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7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory & Creativity

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7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory & Creativity

In today’s world, information is everywhere. Seems like wherever you go – in the real world or online – there’s always something new to learn. Maybe you have a burning for new discoveries. A tangible FORCE that grips around your soul. You don’t know what that is, yet… Still, the thirst for knowledge remains.

Kind of like getting lost in Wikipedia and thousands of other “encyclopedia-like” sites out there. Or getting lost in the madness of an annual fair. And you’re hell-bent on meeting as many exciting, new, refreshing characters as possible. Or maybe you’re like me, able and willing to dive nose-first into a good, thick book. Not just any book, though. No, this book is special. It captures your imagination… and like the mischevious force it is, doesn’t let you go. Whatever the reason you’re on the prowl for knowledge, the fact remains: we may be suffering from an “info overload”.

You don’t need to be told that millions of people are having trouble focusing, multi-tasking, and boosting their cognitive functions. You hear about it every day, no matter where you go. Here are a few small and easy practices you can start TODAY, to bring your ‘memory cells’ back to life and energize your creative spirit like you never thought possible.

  1. Work Your Brain Out

Think of bodybuilders. Do they get to that massive mastodon size by sitting around all day? N’sir! They hit the iron, they feed their body right, and they train their muscles to endure absolute hell. Doing the same to your brain probably isn’t smart. The point remains: training your brain by giving it a workout keeps your brain growing and developing.

So, how exactly do you train your brain? Simple!

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You can Google a bunch of brain-training apps… play brain-training games… and (shocker!) work out. More effectively learn & practice the oldest & purest form of meditation – Vipassana. Light cardio in the morning clears the cobwebs from your brain. Exercise being good for physical AND meditation being a luxury for mental health.

  1. Count Sheep

Believe it or not, catching some Z’s and chasing sheep is the easiest way to improve your mental health. Would prestigious magazine Men’s Fitness lie?

A clear and alert brain helps us to focus and remember more information. Getting enough sleep on a regular basis allows us to take in more information. Sleep helps solidify memory.

  1. Take A Chill Pill

What seems like a no-brainer… Might make you a no-brainer. Stress plays a monumental part of depreciating the parts of your brain responsible for memory. Plus, actively seeking out stressful situations (or spending time with miserable people who cause you nothing but) is just bad news. For anybody.

Interestingly, the nootropic world is an exciting one to be a part of – partially paving the way towards reclaiming your memory and sending your thinking skills on overdrive. Nootropics are cognitive enhancing supplements that can increase your attention span, help you focus and can work as a studying aid. Other “smart drugs” have unappealing side effects; nootropics are safe, so long as they are used properly.

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There’s so much natural and synthetic compounds can do to improve not just your memory, not just your focus, but the very essence of your creativity.

  1. Make Time For Naps

Yep, naps. Power naps. A good forty-five minutes or just twenty minutes; however long you want to; the important part is to nap after you’ve worked hard at the office or home.

Don’t forget, your mind is a powerful machine. It needs time to digest any and all new information you throw at it. We already know what good sleep does to our brains. Why not speed up the “sponge” process of memory recall by taking naps throughout the day?

  1. Hit The Road

Yes, walking doesn’t just make you healthier. Physically and mentally. It helps clears writer’s block and spurs creativity!

A doctor and a professor found that about sixty percent of people (out of 176 altogether) “scored higher” on divergent thinking creativity activities as opposed to the folks who sat down while they performed the activities and tests. How does walking help your brain? It helps the same way exercising does! When you walk, your heart pumps faster, sending more blood and oxygen throughout your body. Your brain and all other organs get an extra dose. Walking helps create new connections between brain cells and increases the region of your brain used for memory.

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I personally spend a good twenty minutes, minimum, at the crack of dawn to take a stroll. This is before the mayhem of automotive chaos begins.

  1. Play Those Tunes

It goes without saying by now that music boosts both creativity and mental focus. In anybody, at any age, at any time whatsoever. Hit up YouTube and see many “study or concentration music” playlists designed specifically for this reason.

You’ve also heard about playing classical music to help you during math and science quizzes, right? Einstein believed it was a good idea! Playing classical music (right brain) while taking a math test (left brain) helps connect the two hemispheres of the brain. Listening to classical music also increases cognitive skills. You get a basic brain boost!

  1. Smile and Relax

Learn to let go and let the chips fall where they may. Remember, our brains are COMPLEX organisms. They can’t be firing on all pistons for long. Personally, the creative muse has visited me more than once when I accepted myself, felt good about the world, and learned how to stop thinking so much.

And to boot, remaining calm and consciously choosing to keep a positive spin on things… believe it or not… rewires central neurons in your brain. This rewiring is responsible for “moulding” your brain through use of associations with feelings and stimulation.

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So, if your memory is sharper and more focused when you’re in a blissful state… You’re training yourself to feel that way more often. Win win.

Conclusion

By no means is this list exhaustive. Like I said, these are quick and easy “down-and-dirty” gems and “hidden” tricks you can use (today!) to jumpstart your creative process. While simultaneously beefing up your memory recall. Obviously, there’s much, much more to talk about. To learn about and discover. Maybe that’s a journey we can take together some other time.

Featured photo credit: all-len-all.com via all-len-all.com

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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