When I was writing my Master’s thesis last year I never felt so brain drained in my life. Reading hundreds of books and then having to create original writing and research from all the information I absorbed. For months. Ouch. My brain literally ached. When it was all over, I didn’t leave my room for two days, didn’t crack any type of literature or even turn on the tube; I had to recharge my over-saturated noggin.
Entrepreneurs are workaholics. Let’s be honest here…they have to be. But, there comes a time where 100-hour work weeks are going to disrupt your brainwaves and stall your creative juices. This, my over-worked friend, is not good for business. Dr. Geil Browning, Founder and CEO of Emergenetics International, has some top brain rejuvenating tips to stimulate creative thinking, spur innovation and lead to business success.
Don’t bother multi-tasking
According to John Medina’s Brain Rules, trying to multi-task is useless. Why? The brain simple cannot do it. Your brain easily switches from one task to another, which means if your attention is broken, your focus quickly switches and the first task at hand is likelier to have 50% of errors. 50% in school is failure, people.
Solution? Take one task at a time, focus on it completely and avoid distractions. You’ll complete the task quicker and more efficiently. Productivity win.
Awake the senses
Geil says that by using all your senses when you work, your brain is more engaged, entertained and alert. Her suggestions? Aromatherapy with lemon or peppermint, using pens and paper that are brightly colored and throwing a little music in the mix will help awake more of your senses, thus stimulating the brain.
The 90/10 rule
Herbert Benson’s The Relaxation Response explains that after 90 minutes our brain cycles from high alert to low alert. After that you’re less focused, less clear and more stressed. This prevents the brain from being clear and productive. Geil suggests immediately disengage when you’re feeling the signals (i.e. hunger, restlessness, sleepiness) and do something that relaxes the brain for at least ten minutes. Try one of these calming techniques:
- Breathing exercises
- Play piano
- Quick jog
- Stroke your pet (mind out of the gutter, people)
- And my fave… power nap!
Allowing your brain to relax and meditate, even just for 10 minutes, will help it re-set and get back to work.
I know, I know… you’re a busy business owner and you can’t take vacations. Pish posh. If you have any chance of brain rejuvenation and ultimate business success you’ll consider this option seriously. Geil takes volunteers to Africa where their brain turns its attention completely away from work and on to something very different. This opens minds and allows them to think differently and more creatively so when they return, they’ll have a new clear and productive mind.
So, all you brain-drained entrepreneurs – focus on one task at a time, use all your senses, take a 10-minute break and then take a vacation break and let your mind re-set. For the success of your business… well… it’s a no-brainer.