7 Ways to make your brain more productive

Precise and practical tips from the book neurologist Daniel Levitin, how to arrange a "reset information" in order to achieve more




Evolution - a slow process. On a scale of our species, we are not so far removed from life in small clan groups involved in hunting and gathering to survive. At the time we met to a maximum of thousands of people throughout our lives. Our brains are designed to ensure peace and not to do, where numerous interruptions in work and at home raid on us like a flock of angry mosquitoes.

No wonder we feel depressed - especially women in leadership positions who are trying to combine work and private life. In my research, which involved women with high-income countries, 75 percent of them do work assignments after work, and the same number of percent of household tasks performed during working hours. Always there was something like a competition for time and attention.


"But while our genes are not fully caught up with the needs of modern civilization, human knowledge is possible, - says neurologist Daniel Levitin of McGill University in his best-selling book« The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload »- Now we can better understand how to overcome the evolutionary constraints »

Highly successful people "learn how to maximize their own creativity, and efficiency through the organization of life, so that less time was devoted to domestic issues and more - useful creative things." For real vip-persons is meant by a have dozens of employees. For us Levitin offered advice on how to provide peace of mind that allows our brain to focus less on minor things and focus only on the important:

Lay things in their places. "For hundreds of thousands of years our memory developed to keep track of things that do not move - fruit trees, wells, mountains, lakes," - says Levitin. We are not engaged in transportation daily. Therefore, we are not focused on tracking small items such as car keys, cell phone and wallet. We are losing them and spend a lot of mental energy to look for. What to do? Give these things "home" - a tray or a hook by the door. If possible - please create duplicates things that do not need to be moved: Points for work and home, scissors for the kitchen and home office, etc.
Create a "hooks" for what you want to remember. We do many things in life on autopilot. This is one way our brain to save energy. The problem is that when you start work, your brain will not stop to remind you of something that you need to remember. But the brain triggers an alarm when he notices something new. "Thus, the use environment, to remind yourself of what needs to be done - says Levitin - If you are afraid that will forget to buy milk on the way home, place an empty container of milk in the neighboring seat of your car or in a backpack that you wear on the subway on the way to work. " Your brain recognizes this "marginal notes" and interrupt his reverie. This shift toward a new and unexpected just caught us by surprise, as emails or text alerts. Use this to your advantage and set up a reminder of the important things that you would like to spend some time - to see old friends, to arrange a meeting in the second half, and so
Plan a large network. "As our ancestors have lived in social groups that are slow to change, because they met the same people throughout their lives, they could hold almost all the social parts in his head" - says Levitin - now you can work and interact with hundreds of people who expect you to remember their names and details of past conversations. Your brain alone can not cope with this kind of work. So write notes about who you meet and what they talked about. Social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook) can help with basic details and reminders for birthdays and anniversaries. But the human brain is working normally: out of sight - out of mind. Plan to regularly review their contacts.
Focus. The human brain can switch between tasks, but it is expensive costs in the metabolic level. "We need less energy to focus - writes Levitin - People who organize their time by focusing on specific things, not only the time to do more, but less tired and neurochemical exhausted." If you have to routine operations - fold similar tasks together. "If you collect a stack of bills to pay - just to pay the bills and do not use this time to make a decision like moving to a smaller house or buying a new car." Set aside the decision for another time.
Spend the preparation and review. Of course, ideally you need to spend a lot of time to focus on one issue, but the workplace is rarely used for this. Many managers like mad rush from one meeting to another, like high school students. You may think that all remember what happened at each meeting, but you do not remember. That is why psychiatrists work 50 minutes per hour. "More ten minutes they record what happened - says Levitin - So, you plan something, better give yourself ten minutes to write down what needs to be done. Also, due to the fact that the switching of attention is metabolically expensive, it's a good hygiene neural brain, giving him time to rest before the upcoming meeting. " Ideally, the meeting lasting one hour should include free time - ten minutes at the beginning and at the end of ten minutes of the meeting. Give this approach a chance. Rare meeting can not be compressed, particularly when people are trying.
Do not pay attention to things that do not have value. You tormented over his choice of wardrobe or products? If your brain is able to take as many decisions of the day - it is better to spend energy on more important things. Free your mind only those operations that will really work. At the business lunch just choose the same meal (eg Caesar salad). You will have it again and again, taking less small decisions and paying more attention to serious things.
Sleep. Sleep - the secret weapon of cognitive success. "For a variety of issues related not only to the language or math, logic and spatial reasoning tasks, sleep enhances the formation and understanding of abstract relations. Often it happens that people wake up, solving the problem that seemed unsolvable last night "- says Levitin - Good sleep is perceived by everyone in their own way. Someone like most short drowsy sleep. Some people sleep the night through the night, while others wake up at some time in the middle. See for yourself what is more suitable for you, and make this dream a priority. For this is your lucky rested brain will be very grateful to you.
Laura Vanderkam

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