Self-Care, Happiness, Emotional/Social Intelligence: A bibliography

I recently had the privilege of keynoting the Access Services conference on November 12, 2015 (slides available on slideshare.)   I offered to put together a bibliography of the articles and research that informed some of my points around emotional and social intelligence, mindfulness, happiness, health, stress, and effectiveness.  Here it is!

This bibliography skews more towards “popular” books, articles, and resources as opposed to clinical studies and academic research.  This was a conscious choice I made because so many of the “popular” articles contain links and references to the harder science, and I thought this approach would be of more value to the layperson or casual reader, while still providing a pathway into the research for those so inclined to dive deeper.

If there are books, articles, videos, workshops, or other resources that have been helpful to you, please share your recommendations in the comments section.

Thank you and enjoy!

Articles and Blog Posts

Books

  • Becoming a Resonant Leader: Develop Your Emotional Intelligence, Renew Your Relationships, Sustain Your Effectiveness.  by Annie McKee, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Fran Johnston. Harvard Business Review Press, 2008.
  • Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.  By Daniel Goleman. Harper Paperbacks, 2015.
  • Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life.  By Barbara Frederickson. Harmony, 2009.
  • Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. Harvard Business School Press,  2005.
  • The Scientific Power of Naps. Asap Science Video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ_f9onTTQE.
  • Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace).  By Chade-Meng Tan.  HarperOne, 2014.  (see also: https://www.youtube.com/user/Siyli)
  • The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.  By Alex Korb.   New Harbinger Publications, 2015.
  • Working with Mindfulness – Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations. (Kindle Only)  by Mirabai Bush, Jeremy Hunter, Daniel Goleman,  Richard Davidson, George Kohlrieser . More Than Sound, 2015.  http://www.amazon.com/Working-Mindfulness-Research-Techniques-Organizations-ebook/dp/B00E67LDQS .
  • Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.   By David Rock. HarperBusiness, 2009.

Other Resources

Learn More, do Nothing: The Importance of rest and renewal

Would you like to be more creative?  Learn faster?  Super, all you need to do is… Nothing.

Interested?  Read the complete post over at ALA Learning
(also archived below on 3/27/13)

October 9, 2010 update:  Check out Bobbi Newman’s post on the connection between innovation and working less


The New York Times reported this week that researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have found that rats don’t learn from experience until they take a break from the experience.  The break gives them time to process and create persistent memories.  Furthermore, the researchers believe that their findings almost certainly apply to the way humans learn. Uh oh…

Why uh oh?  Because many humans are increasingly connected to our ipads, blackberrys, smartphones, and laptops, keeping our brains engaged continually throughout the day.  And while all of that ubiquitous connectivity offers us the possibility of reaching heretofore unreachable levels of efficiency and productivity it seems that it might come at a price:  The Times reports that “when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas. ”

Having recently started a new job, I can attest to the fact that there’s nothing like a silent drive or a brief nap to process and organize a great deal of new information.  My 45 minute commute home might be the most productive part of my day, as that’s where all of the sense-making is happening.  Strange as it may seem, sleeping has also been incredibly productive as I awake many mornings with a number of ideas synthesized from the previous day’s conversations, observations, and readings.

So as we come to the end of another summer and start getting geared up for the busier days of Fall let’s take a moment to remember:  There might be no better way to learn than by stopping, unplugging, and doing absolutely nothing.

Photo Credit: Simone Ramella via Compfight cc

Battledecks at ALA: Try this at your next Staff Day!

Image Courtesy of John LeMasney   (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Image Courtesy of John LeMasney (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Learning Round Table co-sponsored (along with ALA) a Battledecks competition at ALA, and (perhaps I’m understating this) a good time was had by all.  Below is the video to prove it!

Battledecks is a fun improv exercise that challenges contestants to deliver a presentation on the fly using an unknown slidedeck containing random (and often hilarious) slides.  The contestants are judged on their ability to create a coherent presentation that incorporates the slide content smoothly.  Laughs and getting through all of the slides on time are a plus.

If you think Battledecks looks like fun, consider a competition at your next Staff Development Day.  Between contestants, judges, and slidedeck makers, there’s lots of opportunity for involvement—and as you can see from the video below, the audience is pretty involved too!

Direct link to playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=26F1EA6AD67D14D2

 

A big thanks to Janie Hermann for coordinating the Battledecks event, and to all of our judges and slidemakers!  A special thanks to our good friend John LeMasney of 365sketches.org for designing and sharing (through Creative Commons license) a wonderful Battledecks logo!

Research confirms: Goofing off at work makes you a better employee

A new study by a bunch of Australians with too much time on their hands confirms what Library Garden has previously reported: Not working makes you a better worker.

That’s right folks! Employees who surf the net, check Facebook, send some tweets, or regularly check on the latest Brangelina update (are they pregnant? are they adopting again? does Jennifer Aniston always have to be mentioned in these articles?) are actually MORE PRODUCTIVE. Don’t believe me? Here’s what Wired reported:

The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not.

Isn’t that great? But wait, it gets better. There’s even a new pseudoscientfic euphamistic acronym:

Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said “workplace Internet leisure browsing,” or WILB, helped to sharpened (sic) workers’ concentration.

So the next time you’re caught watching the sneezing baby panda video you can confidently look your supervisor in the eye and say, “Goofing off? Why no boss, I was WILBing. Scientific research has proven that a good Wilb makes me 9% more productive.”

If your boss still has a problem with your wilbful behavior, you can claim, “I just have a bursty style, not a busy style, which means that although it might appear to the untrained eye that I’m never actually working, you’ll notice that all my work actually gets done.”

If this line is delivered correctly, it will create a moment of confusion as your boss ponders the busy/bursty conundrum, giving you a small window of opportunity to slip away for a donut break.

Happy WILBing!

Clutter Lovers Unite: Don’t stress about the mess!

I was gratified this morning to read this article in the New York Times by Sara Rimer: An orderly office? That’s personal. The article reports on Lisa Whited, an interior designer who specializes in adapting work spaces to the needs, habits, and goals of their users. She’s not your typical “get rid of the clutter now!” organizer. Instead of boilerplate suggestions for getting organized, Whited begins her jobs by interviewing clients to determine their specific work habits and styles.

What particularly caught my attention was that after interviewing her client (the author of the article), Whited surmised that she was the kind of person who needed to see things in front of her or else she forgot she had them, so putting things away in a filing cabinet might not be an effective organizational strategy. Reading those words, I wanted to reach into the paper (well, into the laptop–I read the paper online now) and wrap my arms around Whited and thank her for validating my life.

Out of Sight Out of Mind
See, I’m an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of guy. Just today I came to work without my wallet (it was “put away” in a drawer), and twice last week I came to work without my phone (it was charging in another room.) I pretty much have to organize my morning so that anything that requires my attention — phone, wallet, pants  (well, maybe not pants, I’ve effectively habitualized that one) — needs to be visible to me when I’m leaving the house.

Likewise, with work. My whole organizational strategy is about keeping important things in my field of vision. If I’m not looking at it, it may as well not exist. (Note to friends and family: Apologies for being out of touch but I forgot that you existed.)

Since there’s only so much that I can keep on my desk, it’s generally not possible or practical to have too many physical reminders (notes, papers, etc.) in my field of vision. That’s why I rely heavily – VERY heavily – on text message and email reminders which I liberally set for myself using Google Calendar. (Note to Google Calendar: I’m not saying I’d leave my wife for you, but I admit we have something very special.)

Everyone I’ve ever worked with has learned that I will not see a message unless it’s placed on my chair seat. I’ve learned that if I need to do something first thing in the morning, I leave a note on my keyboard where I can’t miss it. Before text message reminders came into my life I relied heavily on taping notes to the doorknob at home (“remember to go to meeting in Trenton this morning!”)

While paper reminders in my field of vision can help, they also have their downside. One piece of paper can be accidentally placed over another piece of paper. Or it can blow away. Or it can have coffee spilled on it. For these reasons, I’ve actually arranged my work life to be as free from paper as possible. There’s probably the equivalent of 20 reams of paper sitting on my desk right now, most of it in colored folders. 98% of it has been generated by someone else and given to me at a meeting or conference. If it’s something I think I may ever want to reference again I’ve trained myself to scan it into PDF so I have an electronic copy. One great benefit of putting everything into electronic format is that, thanks to Google Desktop Search, I can find anything I ever “touched” on my computer — email, website, pdf, etc. — immediately, and sometimes quicker!

Don’t Judge My Piles!
While these piles on my desk may look like a mess to the outside observer, I like having them visible because they remind me to look through them now and then and pull out little tidbits. A note jotted in the margin a of a Powerpoint handout from a conference presentation or a handout from a workshop I’ve given (and completely forgotten about) can trigger new insights and connections, or give me a new perspective on a problem I’m dealing with. I like the serendipity of it. It’s both relaxing to me and stimulating.

Perhaps one reason most “get organized” books fail to help people like me is that they’re written by people who are not at all like me—they’re written by people who equate neatness with organization, and assume that a neat orderly environment is an a priori good and an end unto itself. I think the authors of these books are people who feel stressed out when they see a lot of stuff so, by gum, they’re not only gonna put away their stuff, they’re gonna make sure MY stuff is put away too!

But they fail to appreciate that many people are NOT like them—we don’t function best when everything is “put away”, nor are we particularly stressed by clutter. In fact, I’m generally oblivious to clutter. I don’t even see the piles of paper on my desk.

Organization Is Not an End Unto Itself
This is what I want to tell the neatniks, declutterers, straighteners, and put-awayers of the world: Organization is a tool. It is a means to an end but it is NOT an end unto itself. The end is effectiveness. Happiness. Comfort. Flow. And I need lots of stuff around in my visual field to achieve those states. So thanks for trying to help, but my brain isn’t wired like yours. So if I need help getting organized I’ll call Lisa Whited because she understands. It’s personal.

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