That’s 13 hours — 28 percent of our workweek — the average person dedicates reading, deleting, sorting and sending emails, according to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute.
“In the 90s, people actually looked forward to opening their email,” says Dmitri Leonov, the VP of growth for SaneBox, an email management tool designed to keep you from falling into the black hole that is the inbox. We no longer live in the blissful “You’ve Got Mail”-era, and our relationship with email has developed into something draining.
For one, we expect and are expected to respond to emails within a matter of hours, all while completing the non-email related tasks (the important stuff, one might argue) our jobs require of us.
To conquer the time suck, surge your productivity and make more room in your day for a Netflix fest, abide by these three “commandments” that, Leonov says, will improve your email sanity.
Email is a game of Tetris.
Email is the equivalent to an interminable game of Tetris — one that you can never truly win. As soon as you accept this, you’ll be better equipped to handle your inbox. “You’ll never win, because as soon as you clear your inbox to 0 and get to sleep, you’ll wake up in the morning with a hundred more,” Leonov says. “You shouldn’t worry if you have thousands of emails, you’re not alone.”
Email shall not be your first priority.
Once you realize email is a game of Tetris, this second commandment should come pretty naturally. “Treat email as one of your priorities, but not your number one priority,” Levanov says. An email is actually just another person’s to-do list that has been assigned to you. So, it should be an item on your list, but not at the top. The inbox-virtuoso suggests scanning your emails in the morning to see what’s important, and then close your inbox entirely to remove the distraction. Then, dedicate blocks of time to sort, delete and respond. And try to containing your email-related prioties within those designated times: Multi-tasking will do you much more harm than good.
Not all emails are created equal.
While the note from your boss holds more weight than your exotic-spice-of-the-day newsletter (hopefully), your brain subconsciously considers the two to be equally important. That can be taxing on your productivity and, really, plain stressful. To remedy, delete in bulk and bucket and label email based on its sender and subject (Gmail has a setting, for example, where you can tell if you’re the only recipient of an email or have been CC’d in a group). Schedule some time on your calendar to sort through al the nonsense — group them all together and click “delete,” Leonov recommends.
And a little advice for those who happen to be the inbox-cluttering-culprit themselves: Know that it takes longer to process an email than it does to write one. Consider bolding key sentences and takeaways, which help clarify the task of the recipient. And when possible, keep it short. Leonov suggests taking the “Twitter approach” to email: “If you can fit an email message into a subject line, that is very helpful.”
For more on productivity, click here.
“That was the message: Actualize yourself,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who attended the funeral, said recently at the 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference.
“If you look back at the history of Steve and that early trip to India … He had this incredible realization that his intuition was his greatest gift,” Benioff said. “He needed to look at world from inside out … His message was to look inside yourself and realize yourself.”
More and more business leaders in the tech world and beyond are following Jobs’ lead, tapping into their intuition through meditation, a practice that’s been linked to lower stress levels and boosts in cognitive functioning, creativity, productivity and even empathy.
Here are eight business leaders who say practicing meditation has improved their work and their lives — and sometimes led to game-changing innovation.
While working at international computer technology corporation Oracle, Benioff took up meditation to manage work-related stress. He’s stuck with the habit ever since.
“I enjoy meditation, which I’ve been doing for over a decade — probably to help relieve the stress I was going through when I was working at Oracle,” Benioff told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005.
He gave a nod to his meditation practice again last week at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco during his discussion of Steve Jobs’ leadership.
“Meditation is a major part of my life,” Benioff said. “It’s been that way for a couple of decades and that is something that I am in line with Steve Jobs on.”
After Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini broke his neck in a skiing accident, he spent a year taking painkillers — until he found natural pain relief through yoga and meditation. Bertolini now practices mindfulness, which he says comes with the added benefit of better decision-making in the workplace.
He introduced a 12-week mindfulness and yoga program for employees at Aetna, which he says resulted in dramatically lower stress levels and increased productivity among participants. Now he says it’s his mission to “bring the mindfulness benefits that [he] brought to 34,000 employees to everyone in America.”
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner spoke at last year’s Wisdom 2.0 conference about the importance of managing compassionately, something he calls his “first principle of management.” Weiner wrote in a 2012 LinkedIn blog that the Dalai Lama’s book The Art of Happiness taught him the principles of compassion and empathy, and has said that meditation can help boost compassion.
The tech entrepreneur has also said that the “single most important productivity tool” he uses is making time in his schedule each day to clear his mind and do nothing. “As the company grows larger … you will require more time than ever before to just think,” Weiner wrote in a LinkedIn blog in April.
Former Columbia Records president Rick Rubin practices Transcendental Meditation, sometimes with Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons. In 2011, Rubin and Simmons led a group meditation during a book talk at the New York Public Library.
“The more we can get in tune with the harmony of the planet, the more our art can benefit from that relationship,” the music producer, who says he has practiced meditation since he was very young, told Nowness.com. “The more you understand silence, that’s where the balance comes from.”
Every business should have a higher purpose beyond maximizing profits, according to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, author of Conscious Capitalism: Liberating The Heroic Spirit Of Business.
“My search for meaning and purpose led me into the counterculture movement of the late 1960’s and 1970’s,” Mackey wrote in Conscious Capitalism. “I studied Eastern philosophy and religion at the time and still practice both yoga and meditation. I studied ecology. I became a vegetarian.”
Nancy Slomowitz, CEO of Executive Management Associates, helped to lower her company’s health care costs by offering employees classes in Transcendental Meditation, a popular mindfulness practice favored by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Russell Brand, Candy Crowley and Oprah. She’s been practicing it herself since she was a teenager.
“TM produced tangible, practical benefits in both their professional and personal lives,” Slomowitz wrote in her book Work Zone Madness! Surviving and Rising Above Work Place Dysfunction. “The workplace environment soon grew from toxic to harmonious among other positive changes. And surprisingly, the company’s cost of healthcare insurance actually went down due to a reduction in sick claims.”
The co-founder of Twitter’s first introduction to mindfulness was listening to meditation tapes by Dr. Wayne Dyer in his early 20s. It was a passing interest, he said at last year’s Wisdom 2.0 conference, and during his early days in tech Williams spent his time with his head down in a “constantly computer brain mindset.”
But Williams says he came back to mindfulness after launching Twitter as a way to sustain high performance — both his own and that of his employees.
CNN anchor and Starfish Media CEO Soledad O’Brien began practicing Transcendental Meditation at the urging of her friend, Def Jam co-founder and TM practitioner Russell Simmons.
“I appreciate very much the opportunity to take the time to focus and meditate and it allows me to experience a state of deep rest and relaxation that can be game-changing; and sometimes a life saver in a crazy world,” O’Brien said during a 2012 David Lynch Foundation forum. “It helps alleviate stress and pressure when you’re trying to balance life and being a mother.”
Concerned about the nation’s childhood obesity issues, the first lady on Wednesday is convening the first White House summit on food marketing to children to get involved parties talking about how to help consumers make healthier food choices. That includes enlisting the persuasive power of the multimillion-dollar food marketing industry. As she helped kick off a nationwide campaign last week to encourage people to drink more plain water, Mrs. Obama said she would keep reaching out to new people and organizations and keep making the case for healthier choices like water and fruits and vegetables.
The White House says it has invited representatives from the food and media industries, advocates, parents, representatives of government agencies and researchers, though it did not release a list of names and organizations. Mrs. Obama will open the meeting with public remarks. The rest of the meeting will be closed to the media.
Consumer advocates say studies show that food marketing is a leading cause of obesity because it influences what children want to eat.
A 2006 report on the issue by the influential Institute of Medicine concluded that food and beverage marketing to children “represents, at best, a missed opportunity, and, at worst, a direct threat to the health of the next generation.”
Improvements have come in the years since, especially after Mrs. Obama began drawing attention to childhood obesity with a campaign of her own in 2010.
She stood with the Walt Disney Co. last year when it became the first major media company to ban ads for junk food from its media channels, websites and theme parks. She also has praised the Birds Eye frozen food company for encouraging children to eat vegetables, including through promotions featuring characters from the Nickelodeon comedy “iCarly.”
But the first lady and consumer advocates say more improvements are needed.
“Most of the food ads that kids see are still for unhealthy food, which makes it really hard for parents to feed their children healthfully,” said Margo Wootan, a nutrition lobbyist for the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. Wootan planned to attend the summit.
In a speech earlier this year to a health conference, Mrs. Obama said limiting the promotion of unhealthy food to kids isn’t the only solution.
“It’s also about companies realizing that marketing healthy foods can be responsible and the profitable thing to do as well,” she said.
The White House summit, which consumer advocates say marks the first time the White House has focused on this issue, could pick up where Congress and the administration left off a few years ago after the administration gave up trying to get the food industry to agree to voluntary marketing guidelines.
Preliminary guidelines released in 2011 asked food companies, advertisers and TV networks only to market foods to children if they are low in fats, sugars and sodium and included specified healthy ingredients. But the effort fizzled after many Republican lawmakers sided with the food industry, which accused government of overreaching.
The companies said the guidelines were overly broad and would limit marketing of almost all of the nation’s favorite foods. The food companies also said they were feared government retaliation if they didn’t go along with guidelines that were intended to be voluntary.
Large food companies then announced their own guidelines that, not surprisingly, were more lenient than what the Federal Trade Commission, the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had proposed under the direction of Congress.
The FTC publicly backed off some of the guidelines, including a recommendation that companies change packaging and remove brand characters from some foods. In late 2011, the agency said Congress “had clearly changed its mind” and said it would take another look. It never released updated guidelines.
New York University food and nutrition professor Marion Nestle, who also was attending the meeting, said studies show that voluntary restrictions don’t work.
“Food marketing is the elephant in the room,” she said. “If you’re serious about childhood obesity, you’ve got to do something about food marketing.”
Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
Thank goodness that we don’t have to rely on mere thoughts and feelings to determine what nutrients humans need to consume to stay healthy. In fact, there’s a thing called the scientific method, and it’s an incredibly precise way of gathering and deciphering information. We have used it to compile decades of nutrition research that have resulted in established recommendations for the nutrients our bodies need to thrive.
We have even been able to use this body of scientific evidence on human nutrition to make the determination that we simply don’t need to consume animal products to survive. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has put this issue to rest in a single position statement:
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
Evidence-based nutrition recommendations tell us the appropriate amounts of macro and micronutrients the general population needs to stay nourished. How we choose to obtain those nutrients is completely up to us, and there’s certainly no established recommendation for the amount of animal products we need to consume, because they’re not essential. We can get all the nutrients our bodies require while consuming a completely plant-based diet. This isn’t propaganda or zealotry; it’s a simple scientific fact.
So, let’s please stop using the “listening to my body” excuse, because it’s completely false. Let’s just be truthful and say, “I’m not ready or willing to go vegan at the moment.” There are certainly many debates we can have surrounding the vegan lifestyle, but whether or not we need to eat animal products to be healthy isn’t one of them. No one needs to “listen to their body” to decide if they can go vegan or not.
Doctors didn’t believe a 61-year-old Texas home brewer who came into an emergency room completely hammered, saying that he hadn’t had a sip of booze, NPR reports. But he was telling the truth.
When nurses ran a breathalyzer test, the patient had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in the state. Despite claims that he hadn’t touched any alcohol all day, he was dismissed as being a closet drinker. In fact, it was his own body producing the booze.
“He would get drunk out of the blue — on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just anytime,” said Barabara Cordell, the dean of nursing at Panola College.
Cordell and Dr. Justin McCarthy decided to take on the bizarre case, isolating the man in a hospital room for a full 24 hours. During the isolation, the man ate carbohydrate-rich foods and ended up with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent.
The man’s belly was brewing booze due to a buildup of Saccharomyces cerevisiae — a common yeast — in his gut, Cordell discovered. When he ate or drank starch-heavy foods, including bagels, pasta and soda, the yeast in his belly fermented the sugars into ethanol.
NPR reports that the rare buildup can happen after patients take antibiotics. Killing all the bacteria in one’s stomach paves the way for yeast the grow and thrive. Another contributing factor may have been his home-brewery, which would have required the man to keep plenty of live yeast around, according to Business Insider.
Cordell and McCarthy recently published their case in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine. The man’s treatment was a heaping helping of anti-fungals and a low-carb diet, according to the study.
You look really busy. We see that your tables are full, and you may be putting out literal fires back in the kitchen. But if you have a moment, we would love to take a few things off your list of responsibilities.
You don’t have to worry about getting our children to eat veggies, or more or less food. It’s not your job to decide how much our children have to eat before they can “earn” dessert, or if you think they are too skinny or too fat. You don’t have to keep track of any of it!
Please refrain from commenting on what or how much our children are or aren’t eating. A good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it to an adult, don’t say it to a child. Here are some examples of what not to say:
“Wow, you ate all your broccoli, that’s so healthy!”
“How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t even tried it?”
“Look at you, finishing your whole omelet! Way to go!”
“If you finish your plate, I’ll bring you a cookie.”
“You really want more rice? Haven’t you had enough?”
Now, here is where you might think we’d go on and on about how we’re the moms, and it’s our job to make our children eat more veggies and control their portions.
But, guess what? It’s not our job either! It’s actually the child’s job to decide how much to eat from what the parent provides. (This is known as the Division of Responsibility in feeding, widely applied by nutrition professionals and agencies.)
By choosing your restaurant and helping our children choose from your menu, we’ve already done our part. Now we’d like to enjoy our meals and the company of our family. Once you bring out the food, maybe check if we need refills or anything else, that’s all we really need. (If you’re up for a little banter about the weather, our kids’ tabletop drawings, or your favorite local theater, that would be more than welcome.)
Oh, and if we ask for dessert with the meal, we mean it. Studies show that bribing kids with dessert often backfires, making them more focused on the sweets and less interested in the other great foods on the table. And if we pass on dessert, you don’t need to convince us they earned it by eating their veggies, or try to talk us into ordering it to go. Dessert with the meal or no dessert — this is a conscious, informed decision on our part — we’re not being bad, mean or lazy parents. What and when we feed our children is our job, eating — including what and how much they decide to eat from what’s on the table — that’s up to the kids. We get that it’s not how most of us grew up, but it’s how we’ve chosen to feed our children (after many years of research and clinical practice).
And for you children’s menu designers? Know what else you can skip?
How many calories children burn riding a bicycle for 30 minutes. Bike rides should be fun, not penance.
Advising children that eating fruits and vegetables can “prevent diseases.” Young children don’t need to shoulder the burden of disease prevention, especially not on a Friday night when we’re trying to relax and have a nice time.
Lecturing children to “Know when to say ‘Whoa!'” while you offer a brownie ice-cream sundae bigger than their heads.
Telling children to eat “right” when their choices are fried chicken, pizza, fries, macaroni and cheese — or tell them to “eat right” even if all you offer is locally sourced, organic, heirloom or artisanal. We are at your restaurant already.
We trust your comments have been made with the best intentions, assuming parents could only welcome your support in the crusade to get kids to eat better/more/less/differently. Many parents do. But we believe that we don’t have to manipulate children into learning to enjoy a healthy variety of foods. They have that drive in them already, and given support and freedom to do so without undo pressure or interference, they will learn to accept and genuinely enjoy a greater variety of foods at their own pace. We actually don’t want them to eat something simply because we told them to.
We understand that not every parent feeds this way. Parenting styles differ, and feeding styles do as well — these are personal decisions every parent makes. We simply ask, as your customers, that you allow us to make those decisions for our own families and to keep the commentary to yourself. Keep the conversation neutral, and everybody’s happy!
These are just a few thoughts offered in good faith. We appreciate you, we like your restaurant, and we’d like to come back!
Thanks for your consideration and hard work,
Katja Rowell MD (aka the feeding doctor)
Katherine Zavodni MPH, RD, guest contributor and clinical dietitian specializing in eating disorders
The authors felt compelled to write this general letter after several comments over the years from well-intentioned servers persisting with unwelcome interference with young diners. Readers, we’d love to hear what your experiences have been while eating out. Do you welcome these kinds of comments, or dread them?
#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo