potentially improved diagnostic efficiency, accuracy, and productivity.


Play natural sounds. If Baroque music is not your thing, playing natural sounds could also benefit concentration. Researchers revealed that playing sounds from nature in the office, such as flowing water, could enhance cognitive abilities and optimize the ability to concentrate.


Inhale rosemary aroma. Research has suggested that exposure to rosemary aroma may improve speed and accuracy of cognitive performance.


4. Try brain training

Problem-solving exercises, brain training methods, and even video games could all have a positive, negative effect, or no effect at all on concentration, depending on which study you read.


Recent research has indicated that people who often do word puzzles, such as crosswords, have better brain function later in life.


Researchers found direct relationships between how often people used word puzzles and the speed and accuracy of performance on tasks assessing reasoning, memory, and attention.

A study has emphasized that it matters what type of brain training you are doing to improve memory and attention. Researchers compared two brain-training methods called "dual n-back" and "complex span."


Participants who practiced dual n-back demonstrated a 30 percent improvement in their working memory — almost double the gains made by the complex span group.


Dual n-back is a memory sequence test wherein individuals have to remember a sequence of auditory and visual stimuli that are updated continuously.


Playing video games has been shown to cause changes in many regions of the brain. Researchers discovered that video game use altered the brain regions that are responsible for visuospatial skills and attention and made them work more efficiently.


5. Enhance your well-being

Physical activity, dietary choices, and weight are all factors that can contribute to how well you function and your concentration levels. For example, if you skip breakfast, it is unlikely that by lunchtime you will be able to perform tasks to the best of your ability due to hunger pangs.

Looking after your well-being, staying active, and eating concentration-boosting foods can all help toward improving concentration.


Concentration-enhancing foods

To increase your ability to concentrate, you might want to add some walnuts, avocados, and chocolate to your dietary repertoire.


Walnuts may improve performance on tests for cognitive function, including those assessing information processing speed, memory, and concentration.

Avocados. Consuming one avocado every day may help improve cognitive function due to an upsurge in lutein levels in the eye and brain. Researchers uncovered that eating an avocado daily enhanced measures of cognitive skills, including processing speed, memory, and attention.

Chocolate — or specifically the cocoa bean — is rich in flavanols, which are compounds that have neuroprotective effects. Cocoa flavanols may help to improve cognitive processing speed, working memory, and attention when ingested for between 5 days and 3 months.


Exercise for concentration

Research has revealed that individuals who practice sport can perform better on cognitive tasks than those with bad physical health. When compared with a group who led a more sedentary lifestyle, the group who were in good physical condition performed better on tasks testing sustained attention.


A study of older adults also specified that exercise improved brain function. All participants who exercised for between 75 minutes and 225 minutes per week showed elevated attention levels and an increased ability to focus.


Yoga may significantly improve energy levels and brain function. Investigators found that practicing Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation for 25 minutes per day boosted the regions of the brain associated with goal-directed behavior and allowed participants to focus more easily.


Check your weight

Research unearthed a connection between weight loss and improved memory and concentration.


Researchers say that factors such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes, which often result from obesity, might impair the brain. They suggest that as people get back to a healthy weight and the associated problems disappear, their cognitive issues will vanish, too.


If you have tried all the above and you are still wrestling with your inability to concentrate, grab yourself a large coffee. Caffeine has been shown to affect the alerting and executive control networks of the brain and has clear beneficial effects on concentration and attention.


(source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320165.php)




Mindfulness and meditation can help improve employee focus and behavior, while helping manage stress. When mindfulness and meditation are practiced together they provide a wide range of benefits.


Mindfulness is the practice of training your attention to focus on the present and observe your own thoughts or feelings with a calming acceptance. Research shows mindfulness in the workplace can improve employee focus, behavior and stress management. On the other hand, meditation is a mental exercise for the purpose of reflection and contemplation.

We at Mood Food Organic Catering would like to share these helpful four benefits of meditation and mindfulness in the workplace from (health.usnews. com):


1. You're more present. When you're in the moment and purposefully paying attention, your brain can function at a higher level. Mindfulness not only helps you regulate your emotions and gain a deeper understanding, but when you're fully present you can be hyper-focused on your tasks ahead, your team, your business or your goals. This is even more crucial for managers. Managers who maintain an open mind, stray from judgment and are emotionally present can help inspire others, develop employees' skills, provide support and bring out the best in people.


Tip: Discipline yourself to provide more time for important meetings or discussions. With a packed schedule and back-to-back meetings, it can be easy to squeeze in and rush through important conversations between meetings. Make room for those key discussions by scheduling them without a hard stop, or cushion them with an extra 15 minutes in between.


2. You make better decisions. Emotional decision-making can be a recipe for disaster. Employees involved in crucial strategic company decisions require a clear, unbiased mindset. As researchers at INSEAD and The Wharton School found: "Just one 15-minute focused breathing meditation can help people make smarter choices." When you're able to evaluate information in the present moment, frame the decision and examine discrepancies clearly, you're able to give an authentic response or even determine whether there's a decision to be made at all.


Tip: Slow down and step back. In order to thoughtfully problem solve, you must first remove any emotional barriers. Stick to your values and consider all sides to exercise your mindfulness while decision-making.


3. It promotes creative thinking. Creativity is key to most workplaces. When you meditate – even just five minutes of focusing on your breathing, body or a certain phrase – your attention strays away from all your thoughts and centers your focus. One study suggests meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. With a focused, shift of thinking, you're able to open doors to new avenues allowing you to conceive new ideas.


Tip: Unplug, unwind and let your brain do the work. Let your next big idea surface by setting aside a moment in the morning to meditate. Allow yourself to start the day by connecting to your mind without the distractions of email, texts and phone calls.


4. You connect to your sense of purpose. When you're in the thick of a project, it's easy to forget all the aspects of who you are while you're at work. When this happens, you can feel disconnected from your passion and purpose. Engagement in your work comes when you feel a deep connection and sense of purpose that fills you with energy. Meditation and mindfulness are two of the many ways to connect with your sense of purpose at work and find how your role makes a real impact. Define your true purpose in work and life. Then focus on your vision for the future. When work becomes meaningful, success will follow.


Tip: Write a list of what motivates you at work. Whether it's certain projects or people that help energize you, when you identify the "why" behind your motivation, are clear on your purpose and how your work is contributing to it or not, you can get back on track and draw inspiration.

Meditation and mindfulness open your mind and body up to cultivate new ideas, lead with integrity and step back and reflect on how you're doing. Before you catch yourself sliding down the slippery slope of stress – or even burnout – let your job help do the work for you by weaving these best practices into your daily work schedule for better emotional and physical health.


(Source: Dr. Laura Hamill, Contributor/https://health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/2018-07-19/4-ways-mindfulness-and-meditation-can-help-you-at-work

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