5 ways to work smart and be happy

Living a quality life means being able to dedicate your time to the things that really matter. We live lives too full of things to do, and the phrase “I don’t have time” has become a refrain that signals how many sacrifices we are forced to make.
For this, the first step to living better is to understand what is profoundly important to you, and decide what to remove from the list accordingly. Identify things – and even more people! – that count is an indispensable requirement.

In addition to what you like to do, you need to clarify with yourself what you are good at. Your talent, your skills, the qualities that you have cultivated and that make you the person you are.

Keep asking yourself important questions. What are the goals that have marked your life so far? What others do you stand before? What are you proud of?

One bite at a time

It is one of my favorite sayings, and it explains very well the method of  chunking  ( dividing into pieces): breaking up the objectives into small things that can be achieved over a defined period of time, whether it be days, weeks or even years.

You may not be able to travel the world in the next two years, but you may be able to break this ambitious project into smaller goals and make trips that can satisfy you and make your life beautiful. Remember that perfection is not a requirement. Nobody rationally thinks of “making the perfect wedding”: you fall in love and get married, knowing that there will be magnificent days and horrible days.

If you aim for perfection, you will never be satisfied and you probably won’t find the momentum to do the things that could make you happy.
One useful thing to find space in our busy lives is to escape a “captivity” imposed on us by the times we live in. We must learn the art of disconnection.

One thing for everyone: young Americans in the 8/18 age group spend about 7 hours a day consuming content. It is normal for them to be connected to at least one electronic device, be it a computer, smartphone or TV. Because of this continuity, being disconnected even for a very short period causes them anxiety and stress.

If you really want to rethink your way of living and working, you must understand the difference between being always connected and not being connected, because the consequences of these two conditions on interpersonal relationships, but also on yourself, are very important.

Learning to live disconnected can start with small things, like taking your headphones off when you run in the morning, or turning off your devices in the evening at a set time. Each has its own right solution to find the method and the space best suited to their needs.

Multitasking does not exist

Multitasking,  i.e. doing several things at the same time, is a concept born in the nineties for a misunderstanding. Thanks to the performance of advanced processors, the computing speed of the computers became so high as to allow them to switch from one activity to another without the human eye perceiving this passage, in other words making them perceive how they were carried out simultaneously.

If not even the computer works in  multitasking , but in  multishifting  (multiple shifts), how can we humans do better?
You can do several things at once if it’s simple actions, like eating a sandwich while walking or listening to a  podcast  while running in the park, but if you have to do important and complex work, all your attention is needed.

In addition, our primitive brain leads us to be subject to distractions: once upon a time any new information could be useful for survival; now that the world is besieging us with stimuli, this receptive being gives the worst of itself. Think about how you act while you are driving: although you know it is dangerous, you continue to pay attention to a thousand things instead of keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

It is scientifically proven (study by Irvine University of California) that switching from one activity to another significantly increases the time needed to do things, because returning to focus on an interrupted task costs 23 minutes. Even worse are the consequences of  multitasking  combined with technology.

According to a study by the University of Sussex, overlapping the use of electronic terminals affects our brain at a physiological level and alters its performance: the researchers found that the brain of those who use the cell phone to read or play while watching TV has a decrease in density in the anterior cingulate cortex, an area responsible for empathy, emotions and cognitive control.

The chunking method   starts from recognizing that we can only focus on a limited number of things at any given moment.

Our brain is  chunking  continuously to memorize, think for example of a telephone number: to remember it you probably organize it by groups of digits. On average, the best learning outcomes are by dividing information into groups of 3. So the ideal “chunking size” for information is 3.

The key concept is that we can transform information and activities into manageable events with minimal stress, using our energies effectively and efficiently.

The to-do list, pros and cons

Organizing a complete  to do list  is difficult if you don’t follow good rules.