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5 Things To Do While Waiting For Your Computer

5 Things To Do While Waiting For Your Computer

Whether you’re an IT professional or not, working in an office will usually involve you spending a lot of time at the computer. While computers are pretty fast at most things, you will probably find yourself waiting for it to do something every now and then. Compiling code, starting up, or installing software are just some tasks that the computer needs to do that take up a lot of resources. Stay productive during this time by getting other things done, as suggested below.

Go Over Your Handwritten Notes

If you’ve got a pen and paper or notebook nearby, you have probably got some notes written down. These could be notes that were taken when you went to meetings or brainstorming exercises, diagrams you’ve drawn, or things you’ve discussed with others. While you’re waiting for your computer to load, you can spend the time going over these notes and determining what to do with them, such as:

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  • Work out if there are any actions required. Some notes require work to be done, either by yourself or by others. Have a read of these notes and see if there’s anything you need to act upon or delegate.
  • Recreate your diagrams. This involves using software to recreate any diagrams that you’ve written down. This probably can’t be done while your computer is doing something intense, but you can note it and remember it for later.
  • Clarify any points you’re not sure of. If you’re reading your notes and you’re not sure about something, mark it so you can clarify it, either right away with someone or later when your computer is running again.

Tidy Your Desk

Another thing you can do while your computer is loading is clean up your desk. You might normally keep it pretty clean, but you can take this time to organize it a bit better. Ask yourself:

  • Is there any rubbish that needs to be thrown out?
  • Is there any filing to be done?
  • Do any old notes or files need to be thrown away?
  • Does it need to be wiped down?

A cleaner desk can help you focus on the work you’re doing, and performing this kind of clean up every now and then keeps your desk looking good. It also sends a good impression to those around you that you’re organized and focused.

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Talk To Your Co-workers

Speaking to the other people you work with is a great thing to do while waiting for your computer. Yes, you could be doing this even when your computer isn’t loading, but it’s a good chance to do it now.

You can talk to them about issues they’re having, ask them any questions you have, or ask how they are going with their own piece of work. You can even ask about non-work related topics, such as their weekend or plans for the night. Spending time getting to know your co-workers is a good thing, as it can make your team work more effectively and help you develop your communication skills.

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If you have any actions from your notes that you identified in the tip above, you can speak to the people you need to in this time. You can also make whatever phone calls you need as well, depending on how long you will be waiting for your computer.

Grab a Coffee or Some Water

This is an old tip, and is actually the source of a few jokes. Back when computers were horribly slow, people used to joke that they could run something on their PC, walk away, make a coffee, come back, and it would still be loading. While this is still true for some intensive tasks, normal tasks are much quicker.

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For these intensive tasks that take a little longer to run, use this time to get a coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, get a tea instead. If you don’t feel like caffeine, get some water. It’s good to keep hydrated throughout the day, and getting a coffee, tea, or water has the added benefit of getting you away from your desk, getting some exercise, and stretching your muscles. If it’s a regular task, such as waiting for your computer to log in in the morning, you probably know how long it takes. Every morning while my computer starts up, I take that minute to go and get myself a coffee and some water. It’s up and running for when I get back.

Write or Check Your To-Do List

Having a to-do list is a great way of keeping organized and productive at work. It’s a list of tasks that you need to get done at some stage, and an indication of the priority and the date they are due. It can either be computer-based or written on paper.

While waiting for your computer to load, use this time to check your to-do list. If it’s on the computer, print it out first! Better yet, sync your devices. Go through any notes you have taken, have a think about what you need to do today, and write it down. Writing it down helps you keep track of what you need to do, and you can refer to it when you’re ready for the next task. If you don’t have a to-do list, now is the perfect time to create one.

I hope these tips are helpful for whenever your computer is busy while you’re at work. If you have any other tips to share, please leave them in the comments below.

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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