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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.

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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        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!

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        Last Updated on August 21, 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. Hello promotion, here I come!
        • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

        So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

        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.

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

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        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.

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

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        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.

        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.

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        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!

        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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