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Brain Aerobics

Saturday, September 10, 2011 by Slaughter Development

Easily escaping the normal humdrum of life may at times be difficult. After all, our daily routine is usually the map through which we navigate our lives. Yet according to an anti-aging expert, partaking in unfamiliar activity each day is an important step in keeping our brains in shape.

Recently, Dr. Maoshing Ni, doctor of Chinese medicine, relayed his thoughts on how we can easily strengthen our minds. According to him, by challenging our brains everyday with mental exercises, we’ll increase our memory and brain power. Below is an excerpt from his article:

Scientists have found that the human brain has an amazing ability to adapt and change-an ability called neuroplasticity. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, helping increase your cognitive capabilities, improve your ability to learn new information, and give your memory a boost.

By the time you are an adult, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways that help you solve problems you have come across before and process information at a rapid pace. But sticking to these well-worn pathways does not give your brain the stimulation it needs to keep developing. Mental brain puzzles performed on a daily basis help strengthen your brain by activating new neural pathways.

Dr. Ni goes on to list ways in which people can challenge their brain during the day. He suggests memorizing a poem, playing chess or even using your non-dominant hand to navigate a computer’s mouse. And while these activities certainly get our brains moving, we can’t help but wonder—being that we’re in the methodology engineering business—if there’s a way to not only challenge our brains, but increase our productivity as well?

By combining Slaughter Development’s view on failure with Dr. Ni’s philosophy on brain power, we’ve come up with two strategies of our own that will strengthen your noodle while boosting your workflow:

  • Operate Out of Order:

Despite popular opinion, performing tasks in order isn’t always the key to success. The P90X workout videos, where muscle confusion is the key component, is a great example. According to the exercise theory, when our muscles become used to the same workout (in the same order) everyday, they are not utilized to full capacity. So despite caloric burn, we see little to no change in our bodies.

By occasionally following the last instructions first or skipping steps altogether in a process, your brain will begin forming new neural pathways as it tackles the challenge of discovering new ways to completing a task. Additionally, this way may also lend a hand in adopting a new perspective on process operation and productivity. You may discover steps that are unnecessary, ones that can be combined or ones that need to be reworked altogether.

  • Don’t Follow The Norm

Let’s face it, we all know how easy it is to fall into patterns at work without truly understanding why a process is the way it is. In our line of business, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the words, I don’t know why, but this is how we’ve always done it. So, rather than simply completing your part of a project and passing it forth to the next guy, take the opportunity to learn all its components. If a project involves contributions by several departments, walk through the entire procedure. Find out who is involved, why their work is needed and how their portion is completed. Taking the time to understand all aspects will not only challenge you to learn more, but will give you a better understanding of how efficient the process is and whether or not it can be streamlined even further.

If you find these suggestions helpful and want to learn more about failure and productivity, consider reading a sample chapter from Robby Slaughter’s latest book, Failure: The Secret To Success.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

Brain Physical - Since our founding, Slaughter Development has worked alongside clients to increase office productivity by improving or even eliminating inefficient processes. Our goal? Open avenues for innovation and create a healthier workflow for stakeholders. It turns out that doing so doesn’t just create a healthier sense of productivity— it also nurtures the brain. Read on »
Want to learn more? Register now for the 2011 Productivity Series

2 Responses to “Brain Aerobics”

  1. Bryan Hart Says:

    This reminds me of the story from the book “I Dare You” to which Dan Miller frequently points. We need to have our “buttonholes sewn up” to engage our minds. If the mind only kicks into a higher gear by doing things differently, then by all means, lets do some different stuff.

    I’ve been driving different routes to work, reading more books, and crafting speeches with fewer and fewer notes to get my grey matter going.

  2. Robby Slaughter Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Bryan!

    Switching up your routine certainly gets your brain going. Making change is fundamental to being more open-minded in the future.

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