To view video version of this newsletter from Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, click on the image below.
Hyper-Thinking and Under-Delivering
Can’t resist the urge to check your email? Lose track of time clicking through web pages or tracking tweets? Worried you might be missing something because you left your smartphone at home?
These are all symptoms of a trend that is becoming more and more widespread in our increasingly networked, social-digital world: It’s a phenomenon I call “hyper-thinking.”
We have such immediate access to information and so many methods of communicating that we are becoming conditioned to stay connected 24/7. As a result, we're juggling many different tasks, ideas and thoughts at once, and we're overloading our brains in the process.
Today's technology allows us to step in and out of different conversations and lines of thinking on a near constant basis, giving us the illusion that we’re accomplishing more through multi-tasking. However, the latest studies show that multi-tasking decreases productivity, and in fact, the more someone multi-tasks, the worse they actually are at it.
Stanford University researchers found that, on tests requiring subjects to switch from one task to another, heavy multi-taskers performed worse than those who rarely multi-task. The studies, they say, indicate that the more we focus on many different things at once, the more easily distracted we become and the less we’re able to focus clearly on just one thing.
Emails, social media, texting, Internet browsing, phone calls - all of these activities take up important space in our working memory. Even the cognitive attention spent on waiting for a message or wondering why you haven’t received one adds up. Neuroscientists have found that the anticipation of an email, not just the content, takes up valuable space in the brain, taxing its processing time and energy.
All that time spent hyper-thinking is keeping us from quality think time, and without focused attention, results suffer. So what’s a hyper-thinker to do?
Start by drawing on the resources of your Whole Brain® to free up cognitive space and take charge of your thinking:
Use A Quadrant Thinking to give yourself the permission to “single-task.” A growing body of research is showing that you are sacrificing focused, productive thinking – and results – when you hyper-think. To accomplish your goals, you have to put in the quality think time. As the Stanford study revealed, the more you multi-task, the worse your productivity and thinking will become.
Use B Quadrant Thinking to plan a specific amount of time you will devote to “unplugging” and focusing on one task, without outside distractions. Figure out in advance what it will take to truly eliminate the distractions. Will you need to silence your phone? Exit your email program? Close your Internet browser? Decide what works for you, allocate the time on your calendar and then hold yourself accountable to it.
Use C Quadrant Thinking to change the environment and rejuvenate your thought processes. A group of neuroscientists went to the wilderness to see if time spent in nature would help reverse the effects of hyper-thinking on their brains, but you don’t have to go completely “off the grid” to get a mental escape. Try a quick walk around the block (without your cell phone!). Tap into your own intuition instead of Googling for inspiration.
Use D Quadrant Thinking to give yourself the freedom to think in different ways. Do you surf the ‘net when you’re bored or looking for ideas? Try doodling on a piece of paper instead. Or use the Thinking Magnet to combine words and come up with new concepts. Give yourself a break from technology and you may find that your brain is more on task than ever before.
In a recent post on the Whole Brain® blog entitled Hyper-Thinking: App or Trap, I explore the common symptoms of hyper-thinking and provide 4 additional tips for managing it. And now it’s your turn. Share you thoughts with the Whole Brain® community:
- How has hyper-thinking impacted your productivity?
- Which distractions are making it difficult for you to have quality think time?
- What are you doing to take advantage of the App without falling into the Trap?
Share your stories and tips in the comments section of Hyper-Thinking: App or Trap.
Want to test your own multi-tasking abilities?
Try these tests that measure your distractibility and task-juggling skills.
The New York Times: Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime
NPR (Fresh Air segment): Digital Overload: Your Brain on Gadgets
Scientific American (podcast): The Myth of Multitasking
BBC News: Is multi-tasking a myth?
Free THINC™ Webinars: Learn At Your Desktop Every Month
Want to know how some of the most progressive and successful organizations in the world are getting better results through better thinking? Interested in learning about the latest trends in Whole Brain® Thinking? Looking for best practice approaches you can apply in your organization?
Our THINC™ Webinar series gives you the inside track and practical take-aways for getting the most from Whole Brain® methodology and the organization’s brainpower - all from the convenience of your office.
The free monthly webinars cover a range of applications of Whole Brain® Thinking, from stress management to leadership development. Recent webinars have addressed Whole Brain® approaches to:
- Team Performance
- Success in the 21st Century Business Environment
- Leadership Coaching
- Ethics and Creating a Culture of Integrity
- Executive and Leadership Effectiveness
- Negotiation and Sales
- Learning Design
- Igniting Leadership Potential at all Levels
Be sure to check the Webinars section of our website for the latest learning opportunities and to reserve your seat. These popular events fill up quickly, and you must pre-register to attend.
Missed a THINC™ Webinar? Available recordings from previous THINC™ Webinars can be found in the Webinars section of our website or by clicking on the links above.
Case Study: Improving Teamwork, Trust and Board Meetings with Whole Brain® Communications
Orange Credit Union is one of the top credit unions in Australia, serving 16,000 members in the Orange district, New South Wales. A recent case study explains how the organization is improving communications, teamwork and overall management effectiveness with the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) and Whole Brain® Thinking.
According to Paul McNamara, Orange Credit Union’s General Manager, Whole Brain Thinking® is helping change the way management looks at team meetings, communicates within the team and communicates with staff, and that’s having a positive impact on their efforts to build a culture of trust.
Additionally, adds Gavin Cook, Corporate Services Manager, “The HBDI® has allowed us to strengthen the relationship with the Board of Directors.” The benefits are being realized through more effective communications and more efficient board meetings.back to top
Meet Cynthia Radford
This month we introduce you to Cynthia Radford, one of Herrmann International’s Certified Master Facilitators. As a Master Facilitator, she helps practitioner candidates develop the knowledge and skills to administer the HBDI® and deliver Whole Brain® Thinking solutions to their clients and organizations.
Cynthia is the founder of GreenLeaf Consulting International, a global leadership development consulting practice that helps leaders create enriching environments where people and organizations can thrive.
In addition to facilitating HBDI® Certified Practitioner Workshops, she uses Herrmann International solutions in the design and delivery of programs for her clients around the world. She brings a global perspective to her work, having designed, developed and facilitated leadership development initiatives for global-facing organizations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim, reaching leaders in more than 35 countries.
A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Cynthia enjoys hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is an avid gardener, scuba diver, world traveler and photographer.
Whole Brain® Thinking On the Road: Get Insights and Skills at These Upcoming Events!
Southeast Association of Facilitators
September 10, 2010
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Crowne Plaza, Atlanta, GA
Whole Brain® Facilitation, presented by Ann Herrmann-Nehdi
Elliott Masie’s Learning 2010
October 24 – 27, 2010
Disney’s Coronado Springs Convention Center, Orlando, FL
Monday, October 25, Thought Leaders Session: Developing Leaders for the “Era of And,” presented by Ann Herrmann-Nehdi
Monday, October 25, Learning Stories Session: The Neuroscience of Learning: Ignore It At Your Own Risk! Ann Herrmann-Nehdi and Charles Fadel, Cisco
And coming in 2011:
Ann Herrmann-Nehdi headlines the Training 2011 Conference.
Recent News on Thinking and the Brain
- In sync: The neural activity of the listener and the speaker synchronize during storytelling. Research at Princeton University reveals that a listener’s brain responses mirror the speaker’s brain responses, with a delay. The stronger their reported connection, the closer the neural coupling. View the Slideshare presentation, Do We Click?
- “Enlighten us, but make it quick.” How would you tailor your presentation to inform and engage your audience if you had only 5 minutes to speak and twenty slides that auto-advanced every 15 seconds?
- How does heavy technology use impact how we think and behave, and can a retreat to nature reverse those effects? A group of neuroscientists examined these questions by unplugging and heading out to the wilderness. View the video, Down the River, Into the Brain.
Product Spotlight: The Thinking Magnet
The Herrmann® Thinking Magnet is a versatile tool with a variety of individual and group applications – for learning, planning, inspiration or just for fun!
- Combine words for new ideas and concepts.
- Pick out the right words before you communicate.
- Create an outline or “Mind Map” for a meeting.
- Use as a gap analyzer for groups: What have we left out that fits into this situation?
- Create a thought for the day.
You get 135 laminated magnetic words representing the four quadrants of the brain as depicted in the Whole Brain® Model. The magnets are provided on a sturdy black metal frame.
The Thinking Magnet can support communications, innovation, meetings, time management and more. How will you use it?
Order online or contact Herrmann International Client Services at 800-432-4234, ext. 6 for additional information.
Upcoming Certification Workshops
Join the ranks of the Herrmann HBDI® Certified Practitioners!
Herrmann HBDI® Certification – Full Certification:
September 21 – 24, Surrey, UK
Sept. 28 – Oct. 1, Lake Lure, NC
October 26 – 29, Dallas, TX
Herrmann HBDI® Certification – Level II Only*:
September 23 – 24, Surrey, UK
Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, Lake Lure, NC
October 28 – 29, Dallas, TX
For detailed location and registration information, please email email@example.com or call 800-432-4234 and select option 6 for client services.
Host a Dedicated Certification Workshop: When you host an internal dedicated certification workshop, your participants will explore the concepts, tools and skills necessary to deliver the HBDI® with individuals, pairs and teams in a learning environment that is tailored especially to their needs and the organization’s objectives.
If you are interested learning more about the benefits of a dedicated certification workshop, contact your Herrmann International representative.
* For Practitioners who completed Level I Certification prior to May 2009. If you have only completed Level I Certification, you will need to complete Level II to deliver HBDI® Pair and Team Report debriefs.