Women Mean Biz

5 Ways to Help Your Brain Improve Your Effectiveness

by Rhian Sherrington on 8th May 2014

Have you ever stopped to think about how you are using your brain in work, in your business?

It's our most powerful and essential asset we all have, no matter what we've got in the bank account or on our client list, but do we treat it as such?

I suspect most of us don't really give our brains much thought in the day to day of running our businesses or performing at work. I was certainly the same until I started to get interested in, and then apply, neuroscience into my coaching practice.

We now know, for example, that neuroplasticity, the development of new neural pathways, occurs throughout life, not just in the early years and in puberty as once thought. This means we have the ability, if we so choose, to build new neural pathways and learn different behaviours, different habits that can support and empower us.  Those in the personal/ professional development fields have felt that was true for years but now the science is there, backing that up.

There is so much to learn from this exciting, growing area of knowledge.  Aligned with positive psychology and emotional intelligence, it offers coaches like myself even more proven tools to help clients. With those fields of knowledge in mind, may I offer the following five ways to help you use your brain to be more effective?

1. Create Space to "Be"

Whether this is meditation, a mindfulness practice, a wander through the park or staring at the sky, get into the regular practice of creating space to just 'be' every day and you've increased your productivity straight away. Just 10 minutes a day is all it takes.

2. Switch to Visual

Your brain, especially the pre-frontal cortex that is in charge of most of your cognitive processing, gets tired. Research shows that you can give it a break by switching to using mind mapping, drawing or other visual tools to do your planning and thinking, keeping your cognitive powers fresher for longer.  Studies have also shown that visualizing your goals, going through the mental process of doing and achieving them gets bigger results than you might expect.

3. Understand the emotional factors behind your procrastination.

It's all very well saying "eat that frog"but if you're not aware of your true feelings around not wanting to achieve a task, you're unlikely to stop yourself procrastinating next time something similar comes around. Tune into your emotions by sequentially asking your head, then your heart and then your 'gut', what are the reasons for not wanting to do that 'ugly frog'.  Listen carefully and identify what action(s) you need to start doing in order to unpack and address the possible fears lying beneath.

4. Stop giving in to 'novelty brain' and stick with it!

Every 3 minutes your brain sends you a little push to change activity. However it takes a full 25 minutes to regain the focus you had before you say checked your phone or email. Be disciplined and use the first 90 minutes of your day on the most important thing you need to achieve and DO NOT give in to novelty brain.  You'll accomplish so much more in half the time.

5. Develop your 'confident core' and step into being a CEO of your life.

How many times do you agree to something only to realise later you should have said no? Do you go round in circles trying to make decisions or can you find yourself fretting over giving a presentation or making that phone call?

Feeling confident allows you to avoid such time and energy wasters. It also helps keep your brain and body in a state of positive emotion (PEA) that enables you to be more productive and effective. Not only that it, having confidence allows you to accomplish more, build better positive relationships and enjoy more positive thinking ... all fundamental aspects of living a flourishing life.

If you want to know more, especially around how you can choose to develop your confidence to improve your level of effectiveness and success, you may like my new book, Alchemy of the Mind: Create Your Confident Core, coming out on Amazon Kindle store 15th May.

Rhian Sherrington is a Confidence, Career and Life Coach for busy women looking to flourish in their lives.



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