"If we want to simplify and deepen our lives, we must simplify and deepen our minds. When we become more centered, clear, spacious, caring, and open, there is suddenly much more room in our frenetic lives for both others and ourselves."
— Lama Surya Das
How do you start your work day? Do you jump right into your email inbox and get lost in the sea of unread messages calling for your attention? If so, before you know it, your mind is probably racing from one thought to another, to another. Unless your primary job function is to respond to email messages, email is a good example of how we give away the control of our schedule in response to other people's agendas and invite overwhelm into our day right from the start. We also lose precious moments when we can maximize brain power. How so?
When too much noise and input enters our brain, we become fuzzy thinkers. In addition, overwhelm and information overload add to our stress levels. Prolonged stress elevates cortisol, a stress hormone that appears to shrink the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with memory and other cognitive functions.
The point is that if we want to be efficient, productive and creative at work, we need to put more thought into how we start our days. Much like we are better off taking the earliest flight if we want to leave on time because flight delays tend to snowball, we should spend our early work hours on some deep thinking because distractions snowball too.
You can come up with your own empowering morning routine that can help you maximize brain power for your most important projects:
- Set your morning agenda the day before.
- Think of a brain-friendly ritual that will signal the transition into the work routine. You can choose to mediate, take a morning walk, listen to music or something inspirational that can put you in a good mood. We think better when we feel good. According to the research conducted by neuro-psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, positive emotions tend to broaden our focus, enabling us to discover more tools and solutions to life's challenges and making us more resourceful.
- Limit the noise and distractions and spend your precious morning hours reflecting, writing, creating, strategizing, or trying out unconventional problem-solving approaches.
What's your favorite mourning routine to maximize brain power?