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curaFUN, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building children’s emotional fitness, has released a series of programs aimed at building social emotional skills, available in English and Chinese.
For more information, visit https://www.curafun.com/schools
This latest announcement will help schools provide critical emotional and social education for their students, enabling children to develop the emotional intelligence and cultural fluidity to thrive academically.
Research shows that social intelligence is an important factor in academic success. A recent study showed an 11% increase in the academic progress in students that received social emotional education. These students also demonstrated improved classroom behavior, the ability to manage stress and sustain positive attitudes about themselves, school and their peers.
curaFUN responds to these trends by releasing a series of programs that turn psychoeducational assessment and social emotional education into gamified, interactive online experiences. These programs enable children to develop inner strengths such as communication, discipline, cooperation, empathy, confidence and resilience.
curaFUN works with schools to proactively and reliably identify areas where children need additional development and apply a personalized curriculum based on the unique needs of each student. Moreover, the organization’s StrengthBuilder programs include continuous evaluation and valuable professional assessment reports and data detailing the student’s progress.
The organization’s programs provide schools without an full-time school psychologist, speech therapist, counsellor, or instructional aides with economical and personalized learning solutions that are proven to reduce behavioral incidents and student crises, decreasing the need for counselling hours and support services. The programs also fulfill speech and social emotional education requirements with no additional staffing or training.
curaFUN currently offers subscription-based programs for children aged 5-11 in Mandarin Chinese and English and are expanding their coverage to meet demand.
Originally developed as part of a US Department of Education and National Science Foundation Grant, curaFUN is committed to helping children achieve greater success by fostering social and emotional skills.
A spokesperson for the organization said: “Our programs are the ideal solution for schools and educators looking to implement social emotional learning to the curriculum. curaFUN gives students the tools they need thrive in school and in the world.”
Interested parties can find out more by visiting the organization’s website at https://www.curafun.com
In today’s busy world we’ve become a people obsessed with “work hacks” and supposedly hidden secrets on how to be more productive.
Getting more done in less time helps us get ahead, and even gives us more availability to do the things we love outside of work—whether that’s making time for a personal hobby or pursuing a small business idea. The problem we run into is that it is easy to get motivated, but hard to stay disciplined.
Most of us look at productivity in the wrong way: task management tools are shiny at first and then go unused. Being chained to your desk is as unhealthy as it is unproductive. Achievement isn’t about doing everything, it’s about doing the right things. Productivity is about saying no.
Focus and consistency are the bread-and-butter of being truly productive. Let’s take a look at the science behind how the brain works in the synthesis state, and what changes you can make for the better.
Productivity explained in 3 minutes
- Why worrying about having “more willpower” is a fool’s game.
- How world class experts stay productive… and what they do differently.
- The reason why better energy management = a more productive you.
- Big pitfalls that lead to busywork and procrastination.
Watch and enjoy.
Once you’ve done that, if you want to know more just scroll down: a dozen studies and far more explanation await.
Why willpower isn’t enough
The first thing to acknowledge in the pursuit of getting more done is the mountain of evidence that suggests willpower alone will not be enough to stay productive.
According to research by Janet Polivy, our brain fears big projects and often fails to commit to long-term goals because we’re susceptible to “abandoning ship” at the first sign of distress.
Think of the last time you went on a failed diet.
You stocked your fridge with the healthiest foods and planned to exercise every day, until the first day you slipped up. After that, it was back to your old ways.
To make matters worse, research by Kenneth McGraw was able to show that the biggest wall to success was often just getting started. Additional research in this area suggests that we’re prone to procrastinating on large projects because we visualize the worst parts; the perfect way to delay getting started.
According to researcher John Bargh, your brain will attempt to simulate real productive work by avoiding big projects and focusing on small, mindless tasks to fill your time.
Big project due tomorrow? Better reorganize my movie collection!
Perhaps worst of all, numerous studies on the concept of ego-depletion have provided some evidence that suggests our willpower is a limited resource that can be used up in it’s entirety. The more you fight it, the more gas you burn. An empty tank leads to empty motivation.
With all of that stacked against us, what can we possibly do to be more productive?
In order to figure this out, one of our best bets is to observe the habits of consistently productive people.
The habits of productive people
If I were to ask to describe the practice regiments of world-class musicians, you’d probably envision a shut-in artist who plays all day long and then tucks in their instrument at night.
Amazingly though, research by Anders Ericsson that examined the practice sessions of elite violinists clearly showed that the best performers were not spending more time on the violin, but rather were being more productive during their practice sessions.
Better yet, the most elite players got more sleep on average than everyone else. How is that possible?
Subsequent research by Ericsson reveals the answer: the best players were engaging in more deliberate practice. You’ve heard the term, but beyond the hype, what is it all about?
It’s nothing more than spending time on the hardest tasks, and being better at managing your energy levels.
Think of it this way: If you were trying to get better at basketball, you’d be much better off practicing specific drills for two hours rather than shooting hoops all day long.
Since deliberate practice requires you to spend more brainpower than busy work, how can you implement it without draining your willpower?
The first answer is an inconvenient truth: the best way to overcome your fear of spending a lot of energy on a big project is to simply get started.
The Zeigarnik Effect is a construct that psychologists have observed in numerous studies on suspense. One such study gave participants brain-buster puzzles to complete, but not enough time to complete them. The surprising thing was, even when participants were asked to stop, over 90% of them went on to complete the puzzles anyway.
According to the lead researcher:
It seems to be human nature to finish what we start and, if it is not finished, we experience dissonance.
It’s the same thing that happens when we become engaged in a story in a book, movie or TV show: we want to see how it ends.
You can use this knowledge to your advantage by just getting started on that next big project; in the most basic sense, don’t focus your motivation on doing Activity X. Instead, focus on making Activity X easier to do.
Start the night before. Is your to-do list already written up? Is your place of work ready for you to get started? Break down barriers of friction before relying on willpower.
Working like an expert
A multitude of research has shown us that discipline is best maintained through habits, not through willpower.
According to Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, most people hold their productivity back by not rigidly scheduling work & rest breaks throughout the day.
Since most of us are worried about willpower, we don’t push ourselves to maximum output: instead of “giving our all” for brief sessions, we distribute our effort throughout the day, leading us back to busywork to fill our time.
What should we do instead?
Schwartz often cites a research study conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration that revealed how short breaks between longer working sessions resulted in a 16% improvement in awareness & focus.
Research from Peretz Lavie on ultradian rhythms matches up with these findings: longer productive sessions (of 90 minutes) followed by short breaks (of no more than 15-20 minutes) sync more closely with our natural energy cycles and allow us to maintain a better focus and higher energy level throughout the day.
Both of these studies on energy management match up with the practice schedules of the violinists: the most common regimen for the cream of the crop players was a 90-minute block of intense practice followed by a 15-minute break.
The moral of the story is that it’s hard to be productive while trying to maintain high energy levels through your entire day.
It’s much easier to work intensely when you know that a break is just around the corner, not at the end of the day. Instead of trying to conserve energy for hours, break big projects down into smaller chunks and plan a recovery period right after.
For projects done on your own time, try scheduling blocks of 90-minute work sessions with a planned cool down time of 15 minutes directly afterwards. When you know a break is on the horizon, you won’t try to pace yourself with your work, and will be more inclined to dive into the difficult stuff.
While great for tackling the toughest parts of large projects, this technique doesn’t really address many problems related to discipline, an important part of staying productive for more than just a day or two.
The art of staying disciplined
One segment of the population known for struggling with discipline are those who are addicted to hard drugs.
Given their disposition for being unable to commit to many things, you might be surprised to find that during an experiment testing the ability of drug addicts to write & submit a 5 paragraph essay on time, those who wrote down when & where they would complete the essay were far more likely to turn it in.
These findings have some interesting correlation with those related to discipline in other people: in a study examining the ability of average people to stick with a strict dieting plan, researchers found that those participants who rigorously monitored what they were eating were able to maintain far higher levels of self-control when it came to maintaining their diet.
Last but not least, Dan Ariely and colleagues conducted a study involving college students and found that students who imposed strict deadlines on themselves for assignments performed far better (and more consistently) than those who didn’t.
These findings were especially interesting because Ariely noted that students who gave themselves too generous of a deadline often suffered from the same problems as students who set zero deadlines: when you allot yourself too much time to complete a task, you can end up creating a mountain out of a molehill.
Since we now know that tracking our progress is a key component of productivity, how can we implement this practice into our daily routine?
One method is to use an Accountability Chart to track what work you’ve completed during your 90-minute productive sessions, similar to how the dieters tracked their food consumption.
To easily implement one, simply create two-columns on a piece of paper, Google Docs spreadsheet, or even a whiteboard.
- Column 1 will list the time-span of one of your productivity sessions.
- Column 2 will list what tasks you’ve accomplished in that limited time-span.
Don’t include any columns for your 15-minute breaks, as those times are for your own sake and means to replenish your willpower.
This works well for two specific reasons: Dr. Kentaro Fujita argues that tracking your progress in this way is helpful because you’ll be exposed to the work you’ve actually accomplished, and not the (inaccurate) assumption of work you might construe in your head.
Forcing yourself to write down the fact that you spent 2 hours on YouTube isn’t about shaming, it’s about awareness; you’ll be less likely to do it again.
Progress tracking is also a known strategy for stopping yourself from engaging in robotic behavior (also known as ‘busywork’), a habit that researcher John Bargh describes as the #1 enemy of goal striving.
Productivity and multitasking don’t mix
With a work schedule, an energy management strategy and a task-tracking system in place, the last challenge we have to face is that of multitasking.
According to a 1999 study, we have a tendency to view multitasking as effective, even when it isn’t
However, researcher Zhen Wang was able to show that on average, multitaskers are actually less likely to be productive, yet they feel more emotionally satisfied with their work—creating an illusion of productivity.
Worse yet, Stanford researcher Clifford Nass examined the work patterns of multitaskers and analyzed their ability to:
- Filter information
- Switch between tasks
- Maintain a high working memory
He found that they were terrible at all three. According to Nass:
We were absolutely shocked. We all lost our bets. It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking.
When working on the computer, the best thing you can do is turn on Airplane Mode; no need for temptation when you can’t even access the web. If you’re unable, help yourself with tools like and StayFocusd to block distracting sites.
The next best strategy is to create an evening planning ritual where you select a few priority tasks to accomplish the next day.
The reason this method works far better than planning your daily tasks in the morning is because research from the Kellogg School has shown that we miscalculate the amount of focus we’ll be able to maintain in the future. We strongly believe that we’ll be able to quickly plan our day the next morning, but when tomorrow rolls we stumble off track.
You can create an evening planning ritual with a simple pen & paper or use an online tool like TeuxDeux each night. List only priority tasks (the “big 5”) for the day.
Instead of listing, “Work on research project,” as a daily goal, try something like, “Finish introduction,” or, “Find additional sources,” as a task you can actually complete.
Instant replay: Productivity in practice
Too long, didn’t read:
Willpower alone is not enough: Your productivity shouldn’t be reliant on your sheer force of will alone. Mental toughness will go a long way, but in order to stay disciplined you’re better off relying on systems.
Give yourself the ability to go “all-in”: Working harder on the stuff that matters is going to drain you mentally & physically. Don’t be afraid of giving yourself multiple breaks throughout the day. It’s better to “chunk” productivity sessions into 90 minute periods (in order to keep yourself sharp and to alleviate the stress of pacing your energy throughout the entire day.
If it’s not worth measuring, it’s not worth doing: Tracking has been proven to be the best way to stay diligent about your progress. Create an accountability chart to list what productive things you’ve gotten done throughout the day. You’ll see how much you’re really accomplishing.
Multitasking is your enemy: Treat it as such. Block out unwanted distractions and as Ron Swanson would say, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” Plan your day the night before so you won’t get consumed with the wonderful distractions of the internet when you start your day.
Regret is the worst emotion to base your decisions on. Regret is negative reinforcement. It is self-loathing and destructive.
Why do we often parrot the advice of “Don’t do something you might regret?” On the surface, it seems a message made to encourage caution, but it could be structured without the worry and pessimism.
Why not: “Do something you’ll be proud of.”
Or “Do something you would respect someone else for doing.” This places emphasis on allowing your values to drive your choices, rather than letting anxiety control your actions.
It is impossible to completely avoid regret—whether it comes through criticism, personal disappointment, or an undesirable outcome, the potential for regret is the cost of entry for progress.
Why not make decisions based on being the kind of person you want to be, and on the kind of impact you want to have—if regret comes, you needn’t worry whether or not you did the “right” thing, you’ll know the outcome was simply the result of things not turning out like you expected.
In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall.
―Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
It could be said that trying to avoid regret is a way we internalize “looking at the wall”—becoming so focused on avoidance that we end up hitting it head on in another way: by having regrets about the things we didn’t do.
And those are often the worst regrets of all.
Chasing Meaning vs. Avoiding Discomfort
Stanford psychologist Dr. Kelly McGonigal gave an interesting talk last year that became one of TED’s most viewed videos of all time.
She highlights that the stress that follows uncertainty (and risk) isn’t always something we should avoid, as long as the effort is bringing meaning to our lives.
The research she covered showed that those who experienced an ample amount of stress had an increased risk of dying, but only when they personally believed that stress was having a profoundly negative impact on their health. Strangely, those who had the lowest risk of death were the subjects with lots of stress, but who did not view the stress as harmful—their risk was even lower than those subjects with low-stress.
Do you think people who are able to handle stress well live their lives around “avoiding regret,” or by trying to do things they’ll be proud of?
Perhaps the stress for these subjects was coming from activities that also brought a lot of meaning to their lives; where, despite the hassles, they “wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
The only time “Don’t do something you might regret” is relevant advice is when you are addressing stupidity, like if a friend thinks it would be funny to stick their hand in a snapping turtle’s terrarium (looking at you, Steve).
But how you view the potential for regret, stress, and uncertainty matters when it comes to decisions that are somewhat risky, but not stupid.
Starting a business is risky, but it is not stupid. Taking six months to publish your own book is risky, but it is not stupid. Quitting your current job to pursue a better career is risky, but it is not stupid.
All of those decisions could end with poor outcomes—but in order to make your life better, sometimes you have to risk making it worse. Strategic risk-taking makes all the difference.
This is the crux of why I believe the phrase “Don’t do something you might regret” can poison one’s thinking, if you aren’t careful.
It gives the presence of stress and the potential for regret too much importance, making assumptions that the hassle to follow nearly always outweighs the good that could come from doing something meaningful.
Be cautious with how you use it.
Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life, and then trust yourself to handle what follows.
—Dr. Kelly McGonigal
curaFUN announces its new emotional development and social resiliency subscription program for children in English and Mandarin Chinese. The program helps kids aged four to 11.
curaFUN, a youth-centered organization for native Chinese, American-born Chinese, and overseas Chinese worldwide, announces its gamified subscription programs for emotional development and wellness for children aged four to 11. Subscriptions include interactive activities that teach children social and emotional life skills in both English and Mandarin Chinese.
More details can be found at https://www.curafun.com
The newly announced subscription service aims to develop well-rounded and globally competitive children who are proficient in both English and Mandarin Chinese. The virtual programs use gamified activities and real-life interactions so that children become comfortable in speaking and interacting with their peers in both languages. The activities are offered in English only, Chinese only, and English and Chinese options.
Understanding and speaking in more than one language has many benefits. According to the latest financial reports, bilingual workers earn as much as 20% more than those who can only speak one language. Further, neuroscience research has found that the brains of bilingual and multilingual people have stronger brain connections.
curaFUN developed its emotional wellness games to further the educational programs available for Chinese who want to improve their English skills as well as English speakers wishing to perfect their Chinese. Their programs train children to develop social competency which helps them interact with their friends in either language.
The subscription program features 23 – 30 progressive levels and more than 20 hours of gameplay. The online A.I. powered games cultivate a growth mindset in children, teaching them leadership skills and building their emotional wellness. The program is recommended for children in pre-kindergarten through Grade 5.
curaFUN emphasizes that its program builds on existing educational offerings that are solely focused on building subject-specific knowledge. They say that children need to strengthen both their IQ and EQ to become well-rounded and competent adults.
The program may also have therapeutic benefits in the early detection of ADHD, anxiety, and autism.
“To thrive in life, your child must possess a solid foundation of social-emotional skills that empower them to learn and connect,” the organization writes. “Children also get a head start on leadership insights and negotiation tactics.”
Interested parties can find more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the above-mentioned website.
curaFUN, a nonprofit promoting inner strengths and multilingualism in children of Asian communities, has launched a creative writing contest featuring inspirational stories for the youth.
curaFUN, a US and Taiwan based nonprofit dedicated to the emotional and mental development of children in Asian communities, has launched a multilingual inspirational writing contest for youths ages 6 to 18.
More information can be found at https://www.curafun.com
Dubbed “Shining Moments”, the writing contest aims to provide kids with a positive and inspiring environment amid the challenges they have been experiencing over the past year.
Participants are asked to share stories of moments, whether their own or someone else’s, when inner strength triumphed. curaFUN hopes the stories will inspire other kids to act with the inner strengths of cooperation, self-discipline, communication, resilience, empathy, and multilingualism.
The entries may be written in any language. However, an English translation, whether done manually or through a translation app, has to accompany any entry written in a different language.
Contestants get the chance to win a cash price of $100 USD, which can be redeemed via a Visa gift card, or a gift card from a popular merchant.
Entries may be posted at the Shining Moments page https://www.curafun.com/shining-moments and may be “liked” and commented on. The story with the most number of likes by 1:00 pm PST on April 15, 2021 will be the winner. A leaderboard will be posted on the Shining Moments website starting in March.
According to a spokesperson for curaFUN, “The past year has challenged most families more than anyone could have imagined. We’ve also witnessed that words are powerful, in both positive and negative ways, and we can decide how we use that power.”
Individuals over 18 years, as well as those who prefer not to join the contest, may also share their own stories on the Shining Moments page to contribute to curaFUN’s message of positivity and to encourage the development of inner strengths in everyone, particularly the youth.
curaFUN offers evidence-based programs aimed at building inner strengths and developing multilingualism, particularly English and Mandarin Chinese, in youths of Asian communities around the world. The nonprofit’s founders believe success in life can only be attained by a good balance of EQ (Emotional Quotient) and IQ. The programs are available on subscription basis in English and Mandarin.
Interested parties can learn more from the website given above.