Advertising
Advertising

7 Ways to Boost Your Mind in the Work Environment

7 Ways to Boost Your Mind in the Work Environment

Seth Godin wrote a book called Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Linchpins are “people who invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos… They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.”

Linchpins are the new way to behave “like-a-boss” and I propose that in order to boost your mind in the work environment you need to do what a linchpin would do. Perhaps, if you behave like a linchpin long enough, you actually become one!

Wouldn’t that be cool if your company thought you were indispensable?

Talk about job security.

As a linchpin myself, because I’m an artist and I share my art, I’ve constructed the following actionable items to help you be the power-house, productive, and passionate individual you know in your heart of hearts you are.

1. Prepare your mind through subconscious programming.

Imagine that your brain is a computer – the hardware – and your subconscious is the software, and you are the programmer. I submit that you can program your brain by giving your subconscious suggested behavior patterns.

Tell your brain what to do by using the method called subliminal programming.

Think of this mind boosting exercise as just another way to set achievable goals for yourself.  Try the following exercise, tell your self what you want to accomplish the next day, and see if you actually do what you tell yourself.

I have learned that the subconscious is more amenable to subliminal programming, or a term I prefer to use — positive suggestions — when you are in the almost-asleep state. So right before you fall into a deep sleep, as you lay in bed with your eyes closed, suggest to yourself how the next day will unfold.

Advertising

For example, I will recommend to my subconscious: “Tomorrow you will start the blog post on such and such.” Then I repeat what I said back to myself, “I will start the blog post on such and such tomorrow.”

I choose to use the word “you” in the first sentence to suggest the task to my subconscious and then I repeat it back using the word “I” to take ownership and acknowledgment of the said task. This is my own personal way of positively suggesting goals to myself and it works.

This technique is not new, nor is it that strange. Advertisers bombard you daily with subliminal suggestions; why not use the same technique they use to get people to buy cigarettes to help you perform better at work.

2. Eat a nutritious breakfast and healthily every day.

Breakfast is one of the more important meals of the day and is a key factor in the productive lifestyle of a linchpin because breakfast jump starts your day.

Breakfast revs up your metabolism. Metabolism is a complex process that converts food into energy. If you do not have enough energy at the beginning of the day, how productive will you be at the start of your work day?

Eating a healthy breakfast will boost your mind and performance at work.

Starting your day with nutritious food will put you on the best path to making healthier decisions on the rest of your meals throughout the day.

Like all fuel isn’t the same, neither are breakfast foods. Choose wholefoods like eggs, fruits, and vegetables over bagels and pastries because ingredients such a high-fructose-corn-syrup and grains can sabotage your energy by spiking your insulin levels.

When possible, choose organic vegetables, potatoes, and fruits as your carbohydrate energy source because they may induce higher amounts of serotonin in your brain which will help you be in a good mood, laying the foreground to your creative and prolific work onslaught.

Advertising

Lastly, feed yourself well throughout the day to maintain ideal energy stores to keep you motivated and productive at work.

3. Create your gold medal plan of attack.

I don’t need to tell you that Olympians are linchpins to the 10th power- correct?

So right when you walk into your office, write down your plan of attack which is a list of the top 3 most pressing things you need to accomplish that day.

If you get all 3 done, you won the gold! You get 2 done, that’s the silver, and you know how to get the bronze medal.

Writing down a set number of tasks will boost your mind by helping it to stay focused.

Numerous books have been written about what differentiates successful people from the pack.  One of those factors is the ability of the successful person to regulate what happens in a course of their day.

American entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and linchpin Jim Rohn famously said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

4. Periodically stretch throughout the day.

A sedentary body gets tired, bored, and lazy. Continuously wake your brain and body with simple stretches.

Stretching increases blood flow, aiding in the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the brain and body.

Here are 4 simple stretches to do at your desk.

Advertising

jeanneFloresca_stretching

    5. Take a midday mental break with rest or physical exercise depending on your energy level.

    Each person has a circadian rhythm, a 24 hour biological clock displaying the rhythm of their body systems.

    800px-Biological_clock_human.svg

      Become aware of your own rhythm and energy capabilities so that you can use the hours in a day efficiently.

      For me, the afternoon is a good time for a mental break because my energy systems are at a low. During this time I like to go for a walk, read, or take a nap. For another person, the afternoon may be a high energy time and physical exercise is how they prefer to rest their mind.

      Either way, both rest and physical exercise will boost the mind in the work environment by giving a mental break from the daily grind of work. When you return to work, you will feel energized to finish your day strong.

      6. Exercise your brain daily.

      insporeYouthful_Lumosity

        Do brain performance enhancing exercises to boost your mind at work.

        I personally use Lumosity as my go-to brain exercise tool. They have helped me improve my brain speed, flexibility, attention, memory, and problem solving skills.

        Just like physical exercise helps you keep your muscle strength, brain exercises will assist you in keeping your mental aptitude.

        Advertising

        In this competitive world we live in, you need to keep your machine – your brain and body – in tip top linchpin shape.  This is how you become indispensable. This is how you separate yourself from the pack.

        7. Meditate daily.

        Meditation has been proven to increase brain function and total well-being.

        The act of meditating can seem daunting to the inexperienced person, but in reality, meditating is just being aware of your breath and what’s going on in your head.

        Meditating is the act of slowing down and reconnecting back to you.

        Liken meditation to passing GO on the Monopoly board game. Each time you pass GO, you take stalk of your holdings and where you are in the game- same thing with meditation.

        You’ve been playing the game of life all day and now you have to GO “within” to take stalk.

        Here is a simple meditation I do to collect my thoughts, de-stress, and reconnect back to me.

        • Sit in a chair with good posture, placing your hands on your lap with the palms facing up.
        • Close your eyes and observe how you breathe for 5 breath cycles.
        • Listen to your inhale and exhale. Feel how your breathing slows down, your heart rate enjoying an unhurried pace, and your general body starting to relax.
        • Let any thoughts that may appear in your mind come and go.  If one thought persists, give it some attention.  Ask the questions you feel you need to ask in order to solve or assuage the thought. Then let it go.
        • Think of the wonderful things that happened in your day. Smile and give gratitude to these things.
        • Think of the people and pets you love. Smile and give thanks for having them in your life.
        • Finish with thanking yourself for trying every day. Perhaps tell yourself some affirmations that make you feel good. You can borrow some of mine:
          • “You are everything you want to be.”
          • “You are loved and supported by the universe.”
          • “You are amazing and I love you.”
          • I know my affirmations are sentimental, but they make me feel good. Choose ones that work for you. I only recommend that they are stated in a positive way and make you feel good.
        • Finish by going back to observing your breath.

        A meditation such as this can take 5 minutes or longer. If you are a novice I would recommend starting with a few minutes and adding time when you are ready.

        Now that you’re boosted like a linchpin, run your day like a boss!

        More by this author

        18 Things You Need To Tell Yourself Every Day When You Wake Up 15 Signs You Are Living Up To Your Potential (Though You Don’t Know You Are) Why Some Couples Fall Out Of Love 15 Things Socially Skillful People Don’t Do This Is How You Can Get People To Take You Seriously

        Trending in Productivity

        1 The Lifehack Show: The Importance of Leadership (No Matter Who You Are) with Michael Bianco-Splann 2 How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World 3 What Is a Bullet Journal and What Are the Benefits? 4 Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane) 5 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Published on February 17, 2020

        How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

        How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

        In this digital era, distractions can seem impossible to avoid. Just figuring out how to stay focused on your goals and ambitions can feel as difficult as actually achieving them.

        These days, constant distractions can lead to a massive loss in productivity.

        Statistics show that employees, on average, waste 28% of their time dealing with and trying to recover from unnecessary interruptions.[1]

        And that’s at work, where you’re paid to be productive, and where some of us are monitored too much or too closely for comfort.

        So, one can only imagine how much time is lost or wasted when we are left to our own devices.

        A World of Distractions

        Speaking of devices, how many times have you grabbed your cell phone at the very moment you hear a notification, wasting precious time scrolling through social media when you should be using that time working on your goals?

        I can bet a lot.

        But we’ve all been there.

        Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and efforts to stay on task, we still find ourselves being chronically distracted.

        Chances are you’ll be interrupted before you can even finish reading this article.

        The reality is as undeniable as it is unavoidable: we live in a world full of distractions!

        But how can you take back control of your time and attention to avoid these distractions and learn how to stay focused on your goals?

        There are several strategies for overcoming distractions and reclaiming your focus, such as avoiding social media, prioritizing emails, meditation and more.

        You can read about them in detail in our article, How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide).

        Advertising

        Some of these methods have been discussed ad nauseam. But one method in particular hasn’t been talked about enough.

        How to Stay Focused on Your Goals

        Your Environment Is a Major Factor

        Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us are mostly a product of our environment. Our environment impacts us far more than we realize.

        It’s made of a multitude of things, from the space we live and work in, to the people we spend the most time with, to the things we read, listen to, and watch, to even our profiles on social media, and more.

        All of these elements of our surroundings influence our focus, thoughts, mindset, belief systems, and the goals and standards we set for ourselves. They all serve as triggers for certain behaviors, tendencies, and moods. That’s how many of our habits are formed.

        We’ll always take on aspects of the environments we continually place ourselves in.

        Willpower and Motivation Is a Broken Approach

        What a lot of people have gotten wrong about trying to achieve their goals is that they often focus only on what needs to be done and how to get it done – outcomes and willpower.

        Many think that willpower and motivation in their own right determine success.

        While both are great and necessary virtues to have to navigate this increasingly difficult world, willpower is largely a short-term solution, while motivation is great to get you started but is also fleeting.

        This is one of the main reasons why so many people’s New Year’s resolutions go belly-up by the end of January.

        Your willpower is like a muscle, which means it’s finite and will deplete with use. [2]

        Using the willpower approach to stay focused on goals centers on increasing personal efforts to overcome the environment, not on modifying or changing the environment.

        The harsh reality is that your environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. No matter how much discipline you have, eventually, you’ll succumb to your environment despite your greatest efforts.

        Setting Yourself up for Success

        In an environment that’s incompatible with your goals, its negative influence will sabotage your success.

        On the other hand, a compatible environment is one of the most important strategies you can utilize to stay focused on achieving your goals.

        Advertising

        Creating an environment that is conducive to success will trigger your desired behaviors and, most importantly, will decrease distractions.

        Inevitability Thinking

        In fact, productivity expert Eben Pagan believes that designing the right environment will create conditions that make it impossible for you not to achieve your goals.

        The multi-millionaire, entrepreneur, and investor regards this as the next evolution of goal-setting that will move us away from focusing on willpower and outcomes.

        He calls this concept “Inevitability Thinking,” which is thinking and acting as if what you are doing is a foregone conclusion because you set up the conditions for it to happen.

        What he means by “setting up the conditions for success” is designing an environment that’s conducive to you achieving your goals.

        Building Your Environment

        World-renowned leadership coach and author Dr. Marshall Goldsmith believes if a person doesn’t create and control their environment, then it will create and control them.

        He suggests having a vision of achieving the goals you want to accomplish. Then, think about designing the structure of your environment, your situation, or your organization in a way that would organically bring that vision to life.

        “If [you] can design your life [and] behaviors well, [you] don’t need to rely on willpower.” – BJ Fogg, Social Science Research Associate, Stanford [3]

        “But I’m not a designer,” you might be thinking.

        Don’t get intimidated, it can be done – by you or anyone! Designing or modifying your environment so you can better stay focused on your goals is not like designing spaceships – it’s not rocket science.

        Here is how to make it happen.

        How to Stay Focused on Your Goals: Designing Your Environment

        1. Find the Environment That Supports Achieving Your Goals

        Real progress occurs when we fully understand and align with what, whom, and where best support our goals.

        So, the next time you’re in your environment, whether at or outside of work, try to pay attention to how you feel while you’re there. Note if that feeling changes when you leave that environment.

        Examine your surroundings. Look at all the infrastructure and ask yourself these simple questions:

        Advertising

        • Am I in an environment that’s conducive to me achieving my goals?
        • Is it detrimental to me maintaining my focus on my goals?
        • Is it on par with people who have already achieved what I want to achieve?

        Also, examine your lifestyle and habits. Are you placing yourself in environments and situations that spark personal growth?

        If the answers to these questions are anything but a definite and resounding yes, then you should seriously consider modifying or completely changing your surroundings.

        The more you understand yourself, the more aware you’ll be of the environment that’s most likely to help you stay focused on your goals.

        2. Let Your Goals, Not Distractions, Distract You

        If you constantly lose focus on your goals, you pretty much render them useless. Distractions and interruptions are the biggest culprits of losing your focus.

        One of the most practical ways to maintain focus is to allow your goals to constantly distract you.

        You’ll inevitably lose focus from time to time. But you can limit the number of times it happens and the duration by facilitating your goals to distract you back to your focus.

        Now, how do you do that?

        It’s simple: make visual cues.

        There’s a saying that if you don’t see it, you’ll probably forget it. Science agrees; the eyes hold the majority of sensory receptors in the human body. Therefore, the eye is a major component of focus.

        The following cues are simply things that will trigger you to focus or refocus your attention back onto your goals.

        What type to use will largely depend on what works for you, but below are a few common ones:

        • Tape your task list or habit tracker to your desk or onto your refrigerator at home.
        • Hang motivational posters at frequently visited sections of your house or workspace.
        • Post-Its – write your goals in a one or two-word phrase on them and stick where you’re sure to see them.
        • Set cues to constantly remind you to stick with your productive habits.
        • Digital devices – alter the screensavers of your computer, smartphones, tablets, or any other digital device you use regularly to display something about your goal.

        Read more about how to stay focused on your goals: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

        3. Modify Your Inner Circle

        Multiple studies have proven that our mindset, behaviors, and motivations are largely influenced by our peer group. Therefore, the people in our lives have an enormous impact on our ability to reach our goals.

        “You are the average of the five people you associate with most…” – Tim Ferriss [4]

        Since people have such a significant influence on the direction of your entire life, if you’re really serious about achieving your goals, you may have to adjust your inner circle. This is where designing or modifying your environment for success becomes tricky.

        Unlike upgrading your iPhone, changing the makeup of your inner circle can be a lot more complex.

        One of the most difficult things to do in life is to sever ties with friends, especially against their will, even if it’s for the betterment of the self.

        It will likely foster resentment because it will require you to betray the very virtue that served as the keystone of the friendship in the first place: loyalty.

        But we must remember that above all else, when we set important personal goals, we must be loyal to ourselves if we are to achieve them. Loyalty to friends, family, or even to your spouse that is detrimental to your success in life will only slow your growth.

        By consciously deciding whom you want in your inner circle, you are taking control of the ultimate direction of your life.

        4. Change Your Environment Completely

        This method is the most extreme, but it can also be the most effective.

        While modifying your environment for it to become less distracting is ideal, sometimes it’s just not enough. Certain elements in your environment, such as your social circle, are harder than others to modify. In fact, some elements that are nearly impossible to adjust.

        There are times when these elements are so out of your control that the only thing you can do to stay focused on your goals is to make more radical and thorough changes. This can mean changing your environment completely.

        Here are some examples of changes you could try to make (only if necessary):

        1. Change your physical possessions (ex.: get rid of your TV)
        2. Create a new virtual set-up (online)
        3. Change your physical workspace (work, home, co-working, cafes, etc.)
        4. Join a new social group
        5. Change locations (home, co-working space, café, etc.)
        6. Change jobs or switch branches
        7. Drop distracting friends or family from your inner circle.
        8. Change your spouse
        9. Move to a different country

        Of course, these are some extreme steps to take. So, only resort to these if you have tried everything else to stay focused on your goals but are still unsuccessful.

        Conclusion

        If you’re struggling to figure out how to stay focused on your goals, it’s a lot harder to make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment.

        By taking control of the set-up of your environment, you can influence your levels of motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and desire towards the goals you have set.

        Optimizing your environment creates powerful conscious and subconscious motivators that make staying focused on your goals easier. And for many of us, easier is always better.

        Advertising

        More Tips on Goal Setting

        Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Information Overload Research Group: The Cost of Not Paying Attention – How Interruptions Impact Knowledge Worker Productivity
        [2] American Psychological Association Study: Willpower, choice, and self-control
        [3] BJ Fogg on Twitter: @bjfogg
        [4] GoodReads: Timothy Ferriss: Quotable Quotes

        Read Next