Do you sometimes find yourself facing a wall when it comes to productivity? Ever wished you had a memory boost? Well, worry not, cause as it turns out, you can! This is due to the fact that the brain has the ability to keep changing throughout your life. There’s actually growth of brain tissues involved when you do new physical or mental activities. This thing is what is usually referred to as brain plasticity. The implications? This means that just like working out to develop physically (muscles, strength and such), the brain can actually be exercised to bolster cognitive abilities.
There are a lot of things you can do to boost your memory and productivity. Some, like brain training games, work on improving sensory perception, the thing that makes the brain process and digest information quickly. And if you want to develop your memory and increase your productivity, the amount of information and the speed at which that amount travels to the brain is rather significant.
Improving your brain capacity not only leads to improvements in memory and productivity, but it can also help you be healthy and happy. So here are some things you can do to bolster your grey matter:
- Brain Exercises – as mentioned earlier, the brain can be worked out. You can do this through mental games, puzzles, reading, math problems and recall. Also, do note that using both mind and body will aid in motivating yourself, not to mention it helps increase attention and concentration. So doing stuff that requires dexterity (such as painting, drawing, sports, playing music) are also great brain exercises. These things help in stimulating your brain and creating new brain cells.
- Physical Exercise – there is a correlation between a healthy mind and increased blood flow. So, regular exercise, like cardio and such, can help you avoid the “brain fog” that comes with age. After all, studies show that regular exercise boosts the size of your hippo-camus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. Note that this only applies to cardio and blood pumping exercises. Moderate intensity exercises, such as swimming, tennis, squash and dancing are also helpful.
- Diet – in the quest for brain development and health, food helps. A lot. That’s because the constant flow of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids (of course just take recommended amounts, too much would be counterproductive) help the brain function well. There are those which are considered “brain food,” which include avocados, blueberries, fish, eggs, spinach and walnuts, to name a few. Also, decreasing your calorie intake may lower your risk of mental decline when you get older. And another thing: vitamins such as B6, B12 and folic acid help lower homocysteine levels (higher levels of this increased risk of dementia). In short, just eat properly.
- Sleep – when it comes to sleep, both lack and excess can be detrimental to your brain and overall health. That said, aim for the recommended number of hours of sleep per night (7-8 hours). You will really reap benefits from a well-rested brain. Enough sleep would also help boost creativity and make clearer decisions.
- Laugh Therapy – laughter can trigger effects in your body which is helpful in strengthening the immune system, boosting energy, eliminating pain, and negating stress. Laughing releases endorphins, something you get from exercise and eating chocolate. You know what they say, “laughter is the best medicine” (and a brain booster as well, apparently).
Now, aside from boosting your memory, you may also be seeking how to increase your productivity. So here are some tips to improve it:
- If something doesn’t need to be done, remove it from your to do list.
- To avoid the risk of succumbing to distractions, set targets for each day. make decisions on what has to be done, then do it.
- To avoid procrastination, do whatever is on your list that you consider the most unpleasant first, instead of delaying it for later.
- There is this thing called peak times – periods where you are at your most productive. Identify yours, then schedule important tasks for those times.
- Allocate uninterruptible blocks of time for solo work where you must concentrate. This is where you should do your more challenging projects.
- When you begin a task, identify the target you must reach before you can stop working. Reach your target no matter what.
- Give yourself a fixed time period (like 30 minutes or so) to make a dent in a task. Don’t worry about how far you get. Just put in the time.
- Batch similar tasks into a single chunk, and work on them in a single session.
- Get up early and go straight to work on your most important task. Doing so enables you to get more done before 8 am than most people do in a day.
- Go to a place where you can work flat out without distractions, such as a library, park, coffee house, or your own backyard.
- Pick up the pace, and try to move a little faster than usual.
- Reduce stress by ensuring that your workspace is relaxing and clutter-free.
- When in meetings, discussions and such, provide clear written agendas to participants in advance. Doing so greatly improves meeting focus and efficiency.
- Employ the Pareto principle (80-20 rule) which states that 80% of the value of a task comes from 20% of the effort. Focus your energy on that critical 20%, and don’t overdo the non-critical 80%.
- Take action immediately after setting a goal, even if the action isn’t perfectly planned. You can always adjust course along the way.
- Once you get the info you need to make a decision, start a timer and give yourself just 60 seconds to make the actual decision. Take a whole minute to vacillate and second-guess yourself all you want, but come out the other end with a clear choice. Once you make your decision, take some kind of action to set it in motion.
- Set a deadline for task completion, and use it to help you stay on track.
- Tell others of your commitments, for accountability purposes.
- Be punctual at all times. Arrive early if you must.
- Use reading to fill in those odd periods like waiting for appointments, standing in line, or while the coffee is brewing.
- Visualize your goal as already accomplished. Put yourself into a state of actually being there. Make it real in your mind, and you’ll soon see it in your reality.
- Reward yourself for achievements.
- Separate the truly important tasks from the merely urgent. Allocate blocks of time to work on the critical Quadrant 2 tasks, those which are important but rarely urgent, such as physical exercise, writing a book, and finding a relationship partner.
- At the end of your workday, identify the first task you’ll work on the next day, and set out materials in advance. Then begin working on that task immediately the next day.
- Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks. Focus on completing just one of those tasks.
- Once you begin a task, stick with it until it’s 100% complete.
- Pick a totally random piece of a larger project, and complete it.
- Defeat perfectionism by completing your task in an intentionally terrible fashion, knowing you need never share the results with anyone. Write a blog post about the taste of salt, design a hideously dysfunctional web site, or create a business plan that guarantees a first-year bankruptcy. With a truly horrendous first draft, there’s nowhere to go but up.
- Identify a new habit you’d like to form, and commit to sticking with it for just 30 days.
- Learn the art of delegation.
- Sign up for martial arts, start a blog, or join an improv group. Doing so will enable you to encounter ideas in one field that can boost your performance in another.
- Pay attention to your intuition.
- Identify the processes you use most often, and write them down step-by-step. Then implement and test your improved processes.
Might also read: Scientifically Proven Tips for More Productivity