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7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory & Creativity

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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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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