So you’ve set yourself some big goals this year and now it’s time to take action, right?
How do you make sure you don’t crash and burn?
Here are 8 brain hacks to help you stay motivated, focused and more productive in 2015.
#1 Remember why you got started in the first place.
You started this journey for a reason.
That reason was so important and so compelling to you, that it drove you to take risks and make decisions that others wouldn’t dream of.
Your body was tingly with a sense of purpose, the feeling of excitement and you were fully motivated – remember that?
The trouble with motivation is that it can quickly subside when you are faced with obstacles but installing this simple habit will not only keep you going, but will also fuel your resiliency.
Take one sheet of A4 paper and write on it your goal. Underneath write down all the reasons why this is so important for you. Keep it close to your bed.
Every night before you sleep and every morning when you wake, spend a few minutes to read them out aloud to yourself in the mirror
#2 Download Coffitivity.
This is one of my favourite discoveries for 2015 and it’s already making a huge difference to my working day.
It’s a genius little app that plays ambient coffeeshop noise which according to a peer-reviewed study out of the University of Chicago, “is conducive to creative cognition.”
In a nutshell, this means being a tiny bit distracted helps you be more creative!
Whilst I am working I have this playing in the background with my Concentration Music Spotify Playlist and voila I have an instant coffee house feeling in my office!
It is available as an app for your smartphone and also via a desktop site. Check it out here
#3 Recruit An Accountability Buddy
Most poeple hate the thought of letting someone else down, so why not use it to your advantage?
Recruit yourself an accountability buddy. This needs to be someone who you respect enough to accept challenge from and who won’t let you make poor excuses for not getting things done.
Each morning exchange a mini task list via text, email or good old fashioned paper.
As each of you completes a task you let the other know via a message until you have completed your list for the day. After a while a little competitive spirit may creep in and you’ll be surprised at how much you get done.
You can also add in forfeits for not completing tasks for a whole other dimension!
#4 Get 10 Minutes of Meditation
You don’t have to be a Yoga Master or Buddhist Monk and sit for hours in total silence to get the benefit of meditation.
Using a technique called Diaphramtic Breathing you can achieve the benefit of empting your mind, relaxing your body and recharge your brain in just 10 minutes!
Here’s how :
Sit upright in a straight-backed chair and place your hands in your lap.
Allow your shoulders to drop down and relax.
Now, without moving your shoulders or chest, take a slow, deep breath in.
Imagine that there’s a balloon inside your belly. When you breathe in, the balloon expands outward. And when you breathe out, the balloon collapses in toward your spine.
Concentrate on the movement of your belly rising and falling.
#5 Drink More Water
Grabbing a cup of your favourite java might sound like a good idea for perking up a flagging brain but instead go for a glass of water.
Water gives the brain (which is about 85% water) the electrical energy for all functions, including thought and memory processes.
Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, says that brain cells need twice the energy of other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.
When your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water, you will be able to think faster, be more focused, and experience greater clarity and creativity.
#6 Put Some Omega 3 In Your Diet
Pay more attention to what you put in your mouth and you could improve what comes out of your brain.
Foods high in omega 3, such as oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines), flax seeds and walnuts are great for improving concentration and motivation as they improve cognitive function, which means they help with the brains ability to think and process.
Keep some nuts or trail mix on your desk for your to snack on and put a little more thought into what goes into your lunch box.
Time to skip that Gregg’s sausage roll!
#7 Get 30 Minutes of Exercise In Every Day
A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management concluded that people who exercised during their workday were 23 percent more productive on those days than they were when they didn’t exercise.
Just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise will improve blood circulation and flow to the brain meaning that your thinking becomes clearer and sharper.
Published research found that after doing an easy half-hour bike ride, subjects completed a cognitive test faster than they did before exercising… and just as accurately. On top of that the brain-boosting effect lasted for at least 52 minutes after the ride.
#8 Take Regular Breaks
It might seem couter intuative to getting stuff done but a growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity.
Just like any other muscle in your body, when the brain is subjected to long periods of activity it becomes fatigued and needs a rest period before it can recover.
Taking a few minutes break every 30 – 40 minutes to stretch, talk a little walk or simply look away from your screen can help to reenvigorate your thinking power