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5 Things You Can Do Before Bed To Jump Start Tomorrow

5 Things You Can Do Before Bed To Jump Start Tomorrow

Ben Franklin told us years ago, “The early bird catches the worm.” But perhaps we can amend that now to say: The Worm that Gets a Jump Start Gets His Prize!”

It’s no great news flash to share that we all live in a very busy world. It slows down for no one and almost seems as if we’re in a constant state of playing catch up. Life, people and circumstances demand our time, energy and thoughts constantly – or so it seems. This state of always being in demand and constantly being at the beck and call of outside influences can be draining to say the least and overwhelming to put it mildly! How can we ever hope to get a jump on all of the things that we’re supposed to do and take part in? Is there a way?

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Well actually there is…and how you do it, can put you a step ahead of those who share your same burdens.

How you get that extra jump is very simple…you prepare the night before!

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Want to feel more in control of your time?

Take a look at your calendar. Whether you keep your calendar digitally or in paper form, spend a little time each evening actually consulting it. Take a look at what’s coming up. Is there a doctor’s appointment, you set a few months ago? A party coming up that you agreed to attend? A lunch date with a friend? When you look at your calendar on a regular basis, you are creating a mental stamp in your mind of time blocks that have been committed to a certain purpose. It helps keep you focused as to what’s coming up next that needs your attention. There are so many wonderful calendar tools that we have at our disposal to keep track of our time, use them and gain a sense of knowing what is going on in your own life and maybe you’ll feel a little less like you’re flying by the seat of your pants!

Want to feel more energetic?

Get the  gym bag ready! This is huge. I don’t know anyone these days who doesn’t complain at one time or another that they’d like to have more energy. We each have found some coping mechanism to get us through the day and especially the morning (if you’re naturally a night owl). Whether you gravitate to that morning “cuppa joe” or protein shake or energy supplement. We all are looking for that magic bullet to restore our energy and revitalize us. And while we may have moderate amounts of success with the above, the cold hard truth is, that we need to exercise. Our bodies, in addition to being fed, also demand being exercised. What better way to get a jump on the excuse, “I don’t have time to prepare” than to pack a gym bag the night before! Get your shirt, shorts, yoga pants, tennis shoes, water bottle, etc. and stick them in a bag and have it by the door ready. When you leave to start your day, the bag gets scooped up too!

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Want to sleep better?

Turn off your phone for better sleep – This really should be a no brainer, but sadly, there are those who are so completely addicted to technology that they have a sense of needing to be “plugged into” the world at all times. You’ve seen them. Those people who constantly have a cell phone in their hands. Texting, talking or downloading the next hottest app is a ever constant state of being. So, is it hard to understand that they actually sleep with the phone by their bed? This ultimately leads to being awakened with every subtle little blip or beep of the phone. Your body simply can’t shut down operations for the night and restore itself if it is constantly being alerted with every little message. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! Or better yet, don’t even have it in the same room with you. Leave it in another location and come to it in the morning. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have legs…it’ll still be there!

Want to gain a sense of self?

Write in a journal. Journaling is one of the best ways of reconnecting to self. Since we are so distracted with the needs of others and demanding circumstances that we find ourselves involved in, it becomes very easy to lose one’s sense of identity. When a person journals, they are taking the time to mentally clean their slates. Self examination of feelings, motives and plans for the future allows for mental preparation for what lies ahead.

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Want to relax?

Read a real book – Immerse yourself in a story. Go back in time or allow yourself to be propelled into the future. Perhaps, become an investigator or a world explorer! Anything is possible inside the covers of a good book. When we allow ourselves to be transported to another time or place or simply to be engrossed in a story, we are freeing our minds of the stresses of today and mentally preparing (whether we know it or not) for what is waiting for us when we wake up tomorrow. 

In summary,  we have more of a say so in what takes up our time and thoughts than what we realize. It’s truly as simple as making a decision as to what you actually consider to be a priority. Life doesn’t happen to you, you make it happen with how you choose to respond to circumstances and how you choose to prepare for those things you know are on the horizon. You can choose to put your head in the sand like an ostrich and hope they’ll go away or you’ll miss the hard stuff or you can be like that worm that Ben Franklin told us about years ago and jump start on “it” (whatever it is) …EARLY!

Featured photo credit: A Leaf in Morning Dew via picjumbo.picjumbocom.netdna-cdn.com

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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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