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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.

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      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 October 22, 2019

        How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

        How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

        We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

        With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

        So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

        1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

        Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

        So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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        You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

        If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

        Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

        2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

        Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

        Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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        Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

        Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

        3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

        If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

        This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

        Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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        When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

        If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

        Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

        4. Get up and Move

        We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

        When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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        If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

        Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

        It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

        Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

        The Bottom Line

        It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

        Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

        More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

        Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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