Our attempts to relax are seriously stressing us out

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[The following is an extract from the original article that was published in qz.com.]

In the digital era, a lot of us feel busier than our parents and grandparents ever were. But analyses of the way we actually use our time suggest that we’re mistaken. On the whole, we’re not doing any more work than previous generations. We don’t do any more household chores, either. So why do we feel so much busier? Continue reading…

Email is the TV of work

Watch email

It can feel good to flop in front of the TV at the end of a busy day. With a simple click you are transported and entertained. You can switch off your brain. The same is true at work. It feels good to flop in front of your screen and with a click disappear into your messages. As you plug into your inbox, you can switch off and pass the time away. All your replies, CCs and emoticons are a welcome distraction from real thinking. Email isn’t work; it’s light entertainment. Continue reading…

Creating moments with your children

How often do you say ‘Just a minute’ to your children?  My wife and I found ourselves saying it a lot, as we prioritized our terribly important busyness over our children. More often than not, by the time we were ready, the child had disappeared, or moved on and the moment was lost. A little while ago, I came down from the office and my 5 year old daughter asked me to dance.  I was, of course, busy. This time I resisted saying ‘Just a minute’ and said ‘Okay’.  We danced, and laughed for about 30 seconds.  Then, completely satisfied, she skipped off onto something else. Continue reading…

Why did you stop skipping?

skipping

I was walking down the street recently with my 7 year old son, for no apparent reason he started skipping.

I think he might have been humming too. I was struck by this spontaneous expression of joy. It got me thinking about why I stopped skipping?

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate for his work on behavioural economics, suggests we have two distinct ways of approaching happiness: through an experiencing self and a narrative self. The experiencing self is responsible for in-the-moment feelings of joy or of being ‘in flow’. Continue reading…

Pro-Creation

Procreation

Homo erectus made the same type of hand axe for 1 million years.

Not very inventive. Tools in those days changed slower than skeletons. Matt Ridely, in his brilliant TED talk ‘When ideas have sex’ explains that innovation accelerated when homo sapien came on the scene. He believes this was because of exchange, which allows ideas to be shared, combined and built upon. Nature shares and combines beneficial mutations through sexual reproduction. Continue reading…