Reading is an activity that enriches our lives. As well as providing access to vast amounts of information and knowledge, we read for entertainment. Good stories provide an escape where your imagination can lift you away.
When we read, not only are we improving our working memory, but research has shown that it makes us feel better and more positive too. Science has shown that reading has some amazing health benefits, including helping with depression, cutting stress, and reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
Global English Editing has created an infographic of world reading habits – how much we read, what we read, and where reading is taking place.
The biggest selling book in history is Don Quixote, a story which has captured the imagination of millions worldwide.
While countries such as India, Thailand, and China spend the most hours reading per week, they are not the most “literate” countries in terms of having access to a generous number of libraries, newspapers, and computers. In that regard, Finland, Norway, and Iceland are world beaters.
Although paper books have been selling well since the invention of the printing press, e-books are growing in popularity and are projected to outsell paper books by 2018.
These are just some of the fascinating facts about world reading habits found in the infographic below, courtesy of Global English Editing.
Originally published on Global English Editing’s blog.
To consider how being constantly connected through computers and mobile devices has encroached on our working lives, consider the experiment about the frog in a pan of boiling water.
A frog in a pan of cold water that is gently heated will not realise it’s boiling to death if the change is sufficiently gradual. In the same way, the web has affected our attention span and so our productivity – slowly but surely the heat of distraction has increased as decades of internet evolution has added email, websites, instant messaging, forums, social media and video.
Striving to manage technology better or wean ourselves off from distractions such as social media updates or emails can be very hard, if not virtually impossible for some. It requires serious willpower.
What’s the answer for today’s organisations – lock-down and block, and risk restricting access to genuinely useful content and services? Blocking and locking-off parts of the web can only hinder progress and innovation, or by reacting to slow to change and innovation as seen in the NHS can have a negative impact on technology uptake, especially now the internet is now made up of things.
If we are to advance knowledge, it’s essential to have access to the full gamut of content online. Whether that’s to study the effects of pornography on society or for a student’s private consumption, we have to be mature about this, there is some content on the Web that will always be demanded. In fact the government’s efforts to deal with online pornography has led to the over-zealous use of internet filters. Dumb filters performing keyword filtering inevitably led to legitimate sex education websites being blocked.
Procrastination is not new and there will always find new and inventive ways of putting-off work. But there are means to help tackle that distraction, if only for some rather than all of the time.
Eat that frog
The problem with digital distraction is often starts from the first moment we sit down at our desks, or even before we’ve got there. Once we open our email we are drawn into conversations, questions and broadcasts. The more emails appear, the more we feel compelled to deal with them.
A useful solution involves that frog again: we all have tasks we ignore and delay, nagging away at the back of our minds. We have to complete these tasks, so why not start your day by doing just that and eating that frog: instead of checking frivolous updates and emails, tackle an important task that’s hanging around first thing in the morning.
The Pomodoro Technique
The popular Pomodoro Technique, which suggests using 30 minute time slots for a single task, followed by a break, can be helpful in dedicating time to specific projects. Another way to reign in distraction is to create lists or use time management apps like 30:30 or Wunderlist. These help set up a structured pattern to the working day, which is especially useful if you need to use social media professionally but also need to carve out time to get other things done.
Meditation and mindfulness has gained much attention in the last couple of years, such as Andy Puddicombe’s popular Headspace imprint. In a busy office this offers a sensible solution to problem of losing focus. Just five minutes meditation could help quiet the mind and return focus to completing the current task. Various studies have highlighted the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on a digital worker’s productivity, and general happiness too.
Create an alternative productivity calendar
Paper diaries are still often used, if less so with the modern proliferation of electronic alternatives. These often dictate the modern worker’s routine, so much so that they fill in the spaces with fractured and incomplete tasks. Another solution is to create a personal online calendar to overlay a work calendar. By scheduling everything, from checking social media and emails to family time and free periods, it’s possible to make better use of the time you have.
Self-management starts with you
There comes a time to cut back on things that aren’t good for you, whether that’s food, drink, or social media. We realise that seeking distraction from our daily tasks is not healthy, especially if we can minimise it.
Professor Steve Peters has helped many high-profile sports stars control this impulsive, emotional part of the brain – something he calls the “chimp brain”. The easiest way to do so is not to feed it, for example, by not opening email. But finding a happy medium between restriction and necessary use is not easy.
Some have tried to constrain email and its effects on the workforce by turning it off for set periods. In Germany there have been calls to prevent companies from contacting employees out of hours. While this is fine for those working the nine-to-five, this no longer applies to many for a variety of reasons, some personal, some due to the nature of the work.
Self-management tools are a better option. For Google users there is an app called Inbox Pause which does just that, preventing new email distraction. There’s also restrictions for email on mobile devices that only updates when connected to known work or home networks – which means less chance of compulsively checking while out and about or on holiday.
But all of these require commitment, and like any lifestyle modification there has to be a willingness to change. Technology will continue to embed itself within our lives at home and at work, especially the use of smartphones. So if we feel the need to reign-in the distractions, whatever app or technique we choose to help us, it hinges on our own self-discipline.
Ready for a BIG treasure hunt? These legendary riches turned out to be real, and are still waiting to be found…
You will find in this video the latest news and discoveries about them. World’s most priceless fortunes that have been buried and then forgotten, that were misplaced without explanation, or just mysteriously disappeared. Many have been missing so long they have transformed from treasure to legend to rumor…
One of our greatest abilities as humans is to invent and create, so the folks from AsapSCIENCE broke down the 71 most significant innovations of all time, from the invention of the spoken word up to the Hubble Telescope in 1990.
The last one featured in this video is more than 20 years old, so we’re sure there’s a few that came up since that time that should be added, such as the carbon nanotube.
Earlier today it was reported by Redhawk at Standing Rock in North Dakota that two police officers have turned in their badges in support of the water protectors.
“There have been at least 2 reports of police officers turning in their badges acknowledging that this battle is not what they signed up for. You can see it in some of them, that they do not support the police actions. We must keep reminding them they are welcome to put down their weapons and badge and take a stand against this pipeline as well. Some are waking up.” -Redhawk
With actions from militarized police continuing to be seen as extremely violent and dangerous, this news is a big win for the water protectors and for humanity as a whole. While the actions of some police officers are not appropriate, we all must continue to visualize and intend/pray that the hearts of all involved in this situation continue to open. Police must be held accountable for their actions, though we must continue to welcome them over to the side of the water protectors.
Having the police lay down their weapons and join the people is the goal. It is also a win-win solution, which is the best case scenario. So what is it that opened the hearts of these two officers?
At the time of this writing, the answer is not known but we can speculate on a few different items.
Word is spreading quickly that there are 17 multi-national banks funding this pipelineand that the propaganda being spread about this deal “creating American jobs” or “helping America’s economy” is being seen as just that, propaganda. The American people, as well as people of the world, know that the big banks and U.S. Government does not care for the people, but only themselves. These banks and the government showed their hand in 2008 when they were bailed out after the stock market crash, leaving the public to bear the economic and social burdens. Even the police are becoming aware of this fact that the government and banks do not care for them and see the police only as pawns in a bigger game the government wishes to control.
Water is life is not just a meaningless slogan in many people’s minds. It is becoming understood by more and more that water IS indeed life. If water becomes toxic, all life that depends on that water becomes toxic…including the families of these same police officers who are currently protecting the construction sites. They too would be affected by toxic water.
It is innately traumatizing for humans to hurt other humans. While we have been seeing this for some time now with this situation, police officers are realizing the harm they do when they assault an unarmed, peaceful water protector. In essence, peace is wanting and needing to be established.
Take a look at what happened in Frankfurt, Germany in May of 2012. The police removed their helmets and began marching with the people who were protesting the big banks, while also safely escorting them down the streets.
Let us all use this latest news as a big step forward towards peace and resolution of this pipeline issue. The pipeline construction needs to and must stop. With the announcement from Barack Obama yesterday that the White House is considering “re-routing” the pipeline, we must continue to demand that it’s construction cease entirely. We can also view that statement as a buckling of the Establishment. Continue on, water protectors. Truth and love is spreading.
Recent news of a strange signal from deep space turned out to be a false alarm, not an alien transmission, but it did beg the question: what kind of civilization would be able to communicate from across the universe?