When I first started going to the track a few years ago, I knew to be judicious with it. Speed work uses a lot of physical resources and can increase the chance of injury. What I didn’t realize was that certain brain workouts are just like track workouts.
Prioritizing is one such “resource intensive,” as is thinking creatively and innovatively. Who knew? But really: prioritizing, thinking creatively or innovatively? Shouldn’t we just be able to put on our brain’s running shoes any time we want and get a quality workout no matter what? Not so! They are highly demanding of our brain’s capacity, and you get the maximum benefit when you plan for them. David Rock did and does. He shares that learning from the field of neuroscience in his book Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. And now you know, too.
Since learning that my brain will perform best when I plan resource intensive task, I have changed the structure of my day. I am now prioritizing my brain use and for me that means the first things I do each day are prioritizing, innovating, or creating. These are the hard track workouts. These are the ones that suffer the most if you come to them depleted from other workouts or multi-tasking.
I am learning to get rigorous about protecting any brain drain during these times. It means minimizing any and all disruptions, including the seemingly innocuous email floating by in a lower corner of the screen. Stop, thief! That email took a thought to notice, another thought on the topic, a thought about ignoring it (or worse, not…).
In fact, I’m far more attuned to the decreased performance that results from multi-tasking in any form. David Rock’s book helped increase my awareness of how easily attention wanders. Sailing right past an exit recently on the interstate—one I knew to take, but my mind simply didn’t see because I was pre-occupied with a client situation–certainly helped remind me of the penalties of multi-tasking—including the inadvertent kind.
So, consider the importance of planning for your hardest brain workouts. It’s not just a good idea; it’s a good (neuro) scientific fact.
Private Sector Investments that Contribute to International Development: Successes, Mistakes, and ROI
Save the date! On Wednesday, May 8th in Washington, D.C. from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, I’ll be moderating a lively panel discussion on investments in emerging markets for the Society for International Development and the Private Sector Workgroup. Who is investing? Should your company? And how can you have the “both/and”–a primary focus on your ROI and a positive impact on development? This will be a lively panel discussion on corporate investments that also contribute to international development. You’ll hear from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and how it contributes to investment successes, and from two OPIC private sector clients with in-the-trenches stories about why they invested, things they did right and things to avoid. You’ll learn about the ROI for the companies, and the countries in which the investment takes place. Whether you want to learn more about OPIC, about investing or those who are, it will be a rich, informative discussion for all. Click here to RSVP.
U.S. Library of Congress ISSN 2164-7240
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