Fun Friday Links: Mindfulness and Multi-Tasking, Visualizing Corp. Restructuring and Hey! The World Didn’t End!
Welcome to Super Happy Fun Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
People make the case for meditation and concentration in all sorts of ways, but this article from Maria Konnikova touches on something that speaks directly to the business world:
“…mindfulness goes beyond improving emotion regulation. An exercise in mindfulness can also help with that plague of modern existence: multitasking. Of course, we would like to believe that our attention is infinite, but it isn’t. Multitasking is a persistent myth. What we really do is shift our attention rapidly from task to task. Two bad things happen as a result. We don’t devote as much attention to any one thing, and we sacrifice the quality of our attention. When we are mindful, some of that attentional flightiness disappears as if of its own accord.”
(Go back in Conspire time and check out this article on multi-tasking. It struck a chord with you all back in February, and I suspect it will be a discussion worth revisiting in the new year.)
Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about corporate restructuring, even though the effects of it are often palpable. Justin Matejka sought to change all that after his employer, Alias, was acquired by Autodesk. The resulting animation (called the Organic Organization Chart) is a visual ride that tracks every employee, manager, and departmental shift in the company from May 2007 to April 2011. Each second represents an entire week of activity.
“When we joined this much larger company, it was difficult to understand where in the organization other people you met worked,” explained Matejka. “So I started collecting the data initially to help us orient ourselves within our new company. After collecting the data on a daily basis for a little while, I figured it might be nice to look at the changes over time, and that is when the OrgOrgChart animation began.
“The most striking thing we learnt from this is just how much activity is happening on a daily basis. In your own little corner of the company, you typically aren’t aware that there are many changes going on, but when you step back and look at the entire organization, it is really striking to see that there is basically always some amount of activity occurring.”
George Lois has done a lot of creative work in his 81 years, but he is perhaps best known for the 92 covers he designed for Esquire magazine. Lois recently graced the Metropolitan Museum with his presence for a CreativeMornings talk, and his last pieces of advice were like vegetables: good for everyone.
“The more innovative you are, the sharper you are, the smarter you are, the more courageous you have to be. Because the more creative you are, the more trouble you’re in.”
“If it looks like shit and it smells like shit and it tastes like shit, it’s shit. If you’re working someplace and they’re making you do shit work, get the hell out of there.”
“The most important thing in the world for any creative person– for anybody, is to have courage.”
Check out the full talk here.
HEY, GUYS! IT’S DECEMBER 21, 2012 AND THE PLANET EARTH IS STILL INTACT! I AM SO THANKFUL I FELT IT WAS OKAY TO HIT THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON!
Joe from itsokaytobesmart.com posted this really great Alex Korb quote that falls nicely in line with the gratitude theme (whether or not you actually thought the Mayans were correct), and I think all of us would do well to keep it in mind–especially now that we’re in the mood to make fresh starts and new resolutions:
“Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle. Your brain only has so much power to focus its attention. It cannot easily focus on both positive and negative stimuli. It is like a small child: easily distracted. Oh your tummy hurts? Here’s a lollipop. So you lost your job? Isn’t it wonderful we’re having KFC for dinner? On top of that your brain loves to fall for the confirmation bias, that is it looks for things that prove what it already believes to be true. And the dopamine reinforces that as well. So once you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for. That’s how the virtuous cycle gets created.”