Constructing habits that let your brain perform at a higher level
Many of us begin our morning with a to-do list only to finish the day with a small fraction of that list accomplished.
What if each day you woke up knowing you were going to get everything on your list finished? Instead of going to bed guilty and stressed, you would lay your head down with a sense of accomplishment.
We let ourselves believe that there are not enough hours in a day, but the real problem lies in what we do with those hours.
Optimal performance is not just for top-level athletes. Performing better in your regular, everyday life is attainable for everyone, no matter your goals or primary activities.
3 Tips for Taking Your Mental Productivity
to the Next Level
1. Feed your brain
When we eat, we are fueling our bodies — giving us energy, feeding our gut microbiome and staving off hunger.
Rarely do we think about the key component of ourselves that we are feeding: the brain. In fact, how often do we consider our brains at all? When you feel tired, you think, “I’m tired,” not, “My brain needs fuel or rest because it is fatigued or out of balance.”
What we put in our bodies and how well the stomach breaks it down determine what energy the brain has to draw upon.
Blueberries, nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon and other diverse, whole foods can help keep you alert, focused and creative by optimally serving your neurology.
Foods that inflame your stomach, also inflame your brain. If you feel sick, irritated or tired after eating, chances are you are not choosing wisely.
We are beginning to understand more and more the connection between food and mental behaviors. Organizations like Food for the Brain research the link between nutrition and mental health.
Do some research of your own and experiment with different meals. Keep a journal to track how you perform afterwards. Do you feel clear headed, sharp and decisive? Or foggy, slow and confused?
The differences can be subtle, but making the effort to understand how to best feed your brain is worth it!
Take care of your brain to unlock the creative, high-performing mind you’ve always had.
2. Make time to play & rest
Whether an athlete or a scientist, rest and reward are crucial. Keep your brain chemistry balance by getting enough sleep and give yourself healthy doses of dopamine to stay motivated.
The saying goes that if you want something done, give it to a busy person.
Parkinson’s law tells us that “work expands so as to fill up the time available for its completion.”
You might think you do not have sufficient time to give your brain a rest. It will take discipline, but try cutting your timelines shorter for each project.
Instead of finishing by 6pm, tell yourself you have to be done by lunch time.
Generally, we use the time we have, so personal moments for rest, relaxation, exercise and loved ones are the first to go. Those moments are incredibly important! Prioritize them and give yourself less time to complete each task.
Even if it sounds farfetched but give it a try. The additional resting time will recharge your brain and make your shortened timelines even more doable, giving you more resting time…and the cycle continues.
3. Do away with distractions
On a neurological level, our brain is designed to collect data, filter it and act on it. It is constantly collecting information, though most of its observations go unnoticed by our conscious mind.
In today’s world — with beeping phones, loud television screens and immediate availability — micro interruptions are wreaking havoc on our ability to focus.
Not only that, but they make it easier to procrastinate — another primal habit of the brain. It associates large, heavy tasks with potential failure, encouraging us to avoid them. Pair that with social media and constant interruptions, and we easily talk ourselves out of doing what we should.
Luckily, the mind is malleable and you can teach it to be your greatest ally and tool.
If focus still proves challenging for you, try giving yourself timed work intervals. Whether you set the timer for 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour, stay focused and working for that entire interval. When the timer sounds, take a break, grab a snack or listen to a song, and then do it again.
Cutting your day into these bitesized pieces can make it feel much less daunting. Over time, you will be able to increase those timespans and work for longer periods.
Though simple, these tips are enough to begin rewiring how your brain works for you. Keep at it, don’t get frustrated, and most of all, do not underestimate the power locked in your mind! The potential of a healthy, balanced, rested, happy brain is more than you probably let yourself imagine.
Take care of it, reward it and enjoy it.
How do you feed your brain? Share with us by commenting below!
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Omozua is a Certified Emotional Mastery & Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach who empowers & prepares clients’ hearts & heads to take the journey from where they are to where they want to be by bravely accessing their own potential.