The subthalamic nucleus is part of the limbic system’s basal ganglia. It is called into action whenever something in our environment catches our attention. Its intended evolutionary purpose is to prepare us for fight or flight by automatically narrowing our focus on certain external stimuli that might pose a threat to us.
The problem is, the subthalamic nucleus has been co-opted by modern technology and that technology is making it much more difficult to focus on tasks.
In the modern age of email notifications, text message notifications, Facebook notifications and phones ringing, the subthalamic nucleus is perpetually at work, notifying us to stop what we’re doing and shift our focus to the notifications.
Thus, our ability to concentrate our focus for long periods of time, a hallmark of most self-made millionaires, is impaired.
According to a 2017 OfficeTeam Study, employees waste fifty-six minutes every day on personal cell phone use, alone. Layer on top of that email distractions and social media distractions and it becomes clear that modern day distractions are interfering with productivity.
And this is very bad, not only for employees, but also for employers.
An overactive subthalamic nucleus means we are constantly distracted at work, decreasing our efficiency, productivity and costing employees time and employers money. If your company is struggling with productivity issues, now you know why.
So, what can we do to regain control over our minds?
A study from Emory University found that 20 minutes a day of meditation is enough to calm down the subthalamic nucleus, restoring your ability to focus.
Also, shutting off notifications, limits external distractions from pulling you away from the tasks you are focused on.
Lastly, taking a break from a task, every hour or so, helps restore your willpower reserve, and your ability to focus on tasks.
So, start meditating, shut off notifications and take a short break every hour or so. This will increase your ability to focus, which will improve your efficiency and productivity.