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5 Reasons Why Less is More

5 Reasons Why Less is More

The phrases “Work smarter, not harder,” “Less is more,” and “Simplicity key” plague our lives in every aspect, yet no one seems to really apply them. Is there any truth to these notions? Today’s society is all about absorbing information constantly, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, and attempting to remember it all. However, this burden placed upon us often leads to stress, confusion, and burnout. Here are 5 scenarios where doing less is more:

1. Get organized!

Being organized can initially be a very time-consuming and conscious responsibility. If you’re used to throwing paperwork all over your desk and using the excuse that it’s “organized chaos,” then you may also be familiar with the unnecessary time you spend fumbling through it trying to find one sheet. Keeping organized folders can make it easier to find paperwork. Or if you want to go green, keep digital copies in organized folders. If using digital copies, timestamps can also be great for tracking down files.

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Other than organizing physical clutter, organize your time as well. Sync your calendars, and add in new events and meetings as they pop up. Being aware of what you need to do, and where you need to be, allows for more efficient planning.

2. HIT it!

High-Intensity Training (HIT) has been shown to have some greater long-lasting effects than the average endurance or strength train. A good HIT session can last 20 minutes (5 minutes warm up and cool down, with 10 minutes of high-intensity intervals) and will have fat-burning effects all day, build muscle strength, and give you a shorter but more intense cardio workout. Simply varying the means (rowing, running, or cycling) can help build even muscle strength, and cuts an hour-long workout session out of your day. Check out Hoi Wan’s explanation of High-Intensity Training.

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3. Eat like our ancestors

Intermittent fasting has caught on with the health fanatics recently, and has been shown to be a very effective way of maintaining a good physique. Based on the principles of going long periods without eating as hunter-gatherers, it suggests our bodies are adapted to be able to fast and work at their best in doing so; fat is stored for a reason, so give it a reason to be used. Check out Nerd Fitness’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting.

4. Keep it concise

Twitter has provoked a revolution of the way in which we communicate; being restricted to 140 characters requires creativity and clear thinking to be able to convey what you would like to say within the limit. Thus, opting for emails or texts that are limited to a similar number of characters requires you to clearly think about what it is you want to say, such as how you want to deliver your message, tone of voice, and your key ideas. This is not only beneficial for the receiver in order to truly understand what you want to say, but also allows for the ideas to become vivid and clear within your own mind. For example, if I wanted to convey this topic within the limits of a Tweet, it may look something like this:

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Twitter’s constricted communication allows for clarity, conciseness, and creativity in conveying your message.

5. Break boundaries

This one is where you get creative. It is no surprise that there are several different aspects of your life that you try and manage simultaneously, and many people stand by the idea of only handling one task at a time. But it is perfect acceptable to break boundaries. Always seek out ways to complete more than one task simultaneously. It could be writing an article whilst commuting, or organizing your paperwork whilst researching through for some information. Fluidity is key, and by honing in on your creativity and actively seeking out better alternatives can be rewarding in itself.

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Now you have seen some key concepts and examples that adhere to the idea of “Less is more,” it’s time for you to implement them within your own day and free up more time for the memorable moments in life. Especially with summer coming, do little, often, so you can spend more time in the sun!

Featured photo credit: Marketo Blog via blog.marketo.com

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Kerim Hudson

Unemployed

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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