By: Wieke von Scheidt
Why do people have trouble staying focused?
Staying focused eight hours straight every day is a goal that most people strive for, but no matter how hard we try, it is impossible. Why? Experts say that the average attention span in adults is between 20 and 40 minutes.
Even though our preferred goal is to stay focused for eight full hours a day, our brain is not developed to function that way. The opposite often occurs when we try to stay on task for a long period of time – that is, we get easier distracted. Market research firm uSamp found that 53% of people waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions. Collaboration tools that are supposed to increase productivity at work, continuous noises, overflowing email inboxes and the frequent feeling of being fatigued, let our minds keep wandering off.
In addition to the loss of hours, our body takes a toll when trying to work without proper breaks. People often turn to coffee to keep from getting tired, this can lead to sleep insomnia. According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. In order to function properly adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day. Many don’t get the necessary amount of sleep needed and it starts affecting their concentration. So, what can you do to maintain the level of concentration you need to get all your work done?
Studies show that taking frequent breaks helps to increase focus and productivity tremendously. Many employees don’t take enough breaks during the day, some don’t even take any at all but that doesn’t seem to increase the amount of work they get done. People that don’t take breaks tend to get distracted easier than people who break frequently.
Draugiem Group, a social networking company based in Latvia has demonstrated this by using an app called DeskTime. Employees were to work for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break. During this break employees did things completely unrelated to work and without the use of electronics, like going for a walk, chatting with co-workers, or reading a book.
The problem is that many fear to appear lazy or unproductive. It is important that employers support this method and show their employees that it is ok to take these breaks. In the end the whole organization will benefit from this approach.
If you have the ability to exercise during your breaks, do so. It’s been proven that moving around will increase concentration levels – even if you just go for a walk outside. Dr. John J. Ratey a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School explained how a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released, which plays a role in the improvement of cognitive health. The image below shows best the level of activity in the brain of a person in a serenity state versus a person who has been active for 20 minutes.
In addition to what happens in the brain, exercising regularly benefits the whole body – leading to lower health risks.
The Right Nutrition
Nutrition can make a significant difference on concentration capacity, especially when consumed at the right timing. A study by the International Labor Office shows poor diet can impact up to 20% of work productivity. It is very common that office cafeterias don’t offer a balanced meal selection. In other cases employees only have 30 minutes and run to the next Fast Food restaurant. Some may underestimate the importance of the right nutrition and their connection to mental and physical functions. Of all nutrients water is probably the most important; studies have shown that not drinking enough water will not only dehydrate your body but also decrease your level of focus and short-term memory. Other foods that increase energy and concentration include blueberries, fish, avocado, green tea, and dark chocolate.
Make a To-Do List
Making a to-do list is one of the most effective ways to get work done and stay on tasks. However, many seem to struggle creating a list and following it. There are too many distractions during the day that keep us from staying focused. Making a list will not only help you stay organized but also help finish the work you intended to do. Here are a few tips on how to write and follow the to-do list effectively.
Write Your to do list the night before
Writing your to-do list the night before will save you time and energy, which you will need in the morning to be most productive.
Get out your calendar
Take a look at your calendar, check appointments that are coming and determine what you need to for these meetings.
Make a random list of all the things you have to get done and then prioritize, listing the most important tasks first.
Check your emails
Check your email inbox when you arrive at work. Set a timeframe, like 30 minutes to read and respond to emails. After that don’t check it again for at least an hour or until you finished the first important task on your to-do list. Checking our email inbox is one of the most distracting things that keep us from focusing. As soon as we open our inbox we see an important email and feel the need to respond to it. Before we know it we will respond to the next, and the next, and the next, until we forget what we were actually concentrating on.
Set a Realistic Time
Setting a realistic timeframe is often difficult; people underestimate the time they really need to finish a task. So, be realistic and add an extra 30 minutes if you are unsure. It is better to have more time than to feel rushed. The same applies to emails, decide on how often you want to check your emails and set aside a certain time to respond to them.
The end of the day
Before you leave go over your to-do list and make sure you finished everything. Then start your new list for the following day.
Especially in the afternoon people tend to get groggy and crash easily. If that’s the case you should try Clarex. Compared to caffeine containing beverages it will keep you focused without the crash effect. If you do prefer to drink coffee you should try to drink it in the morning only. Generally, caffeine stays in your system for about 5 to 6 hours before it starts to wear off. Drinking coffee early in the day will decrease the chance of insomnia later on at night. Clarex will also help prevent caffeine jitters that tend to plague many coffee consumers.
Overall people’s ability to stay focused is limited. Scientists have proven that the human brain can only concentrate for a short period of time like up to 52 minutes. It is just a matter of us learning how to be more productive by taking frequent breaks, moving around, staying organized, making lists etc. There are many ways one can return to a good level of focus and the ones above are only a few.
By: Antoniya Nemtserova
Every New Year’s Eve we pick some of our negative habits and tell ourselves that this is the year to get rid of them. We wake up enthusiastic on January 1 and start working on kicking that bad habit to the curb. As the months go by people tend to become lazy again and eventually that once mentioned goal verges to oblivion until the following Year. Why is that approximately 40% of Americans share this common goal of trying to improve themselves and why is it that according to University of Scranton only 8% of them actually achieve their goals?
Don’t Overload Your Brain with numerous small and too complicated scenarios for achieving as many small and insignificant goals. Sit down and think seriously what is that single goal, that once achieved would make you truly happy, proud of yourself, and a step closer to your perfect self. Think hard. Make a list. Pick the one and take off. Remember, it is your satisfaction and elevated confidence at the end that is the real ultimate goal of this exercise.
Setting goals is always exciting and motivating, at least in the beginning but the success rate of achieving that specific goal often tends to plummet depending on how vague or immense it is. The pitfall of the excessively complex goal is it may turn into an allegory of unreachable happiness – so close and yet never close enough. A goal whose progress of achievement we cannot measure nor relate to on a daily basis. It is rather detrimental for both, our levels of satisfaction and perspectives for success. That’s why it is better to be specific; instead of promising ourselves to lose an unspecified amount of weight this year, we should decide on how often a week we will go to the gym or how many pounds we want to lose each month.
Quitting smoking is another popular resolution, which is almost impossible to achieve if we don’t realize that making small steps toward it is still progress. It is easier to promote ourselves by cutting in half the number of cigarettes we smoke per day and feel winners, rather than quitting cold turkey. Saying “I am not going to smoke ever again” will later leave us feeling miserable because we couldn’t keep up with our overrated promise.
Rather than setting a vague goal, be specific! Make baby steps and turn your goal into a habit which is an achievement in itself and eventually can become a long term success.
It’s this time of the year again, Thanksgiving has just passed, Christmas is right around the corner and New Year’s is not too far behind either. This can be a very stressful time for families – holiday parties, Christmas shopping, cookie exchanges, and the pressure of New Years Eve plans. With people having all kinds of obligations, November and December are two of the busiest months of the year. That’s why it is important to learn how to manage stress during this time. Here are some tips to help you remain sane.
Got parties to plan, guests to invite and dinners to organize? Why wait till the last minute? I know it’s hard to get into holiday mood and start planning when Halloween is still two weeks out, but it will take a lot of pressure off of you later. Get your Calendar out, pick some dates, invite guests early, plan your menus, and make a shopping list. If you plan ahead you don’t have to worry about having multiple things on your plate at the same time. Once the organizational part is over, you can sit back, relax a little and start thinking about Christmas gifts. People are also more likely to be able to attend your festivities if you invite them early; most likely their calendar is still empty.
Make a list
If you are one of those last minute shoppers it is no wonder that you are stressed out. Buying gifts takes some thought, especially when you have a big family. Last minute shopping only adds to your stress level because shopping Malls are jam packed with people hurrying to get the last minute presents, just like you. Even if you are jumping into the turmoil with a calm attitude, which I doubt, considering Christmas is only a couple days away, the atmosphere of rush and impatience will rub off on you as soon as you step foot into that Mall. So why do we want to do this to ourselves? Again, plan ahead and make a list early. One of the things I do that helps me get my Christmas shopping done early is listening to friends and family year round and taking note about their complaints regarding a product or a mention of something they want. This way, when Christmas or even birthdays roll around, I always have something handy.
Stick to a budget
Money is probably one of the main factors leading to stress. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot or not you want to have a budget no matter what. Not only for presents but also for the holiday parties you are throwing and those you are attending. So before you go shopping for presents and food decide how much money you have to spend and don’t go over your budget. If you have some money left over from that budget, stick it into a family piggy bank or give back to your community by making a donation. This will not only make someone else happy, it will also make you feel great.
Leave the planning to someone else
You have been the one planning all the holiday parties, making meal plans and inviting everyone for the past, you cannot even remember how long. Let someone else take charge for once. Ask one of your family members to move Thanksgiving or Christmas to their house this year. “We go overboard to please others during the holidays: shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every event,” says George Pratt, PhD, a psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California. “Instead, take care of yourself by saying no at least once—and maybe more.”
Coping with the Holiday Blues
It’s not unusual to feel sad or depressed during this time of the year. Instead of the joy we are expecting to feel, loneliness often overcomes us when, for instance, thinking of loved ones we have lost. Emotions like that are only normal and need to be recognized as such, especially when still in the grieving period. During this time it is important to stay busy and spent time with the people we care about and who care about us. Try out something new, volunteer, or do something active. Under significant circumstances it may help to seek professional help.
No matter what the case may be that’s adding to your stress level, make a change and learn to manage it better. That way you can really enjoy the holiday period.
Being able to read and understand nutrition and supplement labels is not only helpful but also important. For the sake of our health we need to know what we feed into our body on a daily basis. Nutrition and Supplement Labels don’t look exactly alike and for individuals who have never read either one before, they may seem very overwhelming.
Before learning about labels we need to understand the difference between food labels and supplement labels. Food or Nutrition Labels are labeled as Nutrition Facts at the top of the table, while dietary supplements are labeled as Supplement facts. Products marked as nutrition facts are sold as food and all ingredients are approved by the FDA. Dietary supplements on the other hand are not evaluated by the FDA but have to follow their guidelines and are sold as a supplement.
Both are closely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These organizations not only monitor exactly what goes into our foods and supplements but also created uniform layouts as well as definitions for each term. This is so all terms have the exact same meaning for different products.
1) Start Here
This section shows the amount of one serving size, usually it is 1 cup but it varies depending on the food. In addition it states how many of those servings are in the entire container.
2) Check Calories
Calories are an important source of energy – it measures how much energy a food or beverage contains; from carbohydrates, fat, protein, or alcohol. The amount of calories consumed varies from person to person.
3) Limit these
Fat is important for our body but it should be limited. There are good sources of fat such as unsaturated fats; polysaturated (Omega-3 and Omega-6) and monosaturated fats that our body needs. Fats that should be limited or even eliminated from ones diet are saturated and trans fats. Both can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol and Sodium should also be consumed in small quantities to prevent the risk of heart disease.
4) Get Enough of these Nutrients
Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals are good nutrients that support overall health. They reduce risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions.
The “*” states the recommended amount based on a daily 2,000 calorie diet. This will help individuals who follow a diet close to 2000 calories determine how much of a certain nutrient they have to consume. Note that altering serving sizes will skew the amount of nutrients consumed.
6) Quick Guide
The % of Daily Value section serves as guidance to how much of a certain nutrient is consumed based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Each nutrient is based on 100% daily requirement and helps determine whether the content of a nutrient is high or low in one serving. Less than 5% is considered low, while more than 20% is considered high. The DV also helps to compare products, as long as the serving sizes are the same.
The list of ingredients is the backbone of every product. It lists exactly what substances the product is made out of. You should pay close attention to it. The ingredients are listed in descended order with the main ingredients first. Sometimes a product will advertise that it is made out of a certain nutrient but it is very far down on the list. This means the food or beverage contains that substance but the way it’s weighted in coherence to the other ingredients might not be as high as it is advertised.
Supplements are taken by mouth, often in form of a pill or capsule and are intended to complement ones diet. Supplement Labels are slightly different from Nutrition Labels.
Just like nutrition labels, supplements show the serving size and the entire serving per container.
This section lists all the key ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, whole herbs, botanical extracts, amino acids, other ingredients such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and nutritional metabolites along with their amounts per serving and percentage of daily value if applicable.
Below the black bold line is often where companies list a proprietary blend, which is a product specific blend that does not have to list the amount per serving. Companies often develop a proprietary blend to make their product unique from other products on the market.
Other ingredients don’t have any beneficial value to the supplement. They are ingredients used to make capsules, pills, etc. It also states the directions of the recommended amount and any warnings that maybe associated with taking the product in combination with others.
Resources:http://images.flatworldknowledge.com/white/white-fig08_005.jpg http://www.theralogix.com/index.cfm?fa=products.theromegasport.labelreading&dvsn=sports http://www.nowfoods.com/Quality/Are-Supplements-Safe/099459.htm http://www.cncahealth.com/explore/learn/nutrition-supplements/supplement-savvy-part-1-understanding-food-and-supplement-labels
With the start of the Fall season the flu is not the only highly contagious disease we need to worry about. People are getting increasingly concerned about a virus, called Enterovirus D68 that is slowly making its way from state to state. Parents are particularly worried because it affects children more often than adults. The symptoms start out with a mild cold to later become more severe, affecting children’s respiratory system.
What is it?
Enteroviruses have been around for a long time, usually causing colds, fever, headaches, vomiting, and rashes in addition to other symptoms. EV-D68 is an unusual strain causing more severe symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. This may cause particular concerns for parents with children who have lung problems or asthma because it is harder to recognize. In some cases kids had been hospitalized because they required mechanical ventilator in order to breathe properly. The Center of Disease Control is paying close attention to the development of this virus.
How can you get it?
D68 is spreading like many other viruses through body fluids, like saliva, nasal secretion, as well as other kinds of interactions. The time of year Enteroviruses seem to affect more people is in the Summer and the numbers decrease in the Fall.
How to protect yourself?
- Keep away from sick people
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for about 20 seconds
- Don’t put backpacks, purses, jackets or other items on restroom floors and counters.
- Pack reusable water bottles instead of using public water fountains.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you
- Don’t share bottles, and utensils
- Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant wipes
- Avoid hugging and kissing while being sick
How to treat it?
There is no vaccine or specific medication to treat Enteroviruses. All that can be done is to relief patience of symptoms through mechanical ventilators, and over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. Therefore it is important for parents to take be cautious and take preliminary actions to avoid infections.
For more detailed information visit Centers of Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/index.html
Over the years energy drinks have gained in popularity, especially in the sporting industry. They claim to boost the immune system, as well as enhance performance and endurance. That’s why 30 to 50 percent of teens and young adults purchase these drinks. What effect do energy drinks have on the body when consumed on a regular basis?
Drinking energy drinks like Redbull, Monster, or Rockstar once in a while when you need a little boost to make it through a long drive is relatively harmless. However, once someone starts drinking them on a regular basis their body will develop a dependency. This causes a problem for your body’s overall health because excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar are consumed. This can lead to increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and weight, while causing insomnia, and dehydration. In the long run your body will feel worse.
The most common ingredients and their effects:
Caffeine is by far the most widely used stimulant in energy boosting products around the world. According to studies, 300 to 400 mg of caffeine a day, which varies by individual, will start causing initial symptoms such as increase in heartbeat, jitters, and/or insomnia. Caffeine dependency can already develop after only 5 to 7 days of regularly intake. Individuals may notice light withdrawal symptoms. For further side effects please read negative effects of caffeine from an earlier article. Currently caffeine is not required to be listed in ingredients. However, many companies list the substance voluntarily. This regulation may change in the near future due to the high amount found in energy drinks. FDA is trying to determine how to regulate the amount of caffeine listed.
Taurine is an amino acid, naturally produced in the body and used in many energy drinks. Taurine is said to support neurological developments and regulate the level of water and mineral salt in the blood. There are claims that it improves athletic performance and when mixed with caffeine increases mental performance.
Sugar is the basic nutrient used for energy production in the body. Even though the body needs sugar, too much of it can lead to various health problems. Energy drinks are loaded with sugar, often in large quantities and hidden behind healthy sounding names such as “natural cane sugar”. Some energy drinks contain up to 62 grams of sugar (15 1/2 teaspoons) worth—per 16-ounce. Some of the negative effects of sugar are:
- Tooth decay
Guarana is a substance from a South American plant. It’s a very popular ingredient for energy drinks because of its high caffeine content. Guarana contains more caffeine than any other plant in the world, including the coffee bean. There are some claims that Guarana promotes weight loss when combined with other ingredients. So if you read Guarana on the label of an energy drink already containing caffeine, it just means more caffeine.
Inositol is a naturally occurring vitamin that is produced from glucose. It’s considered a brain food because it is necessary for brain support. Studies suggest that it also aids in illnesses like depression or cancer.
Ginseng is an Asian herbal supplement used for different medical reasons. Only few of them have been researched more extensively. However there is no evidence that it boosts energy.
Glucuronolactone is a natural occurring substance in the body. There is not much research on it but claims have been made that it supports mental performance.
Art Sweeteners are sugar substitutes, often used in energy drinks to lower the amount of calories. There are a variety of different artificial sweeteners. It can also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. Artificial sweeteners are chemically processed and there have been various debates on its health risks. Tests on rats run in the 70 have claimed certain sweeteners cause cancer. None of these claims have been proven to be true.
Ginkgo Biloba is extracted from the leaves of the Asian Ginkgo tree. The herb is used in various energy drinks like Rockstar. Recent studies by the US government have shown that the substance may have resulted in the development of liver and thyroid cancer in mice and rats.
L Carnitine is an amino acid produced by the body. Unless there is a deficiency the substance is relatively useless. Too much of it can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizure.
L Theanine also an amino acid that is derived from tea. Preliminary studies claim that the substance may calm the brain and enhance concentration.
No one should rely on energy drinks for the regular energy boost but rather follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. However for most people it is ok to consume energy drinks occasionally, but coffee is still a better alternative source of caffeine. Energy drinks tend to have an effect of bringing the body’s capacity from 100% to 130%. If you are looking to recover your body from 70% to 100%, try Clarex, its completely stimulant free.
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Clarex excitedly travels around the country supporting, cheering for, and engaging with YOU in a wide variety of events. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a lover of sports, at a music festival, or even at a beer garden, we’d love to come down and hook you up with our gear and product. If you’re interested in our sponsorship, feel free to send a request here: firstname.lastname@example.org
What events do we sponsor?
Clarex is ideal for post-athletic, or post celebratory recovery. For the athletes out there: Clarex loves to help runners, walkers, bikers, swimmers and anyone else who wants to stay healthy. If enjoying the sun with a beer in your hand or dancing to your favorite band is more your style, we’re here to help, too! Either way, Clarex will get you back to 100% so you’re ready to tackle the next day!
What do you get?
Clarex is happy to provide FREE product in order to make sure you and your friends stay healthy, while still having a blast. If gear is what you’re looking for, we’re happy sell you t-shirts, hats, or water bottles upon request. Please note that Clarex does not pay sponsorship fees.
How do I request a sponsorship?
It’s easy! Just send us an email here: email@example.com
How much product do we bring?
We will provide our recovery formula based on the event and the number of people we sponsor. We will ensure that you, your team and friends will have enough Clarex to help you get back to 100%.
It’s the time of the year that everybody waits for all winter long. Finally we are able to sit outside again without getting frost bites, wear those shorts that have been laying in your closet for almost a year, and do more fun stuff. I always feel like there is so much more to do in the summer than in the winter. That’s why it’s my favorite time of the year. I constantly find new activities and sometimes have to push some off to the next summer. For others, the summer is much too long especially when they are on school break and they just don’t even know what to do with themselves anymore. That’s where I thought you might appreciate some ideas.
- Water is my best Friend in the Summer
If you live in an area that is generally extremely hot in the summer have some fun in the water.
Go to the beach if you live near the ocean. It’s the best way to relax and beat the heat. Make sure you bring lots of water and sunscreen
If you are not so fortunate to live on the coast turn on your garden hose or buy attachable sprinkler. This is especially a fun way to entertain kids.
Have a water fight in your backyard. Buy lots of water balloons, invite some friends and splash them. This might sound silly to grownups but if you combine it with a grill party and some booze I guarantee you it will be a blast.
Build your own slip-and-slide. Another one of those ideas you might think only children can enjoy but you haven’t been on an adult slip and slide then. Just make sure its long, maybe downhill, and you use some soap. The more slippery the better.
You have never been camping? Now is the time to go explore the wilderness. There are many spots for camping, go on google and find out about camping spots in your area. I personally enjoy small, quiet camping spots that not many people know about. If you are a hiker you can even hike up a local mountain and set tent on top of it. Just make sure you follow camp regulations.
- Road Trip
Road trips can be fun when done with the right group of people. You can either, plan ahead and figure out exactly where you are heading, or if you are very adventures you can just drive and let the roads take you places you never knew existed.
Ever heard of rolling down a hill in a giant plastic ball? Lots of people look at me with a big question mark when I ask if they have ever been zorbing. If you go online you might be able to find a place near you that does it. I promise you it is a blast.
- Disc Golf
Another of those activities that isn’t too popular but extremely fun and affordable. There are hundreds of disc golf spots across the States, all you have to do is buy some discs, which are relatively cheap and find a course near you. It’s very similar to Frisbee except the discs are a lot heavier and you are aiming for a metal basket. It’s also something you can do over and over again without getting bored because you can visit lots of different courses.
- Enjoy Local Events
Anywhere you live, towns and cities offer events, not only in the summer but year round. Personally, I think summer events are especially nice because you can be outside. Some of them might even be free. Check your local newspaper, read signs, and keep your eyes and ears open. I have had the pleasure to enjoy lots of free concerts because I always read through local flyers and newspapers.
- Get Active
Are you bored of sitting around go do some sport. There are a variety of outdoor sports, if you don’t like working out inside a gym during the summer. Some states have local leagues you can join. Go out for a run and sign up for a little marathon. Marathons become more and more popular and organizations come up with creative ways to make a run actually be fun, for those who don’t really like to run.
- Paddle Board
You don’t necessarily need the ocean to do paddle boarding. A lake is the perfect place for it because the water is nice and calm. Grab some friends and find a place that rents paddle boards. If you are in to it, you can maybe even buy your own and take it wherever you want.
- Find a new Hobby
You don’t know what to do anymore? Now is the best time to learn a new hobby. Think about something that you always wanted to try out and do it. There are so many things; learn an instrument, learn a new sport, go rock climbing, try surfing, paint, acquire new skills. This is when you should do the things you always complain, not finding time for.
10. Explore a big City
If you live near a big city, go visit it. Cities are the best place to end your boredom. You can walk around, visit museums, find new restaurants, go shopping, go dancing, and meet new people. Cities are fun places if you know how to take advantage of them.
There is absolutely no reason to be bored in the summer and if you still are, you are doing something wrong. Every year I am overwhelmed by the amount of activities live has to offer. There is no reason to sit at home when it’s nice out, unless you don’t like the summer.
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