How have you been? Hope you are doing well and staying safe!
Have you ever felt anxious….when you want to complete everything on your To-Do list before you go to sleep? Have you realized in trying to do all of that might get you more distracted than ever…
These days it feels like work has exploded with multiple assignments and back-to-back calls. It might even get difficult to take a break or keep oneself hydrated or maintain a strong work-life balance. However, if you are like me who gets to do what you are passionate about then work becomes another source of recreation! These past couple of weeks, I have seen my husband and myself so occupied with meetings and presentations that urged us to ponder upon taking a break this weekend! Nevertheless, it becomes a struggle to keep up with the hobbies. If you want to gauge your sweet spot then you should always invest time in your hobbies – it can be traveling, cooking, or anything at all. For me, it is reading books since it offers food for thought and motivates me to become a better version of myself.
Today I would distill my learnings from the book “Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and working smarter all day long.” This book speaks to many who are in the profession, which is creatively demanding. In this hyper-connected world and dealing with a workforce which multi-generational, multi-cultural, diverse, and mobile there can be numerous distractions that might come along. This implies our brain will no longer apply the old algorithm to optimize things around us. Therefore, finding ways how our brain actually works while we are pulled in different directions can provide us a superpower to cut-throw noise and deliver quality performance under pressure. This book is also great for those who want to re-start their ready hobby after a break as it is short, simple, and power-packed with concrete insights helping one to thrive in this dynamic world.
Conquering Mental Block Leveraging Insights
Have you dealt with a challenging problem that urged for a creative solution however, you were simply unable to get past a certain point? It has happened to me for sure, especially in the last couple of days. It felt like I just hit a wall and could not overcome this mental impasse. Well, one of the most effective ways to overcome this mental block is by gaining insights. According to research presented in the book, we do not get these insights by logical reasoning instead we these insights if we allow ourselves to unlearn and gain fresh perspective instead. Let’s say for example, that while we solve the word puzzles that pumps us to think out of the box. For instance, words for you are crab, sauce, and pine. If you manage to gauge the solution to the puzzle, the word is apple. In this book, I found a few ways to break this mental impasse.
- Meditation or even a simple exercise of stretching yourself. This allows us to wander that enables the unconscious mind to identify the hidden patterns which might get missed in the plain sight
- Talk to yourself – Voice the problem aloud and as you hear yourself speak about them it can offer support to observe your own thinking process more succinctly and objectively.
Attaining the Optimal level of Performance
We hear this a lot right, optimal performance and mental agility ….getting the right arousal level for the brain to get the most done in a limited time. If you are like most people, we focus better when we are given tight deadlines or perhaps are presented with something interesting that automatically breaks the distractions. Deadlines make you all the more alert and interest sharpens the focus. However, to be alert, brains require the correct level of norepinephrine, a chemical that comes into the picture when we face our fear and are scared of consequences. You know how it is said, we should face our fear it is because it exercises norepinephrine that makes the brain very active. Another chemical, which is perhaps very important for optimal performance is dopamine. It is triggered when we experience something unexpected or new that makes it interesting; in order, for our brains to operate at their peak, it’s important that the levels of these chemicals both dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain are present in the right amount. If these levels are too low, our performance will be poor. If they are too high, our performance suffers because we’re extremely stressed. Hence, if you want to find your sweet spot both these chemicals should be blended together in the right amount since it will bring out positive stress and enable you to sharpen your focus. In this book, I found a few ways by virtue which we have influence over our level of arousal
- Boosting Norepinephrine – Try imagining what will be consequences if you miss the deadline
- Boosting Dopamine – Try thinking about the rewards of a great work
Essentially, the book resolves practical ways to improve our performance. It is a common myth “If you aren’t delivering your best then try harder”. Our brain does not work like that, and it requires fuel along with rewards to keep up with the exceptional performance. If we don’t nourish our brain like we do for the rest of the body, then it is natural that our brain will procrastinate, and feel tired along with different ways to be distracted. In the end, I will leave you with this message- if you really want to work at your peak and eliminate distractions – then find ways you can get more autonomy, reflect on your thinking, and train your ability. A must-read if you want to transform your performance!
Have a great week ahead!