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Optimum Talks Blog

5 Neuromanagement Tips to Improve Your Career

by Carlos Davidovich

Sometimes the smallest changes have the biggest impact. Here are five neuromanagement tips to help you have a successful career, and a healthier and happier life.

  1. Take a break! When we’re busy, the first thing we sacrifice is our downtime. Most of us don’t even stop to take care of essentials such as eating properly and exercising. In fact, office workers spend 65-75% of their work day in their seats and 67% of office workers eat lunch at their desks. So, you might ask, what’s the big deal? Well the answer comes from understanding what our brain really does during what we call “rest time”. Believe it or not, during rest time our brain actually works the most, but it does a very specific task. It organizes the information that we worked on during our “activity time” by backing-up and storing data. It’s the equivalent to hitting save on a computer. So, by taking the time to rest, and allowing your brain to back up information, you’ll be able to recall information faster, and be more focused when it counts. Like in a meeting with your boss.
  2. Be aware of how you talk to yourself…because you’re listening. Our memory changes all the time as we recall past events and restore them again in our minds. This amazing function is called Reframing and it allows us to change the meaning of our past experiences and modify the emotional impact that an experience left on us. This means that we can recreate our memories and store them in a more positive way. So that negative experience at work that happened two years ago doesn’t have to hold you back.
  3. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, exercise is important! Not only is exercise good for you, it is essential for your physical and cognitive well-being. Studies have shown that engaging in one hour of exercise each week can reduce the chances of developing a depressive state by a massive 44%. So, the next time you meet with a colleague to chat about a project consider making it a walking meeting. Not convinced? Here’s a great article published by Inc.com that outlines seven benefits of a walking meeting.
  4. Being a daydreamer might be a sign of intelligence and creativity. New research shows that allowing your brain to wander is a good thing. The process of wandering thoughts or daydreaming activates a specific pathway in our brain called: The Default Mode Network or Negative Task Network. It’s a highway that connects different parts of our brain below the level of our rational brain, creating a situation where the brain works without “interference”. Take for example, the common situation of trying to recall a name and as much as you rack your brain you just can’t remember it. Then when you consciously stop searching for that information, the answer pops-up in your head apparently from nowhere. This is the Negative Task Network in action. By daydreaming, we de-activate our rational brain and provoke a stage called “hypofrontality” that lets the rest of our brain to do its job without obstruction. When we make time for this process to happen, we increase our ability to successfully problem solve for complex issues and innovate new ideas.
  5. Good sleep is so important. A good night’s sleep for an average adult aged 26-64 is defined as 7-9 hours, but few people achieve that. When our bodies and brains do not get adequate rest, it impedes our ability to think clearly and we’re more likely to be irritable and make risky decisions. Here is what happens on a cognitive level when we get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep:

a) It gives our brain time to rest and strengthens both old and new versions of our experiences.

b) The brain eliminates toxins that accumulate during waking hours, which some scientists believe reduces the possibility of developing brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

c) The brain prunes away excess connections, and effectively “cleans the slate” so that we can function and learn more effectively the next day.

In short, a good sleep goes beyond preventing crankiness. Sleep enables productivity, enhances our ability to mitigate risk, improves our capacity to make sound decisions, and improves our overall health.

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