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How To Fake It Until You Make It While Running On No Sleep

How To Fake It Until You Make It While Running On No Sleep

Sleep deprivation is all-too-common these days, whether because of a demanding job or a new member of the family who doesn’t keep the same schedule as you (or both). My daughter didn’t sleep through the night for two and a half years, so I learned a lot about how to get things done with little sleep. If you’re feeling overworked, tired and unhappy, some of these strategies should help you fake it until you make it to a place in which you’re getting more regular sleep.

Take Care Of Yourself

It can feel impossible to do the things you need to do to take care of yourself — like eating well, working out or even just getting down time — when you’re working constantly with little sleep, but it’s essential.

The more you can do to keep yourself healthy despite your crazy schedule the better off you’ll be. When you’re eating well you’re giving yourself the fuel you need to keep your brain and body functioning.

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Exercise, even if it’s just a brief walk outside or a plank or sit-up challenge, will give you a goal outside of work to reach for, not to mention the endorphin boost you get from moving your body.

Keeping up with your physical appearance is important, too. Any new mom will tell you a good hot shower can be sanity saving. It’s the same for people who are lacking sleep for other reasons.

Carve Out Time Just For You

It’s super important to have down time, no matter how small an amount. Taking a mental and a physical break from working and from the workplace is a key to happiness when you’re feeling a lot of stress from your job.

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It might not be possible to get away for a full day, but even if you could carve out half an hour or an hour when your work is done to spend time on a hobby you enjoy, read a book or just do nothing, that will give your brain time to re-energize and remind you of things that are important to you outside of work.

Get Perspective

It’s important to remember your current work situation is demanding and unpleasant but also temporary. Just like all kids eventually sleep through the night, no job can stay demanding forever.

Projects come to an end; busy season does not last all year. If you can fake it until you make it to the end of whatever is causing your overwork now, you’ll be so much more grateful for the time you have when it’s over.

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One strategy I like to use when I’m feeling overworked is to write out things I want to do when I have more time. It could be a trip with my family, a book I want to read or a project I want to finish. Thinking about those things and looking forward to the time when I’ll have time gives me an extra push of motivation when I feel like giving up.

Remember Why You’re Doing It

Finally, remember you chose to do this project or take this job for a reason. What’s the end goal? Whether it’s a raise, a promotion, the promise of more time off in the future or even the prestige that comes with having accomplished something major, remember why it is you’re making the sacrifices that you are.

Having a really demanding job, working all the time and not getting enough rest is really hard. Taking time to remember why you’re doing it and what’s in it for you is a great way to keep moving forward feeling sharp and productive even when all you want to do is take a nap.

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Featured photo credit: amirjina via photopin via flickr.com

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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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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