SMARTtarget Personal Development December 2014

The goal is to have some dialog about the skills that are most helpful in living a fulfilled life. Some suggestions to get you started include; financial management, time management, learning, and communication. It can also be suggested that you develop a creative hobby which is a right brain activity. The value of this can be appreciated by watching the TED talk Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor. It is also brain stretching and respectful, to try and learn another language. This may become more important as the world becomes flatter.

It is also suggested that you watch the video on the Blue Zone project, where there is discussion on what people are doing that seems to help them make it to 100 without much problem : )

To get an A in Personal Development, you need to spend 5 hours per week to improve your knowledge or skill. Make the 5 hours count 🙂

SMARTtarget (DOM) POLITICALfitness Nov-2014

To get an “A” you must be a registered voter, vote 90% of the time, and write a letter to one of your political representatives.

As we are upon an election this is a good time to focus on political fitness. In reality your interest in politics should not end with an election, it’s really the beginning.

You are encouraged to write to your political leadership and thank them for something that they have done/said that you like, as we tend to get more of what we focus on, or give our attention to.

In this section post the people/principles, products, and practices that help you get an “A” in this category.

So what exactly is a Pomodoro?

Well a pomodoro is actually a tomato, but the Pomodoro Technique is a time management process developed by Fancesco Cirillo in the 1980’s.  Using a clicking timer, the pomodoro practitioner works in a focused fashion for 25 minutes and then takes a 5 minute break where you do nothing.  The cycle repeats itself for 3-4 “pomodoro‘s” and then you take a longer 20 minute break.  When trying to master this technique there are 6 objectives.  Two that I have found helpful so far;  learning to better estimate how long it will take you to accomplish a task, and learning to manage interruptions.  My productivity increased within days of starting to use this technique.  Most enlightening has been an awareness how often I interrupt myself : )

 If you are challenged with trying to get more done with less, I strongly encourage you to give this technique a try.  Don’t just go by the description above, take the time to actually learn the particulars of the technique by downloading a pdf of the process here:  “The Pomodoro Technique“.  In addition, I would suggest that you visit the founder’s website where you can find more information.  Its not for everyone, but for me, it has been very helpful.

Automaticity, Behavior Change Made Easy?

There is a concept in behavioral research known as automaticity.  The general concept is that there are behaviors that can occur without actual conscious choice, without thinking.  There is also some suggestion that we can influence selected behaviors to become automatic.  Wouldn’t it be nice if simple behaviors such as getting enough rest, eating right, and getting regular exercise could be programmed through the process of automaticity?

I have seen some research that automaticity could be induced by exposure to words.  The first experiment that I became aware of involved students who were asked to unscramble sentences, picking four of five given words.  As an example a student was given  “she, him, at, worried, always”, which could become “she worried him always”.  The students thought this was the experiment, but the real interest was observing what happened next.

They were asked to go down the hall to ask another professor for instruction.  When they got to the professor, the professor was to be talking to another student, and they were never going to stop talking to each other.  The question was how long did it take for the student who just unscrambled the sentence to interrupt.  Unknown to the students, there were two groups of sentences that were being unscrambled.  One group was given all positive words, like kind, tolerant, patient etc.  The second group was given all negative words to work with like,  impatient, unkind, angry etc.  The act of unscrambling the words was called priming.  What the researchers found was that those students who were “primed” with the negative words interrupted sooner than those students who were primed with the positive words.  This suggest that words that we are exposed to consciously can have an effect on our behavior subconsciously automatically.  Hmmm???

So this got me thinking; in a digital age that require passwords all day (like our phones) that we can set ourselves…  Why not use words that would set positive intentions.  That way as we use passwords they would be bathing our consciousness with words that would encourage positive or desired behaviors.  Repeating words such as diligent, courage, health, success, order, can’t hurt and there could be a big payoff.  In fact we should be paying closer attention to our “word diet” over the course of the day.  We may find that we are often planting words that are not helping us.  Just some food for thought : )  Time to change my passwords…