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8 Ways To Get Smarter Every Week

8 Ways To Get Smarter Every Week

We’ve all heard the same statistic: 1 out of every 4 Americans don’t read any books during the course of an average year. It seems that, for many Americans, learning stops after formal education. Once we’re done with high school or college, we forget everything we learned in school and just focus on advancing our careers.

But studies have shown time and time again that the more active your brain stays during your life, the less likely you will be to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later in life. But keeping your brain healthy and growing your intellect takes more than attending a few classes at the Learning Annex. If you’re serious about getting smarter every week, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind.

1. Make Learning a Daily Task

Whether you want to learn a new word, a new English monarch, or a small bit of trivia, subscribing to a daily language arts or history trivia newsletter or RSS feed is a great way to learn small bits of information on a daily basis.

But it’s not just enough to read this information. If you want to retain it, you’ll need to put it to use. Try to set a personal goal for your daily tidbit, perhaps using your word of the day three times with three different people during the course of the day.

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2. Keep Your Mind Sharp

Solving puzzles can help your brain to stay flexible, and a sharp mind is better at retaining information. Tackle the Sunday crossword puzzle, take up Sudoku, or at least try your hand with the kid’s word jumble in the local paper. Even puzzle-based video games can help you stay sharp.

    3. Focus on Cumulative Learning

    Do you remember what testing was like in high school? Chances are, you crammed all week for a big exam, and the second you turned in your paper, all that knowledge went right out of your head. You knew you weren’t going to be tested on it later on in the year, so what was the point?

    To avoid something similar happening on your quest to get smarter every week, make sure what you’re learning this week builds on knowledge acquired in previous weeks. A good example of this is learning a language. Every bit of vocab and grammar is dependent on what you already know, so your mind is much less likely to dump that knowledge.

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    4. Take Up a New Hobby

    Getting smarter is partly about learning new facts, and partly about using parts of your mind that aren’t usually used. A new hobby will challenge your brain in new ways. If you tend to be more analytical or technical in your pursuits, try branching out into painting. If you’re generally a creative person, take up a hobby like restoring old cars.

      5. Eat Right

      Consider supplements like ginko biloba to aid in memory, and make sure you’re eating enough fats. Your brain can’t work if you’re on a starvation diet, your brains need cholesterol and fats to work correctly. Other foods such as broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, berries, and fish can also aid with memory and proper brain function.

      6. Think Positive

      As Stepcase Lifehack’s own Leon Ho explained in a past post, thinking that you are capable of getting smarter allows you to actually get smarter.

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      “Students who were members of vulnerable groups (e.g., those who previously thought that intelligence cannot change, those who had low prior mathematics achievement, and female students) had higher mathematics grades following the intelligence-is-malleable intervention, while the grades of similar students in the control group declined. In fact, girls who received the intervention matched and even slightly exceeded the boys in math grades, whereas girls in the control group performed well below the boys.”

      7. Stay Active

      “Exercise and staying active helps protect your brain against dementia in later life,” says Dr. Anne Corbett. “It also helps keep your weight down, which is important because obesity increases the risk developing of dementia later in life. Be careful of sports that can cause head injuries since footballers and boxers have a higher rate of Alzheimer’s disease.”

        8. Quit Smoking

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        A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed 21,123 Californian smokers between 1978 and 2008. The study found that those who were heavy smokers doubled their risk of memory loss later in life. If you’re trying to raise your intelligence, smoking is a habit that will not serve you well.

        Conclusion

        Getting smarter involves a combination of learning new information, retaining that information, and maintaing the health of your brain. If you can manage to do all three, you’ll raise your intelligence by leaps and bounds.

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        Tucker Cummings

        Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

        The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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