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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 April 22, 2021

        How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

        How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

        Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

        Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

        In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

        One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

        “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

        Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

        Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

        Motivation Is Not the Answer

        How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

        If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

        We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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        Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

        Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

        How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

        Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

        1. Define What a Win Looks Like

        In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

        Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

        Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

        When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

        4 Steps to Define a Win
        • Know the outcome you desire.
        • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
        • Write the outcome down.
        • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

        Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

        As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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        Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

        2. Evaluate Your Activity

        Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

        Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

        Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

        Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

        • Do now
        • Plan to do it later
        • Delegate to someone else
        • Delete it

        Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

        • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
        • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
        • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
        • Does this activity have to be done at all?

        Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

        3. Prioritize Your Calendar

        If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

        First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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        It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

        “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

        Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

        “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

        Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

        It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

        4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

        We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

        Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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        Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

          But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

          “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

          Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

          Use these questions to reflect on your day:

          • What went well?
          • What didn’t go well?
          • What can I change?
          • What do I need to start doing?
          • What do I need to stop doing?

          The Bottom Line

          Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

          Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

          “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

          Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

          That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

          More on Creating Healthy Routines

          Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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