Get enough sleep. Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t motivate your team through fear. Don’t spend too much time on social media.
These are things we know. And yet the daily news feed is filled with more accounts of more research that confirm these things are bad for us. The problem is, we haven’t gotten past the “surprised by this” stage and onto implementing the appropriate changes in our lives.
This really needs to stop, says human behavior scientist Jon Levy.
“Every day there is another article, video or piece of content that tells us we need to do or not do something because science has proven it’s ‘bad for us,’” Levy writes in Entrepreneur. “As a human behavior scientist, it drives me crazy that so many people are still surprised by these so-called discoveries. Did you really not know that sleep is important? Or that obsessing over your Instagram posts is unhealthy? This isn’t new.”
Levy believes it’s time to stop regurgitating the facts, and actually, start making changes in our behaviors that will enhance our happiness. Getting enough sleep, for one, is a great place to start.
“We don’t need more articles telling us that we need it,” Levy insists. “Instead, use that reading time to get more rest. If you can’t get yourself to sleep at a normal hour, stop scheduling morning meetings and go in later.”
On multitasking, his advice is just as simple, saying “stop bragging about how good you are at it.”
“Put away your phone and smartwatch while you’re in a meeting. Close all those browser tabs, shut off notifications, and focus on one task at a time. Be where you are at the moment and nowhere else,” Levy notes. (And if you really need help in staying focused, try an app like Freedom.to; I’ve been using it myself and it works surprisingly well to keep me on task.)
Much of the distraction – and a lot of the stress and unhappiness – in our daily lives comes from social media. Again, not surprising; we’ve all seen the studies that the more time we spend on social, the more likely we are to be depressed.
Again, the advice is clear. Stop it.
“It is acceptable to occasionally check social media to get updates on friends and family. However, the moment it turns from joy for your friend to jealousy, you should probably take a break and enjoy some in-person social interaction,” Levy recommends.
I find that looking to my emotional state is a good barometer. If I find myself having any negative response to social – including muttering under my breath about this or that opinion – it’s time to shut it down.
And finally, interact, in real time, with real humans. We know this is critical, and we all “tsk tsk” the people staring at their phones in a crowd, yet how often are we doing this ourselves?
“Liking a post on Facebook is not social interaction,” Levy reminds us. “It does not make you feel significantly closer to someone like a hug does. Go out and make meaningful connections. Join a club, go to a meetup or take a class.”
He’s right; we know these things. They’ve been written about so often. Today, let’s start to make those changes to bring more happiness and fulfillment back into our lives. I’m in.