April 29, 2015
by Greg Walker
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Research: Brief Online Interventions Can Improve Student Achievement

By Leila Meyer

Researchers at Stanford University and the University of Texas, Austin studied the effect of brief, Web-based interventions on high school students at risk of dropping out and found that students’ grade point averages increased after only two 45-minute sessions.

The researchers used two types of online interventions, one involving the development of a “growth mindset” and the other involving the development of a “sense of purpose.”

The growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed rather than being fixed at birth, and that struggling through challenging tasks is an opportunity to improve intelligence. In the study, researchers asked the students to read an article about the brain’s ability to grow intellectually through hard work and effective academic strategies.

The sense-of-purpose intervention asked students to write about how they thought the world could be a better place; to read stories about the effect of academic achievement on their ability to make a positive impact on the world; and to think about how school could help them achieve their goals. More…

April 28, 2015
by Greg Walker
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Prioritize Your Online Time

It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials. –Bruce Lee

Prioritize Your Online Time: A signal-to-noise ratio is the power ratio between a signal of meaningful information and the background noise of useless information. That’s the technical definition. On a day-to-day basis, it can also refer to the ratio of really profound content to really unnecessary cat videos on Facebook. Today, pay attention to meaningful pieces of communication, and filter out all other background noise and distractions. Delete the promotional ads in your inbox, and unsubscribe from newsletters or magazines that distract you from what’s really important. Refrain from participating in idle gossip, and aimless browsing online. By prioritizing what streams of information to focus on, you are de-cluttering your mind space, which ultimately leverages your energy to address what really matters.

April 27, 2015
by Greg Walker
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Use Technology To Do Something Kind

Technology is unlocking the innate compassion we have for our fellow human beings. –Bill Gates
Use Technology To Do Something Kind: In 1900, you had to shout out loud to be heard 100 yards away. Today, a whisper in a mobile phone is crystal clear 10,000 miles away. That’s the leverage that generations of electronic engineers have provided for us. Technology is based on the principle of leverageminimize inputs and maximize outputs. The world’s ethical systems are based on two principles: be composed within yourself, and manifest that as kindness towards others. Simply put: be calm, be kind. How can technology be employed to help us embody these ethics? Can we leverage our tech tools to spread more compassion in the world? Today, notice your intentions and state of mind as you check email, surf the web, drive a car, make a phone call, and beyond. Direct your use of these devices into kindness towards others. Make way for another car to enter your lane, read a good news article online, or email someone a few words of appreciation. The possibilities are endless!

April 22, 2015
by Greg Walker
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Experiment With Single-Tasking

Our waking lives play out on various platforms – we interact with each other in-person, over the phone, on instant messaging, video chats, email and more. Such layers of activity often leave us shuttling between different conversations and contexts. Often times we try and tackle them simultaneously. We eat lunch at our desk, while reading emails. We talk on the phone while driving, and send text messages in the middle of dinner. Multi-tasking has become commonplace in our day-to-day lives. Yet not only does it dilute the quality of our presence, it can often hamper efficiency and compromise our brain’s ability to commit what we are learning to long-term memory. Today, make an effort to do one thing at a time. Eat breakfast at the table. Focus on the road while driving. Have only one internet browser open at a time. Not only will your brain breathe a sigh of relief, but your productivity may receive a boost from your efforts!

April 22, 2015
by Greg Walker
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Take Mindful Screen Breaks

Screens have a way of hijacking our time without our knowledge or conscious consent. When we login to our computers we can get sucked into a digital world and forget to come up for air. The body and mind are revitalized by mindful breaks. Today, whether you are tackling a stream of emails, editing a voluminous document or creating a PowerPoint presentation, make sure to take regular screen breaks. Set an alarm for every hour, and when it rings, make a practice of turning away from your screen for a few minutes. Maybe you’ll do a mindfulness exercise, connect with someone, or reorganize your desk. Perhaps do some deep stretches, or take a quick walk around the block. At the end of the day, notice how your energy and productivity levels are impacted by this simple practice of taking conscious breaks.