If you blame advancing years for the fact you forget names and plot of books, stop. Recent studies suggest your brain may just need a bit of a clear-out…..
1. Organise Virtually
“There’s nothing like having outstanding tools to turbocharge your productivity”. If you organise your thoughts as they occur, they will be easier to navigate and recall and you’ll free up space in your head. On smart phones and tablets you can create pinboards, combine to-do-lists, highlight priority items and set reminders. Try Awesome Note (iPhone), Corkulous (iPad) or Sticky Notes (Windows 7). Sign up to Pinterest to ‘pin’ images you like while you’re online, and use Delicious as your online storage for articles.
2. Just Say ‘No’
As it says Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, “Being busy is not a badge of honour”, and it’s right. You don’t have to say yes to everything you are asked to do. Think before you reply, consider whether you want to take part, whether you can and whether delegating is an option.
3. Diarise A Rest
“Examine your week and see whether you can pinpoint those times that you truly rest. If it’s not happening every day, diarise it now”. “A gentle stroll, reading a book, taking a long, hot bath. It helps us to regenerate physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.” Write it into your schedule and stick to it.
4. Write To-Do-Lists
“Like a pair of Wellington boots, to-do lists may not be sexy, but they are highly practical”. “The very act of writing can stop us from getting bogged down.”Have one list, update it regularly and express each item as a single action. Checking it regularly, will allow you to regroup and refresh your world, to take stock and organise your thoughts.
5. Don’t Talk About It, Do It
Focus on the ‘one big thing’ of each day and get that done first, now. “Immediate action keeps your mind clears and your to-do-list tiny”. Make doing that one thing your priority and you’ll reach the end of the day knowing how little or much you have achieved and what to focus on the next day.
6. Know When To Switch Off
Don’t just watch the TV for the sake of it. Look up the TV schedule in advance and only watch the programmes you actively choose, turning the TV off afterwards. Mindless channel-flicking fills up your mind with information you don’t need, and wastes time. Focus on one good show and then switch off.
7. Shake Up Your Routine
Ever find yourself walking into the kitchen and forgetting what you went in there for? It’s what happens when you are on autopilot, so shake up your routine by driving a new route to work, sleeping on the other side of the bed or swapping iPods with a friend. You’ll notice, connect and remember more.
8. Sweat It Out
Exercise for 20 minutes three times a week (find an exercise you enjoy). That’s gives your mind space to breathe, clutter a chance to settle, your brain the opportunity to move oxygen (its fuel), your heart a workout and, most importantly your stress a release.
9. Get A Decent Night’s Sleep
“People who get fewer than seven hours’ sleep have lower activity in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which are involved in memory. This limits the ability to learn, solve problems and remember important information. Create a soothing night-time routine and keep computers and other distractions out of the bedroom.
10. Only Check Email 2 To 3 Times A Day
Turn your emails alert off and allocate certain times of the day to checking your inbox. During those times, blitz your email, then turn it off. This will stop distractions and provide greater access to your intelligence, by stopping the clogging of information in your head.