Tag Archives for " neural pathways "

Are you paid to think? 5 Strategies to make better decisions, solve problems and get more done!

Are you paid to think?  Sustainable Leaders® know that the secret to success is not only managing time, but also managing energy, is an essential practice to making great decisions, especially under stress.

Are you paid to think?

Successful leaders also know being efficient with their energy is critical to their success.

The latest research in the field of neuroscience (how our brain works) describes our pre-frontal cortex as the part of the brain that’s responsible for thinking.  However, since it’s relatively newly evolved, it is also very inefficient as compared to the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that stores our hard-wiring,  what we can do “automatically” without too much thinking power.

David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, describes the pre-frontal cortex as “powered by rechargeable batteries” and needs frequent re-charging, in the form of sleep, glucose (and Ill add play and fun!).

How do you know when you’re pre-frontal cortex is running on empty?  Here are some common signs:

1.  (More) easily distracted by sounds, visual stimuli

2.  Difficulty focusing

3.  Irritability

4.  Unable to make a decision

5.  Unable to remember things you “should” be able to remember (like your bosses’ name)

Here’s an ironic conflict of interest.  The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for higher order thinking or “executive functions” such as:

  • Inhibiting (keeping out distractions, both internal and external)
  • Decision-making (comparing two or more possibilities)
  • Reasoning (if-then thinking)
  • Understanding (listening, reading or watching a new idea and integrating it into existing knowledge base)
  • Memorizing (learning or hard wiring new ideas, concepts)

In order for us to increase the odds we are being most economical with our brain’s limited brain-power, we must take time to recharge, and make time for our self, and preserve our limited brain power.

5 Strategies to make better decisions, easily solve problems and get more done:

1. Unplug/Disconnect for 10 minutes a day no cell, no tv, no radio, no computer – Turn off notifications on your phone, your Blackberry, your computer email program.  Go for a walk without your phone. This is completely doable even if you are marginally neurotic.

2. Give up on perfectionism in areas where you don’t need perfection – What if you can get away with a C instead of an A?  Let your friends know from now on when they receive a return email from you and see: a   that means “I like it!”  This might not fly for business emails.  For work, do your response emails really need to win a Nobel Prize?  Will “C” work be satisfactory for some things so you can save “A” work for the really important things?

3. Schedule a one minute break every hour during the busiest time of the day – Set a timer/bell at the end of every hour or pick a number between 0 to 59 and at that minute in that hour, take a one minute  “bathroom” break.  Take 20 deep breaths, pay attention to your breath, nothing else.

4. Practice saying “I’ll check my calendar and get back to you” instead of “Yes.”  Think about how responsible you’ll feel saying this rather than irresponsible because you’ve over committed, again.

5. Schedule a 10 minute session with yourself (yes, put it in your calendar) once a day (with no deliverables) and totally unplugged.  Early mornings or right before bedtime is a perfect time to reflect and think.

How do you recharge in 1 to 3 minutes at work?  Reply to this blog with your suggestions and … Thanks for playing.

… I’m off to recharge with a 5 minute walk!

If you like this, click the link to sign up and get more free tools to become a leader who will be built to last here:  Sustainable Leadership, Inc.

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Are you paid to think? 5 Strategies to make better decisions, solve problems and get more done!

Are you paid to think?  Leaders who are sustainable, or “built to last,” are paid to think and to do so effectively and efficiently, also know that being efficient with their energy is critical to their success.

The latest research in the field of neuroscience (how our brain works) describes our pre-frontal cortex as the part of the brain that’s responsible for thinking.  However, since it’s relatively newly evolved, it is also very inefficient as compared to the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that stores our hard-wiring,  what we can do “automatically” without too much thinking power.

David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, describes the pre-frontal cortex as “powered by rechargeable batteries” and needs frequent re-charging, in the form of sleep, glucose and I’d add play.

How do you know when you’re pre-frontal cortex is running on empty?  Here are some common signs:

1.  (More) easily distracted by sounds, visual stimuli

2.  Difficulty focusing

3.  Irritability

4.  Unable to make a decision

5.  Unable to remember things you “should” be able to remember (like your bosses’ name)

Unfortunately, this pre-frontal cortex is responsible for higher order thinking or “executive functions” such as:

Inhibiting (keeping out distractions, both internal and external)

Decision-making (comparing two or more possibilities)

Reasoning (if-then thinking)

Understanding (listening, reading or watching a new idea and integrating it into existing knowledge base)

Memorizing (learning or hard wiring new ideas, concepts)

In order for us to increase the odds we are being most economical with our brain’s limited brain-power, we must take time to recharge, and make time for our self, and preserve our limited brain power.

5 Strategies to make better decisions, easily solve problems and get more done:

1. Unplug/Disconnect for 10 minutes a day no cell, no tv, no radio, no computer – Turn off notifications on your phone, your Blackberry, your computer email program.  Go for a walk without your phone. This is completely doable even if you are marginally neurotic.

2. Give up on perfectionism in areas where you don’t need perfection – What if you can get away with a C instead of an A?  Let your friends know from now on when they receive a return email from you and see: a  that means “I like it!”  This might not fly for business emails.  For work, do your response emails really need to win a Nobel Prize?  Will “C” work be satisfactory for some things so you can save “A” work for the really important things?

3. Schedule a one minute break every hour during the busiest time of the day – Set a timer/bell at the end of every hour or pick a number between 0 to 59 and at that minute in that hour, take a one minute  “bathroom” break.  Take 20 deep breaths, pay attention to your breath, nothing else.

4. Practice saying “I’ll check my calendar and get back to you” instead of “Yes.”  Think about how responsible you’ll feel saying this rather than irresponsible because you’ve over committed, again.

5. Schedule a 10 minute session with yourself (yes, put it in your calendar) once a day (with no deliverables) and totally unplugged.  Early mornings or right before bedtime is a perfect time to reflect and think.

How do you recharge in 1 to 3 minutes at work?  Reply to this blog with your suggestions and … Thanks for playing.

… I’m off to recharge with a quick walk!

Free tools for Sustainable Leaders at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.

Why Your Brain Hates Change

It’s 6:00 AM on Sunday morning and I am visiting my old house in Pine, CO,
the one I lived in two years ago before we changed our whole lives 180
degrees and moved to the resort town of Steamboat Springs (to establish a
corporate headquarters for Experience HORSEsense Team Building and
Leadership Retreats
).

I am sipping tea in the room that used to be my home office, appreciating
the familiar sounds of the hot tub whirring, the refrigerator humming.
I forgot how gorgeous the sunrises were as the sun streams through the
ponderosa pines and reflects on Lion’s Head Mountain to the East.

And I’m wondering if I’d want to move back here. Wondering if we made
the right decision to change everything and leave what we’d known for
14 years to start over in a new place … I wonder ..

Then I realize, it’s not me . it’s just my brain. Our brains thrive on
what’s familiar, certain, and known. Our brains do not like change.
Even change for the good, for better possibilities. It’s similar to the experience
of being back in high school, and breaking up with our girlfriend or boyfriend,
feeling lonely the first Friday night as a single person, and wondering
if breaking up was the best decision after all.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of our brain at the time might
have kept some of us from going back into those old patterns, only to discover it
wasn’t such a good idea after all. What if we could have said then, “it’s
okay, it’s not me it’s just my brain” and rode out the discomfort of the change, knowing it
was temporary and our brains needed time to adjust to the “unknown” until it
became the new normal .

Recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience about the strengths
and limitations of our brain can not only help us in our personal lives, but
can also help us in our business lives as entrepreneurs, as managers and as
leaders a gain a very competitive edge.

As Peter F. Drucker said, “We now accept the fact
that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of
change. And the most pressing task is to teach people
how to learn.”

Our businesses operate in a knowledge economy, where people
are being paid to think to solve problems to be creative and innovative.
Combine this with information overload and constant change, and
no surprise there is more pressure than ever to improve how we learn.

As David Rock of the Neuroleadership Institute states,
“Perhaps these findings about the brain can start to pull
back the curtain on a new world of productivity
improvement: in our ability to bring about positive, lasting
change in ourselves, in our families, in our workplaces,
and in society itself.”

So I’m going to smile and say . “it’s not me, it’s just my brain” and get
on with my business here . and when I’m done, say “goodbye” to the old
neighborhood and go back to the new one in Steamboat!

Free resources for Developing Sustainable Leaders at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.