Live Longer, Get Smarter, And Lose Weight With Cogi
Sound too good to be true? Consider that recent studies have shown that both multitasking and lack of sleep can contribute to a loss of up to 10 IQ points—each. That’s 20 IQ points just for trying to be more efficient and laying awake at night worrying about stuff. Add to that, that lack of sleep often contributes to unwanted weight gain and that both multitasking and sleep deprivation not only add to the stress in one’s life, but can actually compound it.
We’ve all been there, rushing to get caught up, staying up late or getting up early to find some extra time in our day. And yet recent studies have shown that stress is one of the major factors contributing to poor health. Still the temptation is there, to somehow get more done within the same amount of time.
Recently, the New York Times ran in a compelling article highlighting the downside of multi-tasking. And while many of us want to believe that multitasking can make us more productive, research has shown that multitaskers actually have a harder time focusing on tasks and experience more stress than non-multitaskers.
In a series of tests conducted at Stanford, researchers discovered that heavy multitaskers not only tend to be more sensitive to incoming information but can even become addicted to the stimulus of new information and the need to respond to it, and that even after the multitasking ends this effect still continues. In one experiment, subjects were asked to view a series of images containing red rectangles and asked if any of the red rectangles had moved. Subjects were then given the same task only this time with blue rectangles mixed in and told to ignore them. The results were surprising, the non-multitaskers had no problem ignoring the extraneous blue rectangles, whereas the multitaskers performed significantly worse. What researchers noticed was that multitaskers are more sensitive to all incoming information and less able to filter out extraneous information. Other tests showed that mutlitaskers were more drawn to looking for new information rather than putting older, more valuable information to work. In other words multitaskers were actually less productive overall.
In a related article, the London Institute of Psychiatry was able to demonstrate that people who jump from task to task to react to email or text messages experience a similar effect on the mind as losing a night’s sleep. And those who are regularly distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point drop in their IQ.
That’s also same drop in IQ points that comes from lack of sleep. In a different study conducted at Stanford, researchers likened the effect that lack of sleep has on our mental and physical abilities to that of alcohol. That is people who suffered from disrupted sleep who were tested for reaction time performed as poorly as people who were legally drunk. And if that wasn’t bad enough there may even be a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. Research has shown that lack of sleep triggers the body to seek additional energy by eating more. In an article from the Washington Post from several years ago, studies show that lack of sleep can not only impact, but when combined with stress affect, many aspects of our physical and psychological well-being.
So where does Cogi fit in? First of all we can’t change anyone’s lifestyle, but we can help you win back an hour of your day and maybe even help you rest easy at night. How many times have you had an important meeting where ideas and action items were happening at high-speed, major decisions were reached and people needed to be notified of the outcome. What do you do, try to takes notes, while paying attention, while participating in the meeting, while everyone else is talking? And then after the meeting do you try to decipher your notes, summarize the meeting and message everyone who was there with their action items. And what about the people who weren’t there, how do you get them up to speed?
With Cogi there’s an easier way, you can record any meeting whether it is a telephone conference call or an in office meeting using our down-loadable recording software or by using our access line. You can even record those meetings with our iPhone app. During the meeting you can flag and even annotate important sections of the recording for easy review. After the meeting, from your online portfolio, you can request a transcript of the entire recording or just the highlights. You can even share the recording along with the transcripts, from your secure online portfolio with anyone, whether they were at the meeting or not, just by entering their email.
Doesn’t that sound better than trying to multitask during the meeting or losing sleep later trying to reconstruct who said what?
Who needs that kind of stress? As Personal Productivity guru David Allen observes, stress creates its own vicious cycle. “Guess where most of those fires and crises come from [in our lives]?…from secondary things that were ignored because of all the fires and crises. This syndrome does not self-correct, it self-perpetuates.” In other words our own busyness does not save us as we’ve been lead to believe.
The only way to break this cycle is to take control of your time, and as counter intuitive as it sounds, slow down. Eliminate unnecessary tasks, focus on one activity at a time and then schedule in and take downtime. This last one is critical as it is not merely enough to schedule downtime one must actually take it in and enjoy it for it to be effective.
And while there are some of us (less than 3%) who are able to function effectively while juggling multiple tasks simultaneously, and others who seem to thrive on stress and can function with little or no sleep, the rest of us are either not as fortunate as these “super taskers” or not as willing to burn ourselves out. And so for the rest of us there’s Cogi