“Geniuses don’t have more brain power than the average person, they just use their brains more efficiently”.
I was thrilled when I came across this quote. For years, I believed that geniuses had higher IQs and more brain power than average person and that’s what made them more efficient in what they did. The moment I read this quote, I said to myself, “Wow! If I could learn to how to improve my brain power, then I would be more productive at both work and life”. I always had a tough time multitasking between my writing jobs, home schooling my daughter, helping her with practice, cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes, laundry, etc. (the list goes on). I was not on any kind of social media like Facebook or Twitter or IMs (instant messengers) as I didn’t have the time (nor the interest). I used pat myself for being “old-school”. I couldn’t snatch time for entertainment though at times I wished to watch some good movies. Round the clock I got tangled with one task after the other; sometimes doing two together. Yet I struggled to multi-task and felt bad when I was unable to do all that I had planned for the day. I wished I could improve my brain power to multi-task. I hated to push off tasks for the following day but I found myself physically and mentally exhausted without much options left.
I started reflecting and contemplating where I was going wrong in spite of trying hard to prioritize my tasks and using the best of the time management principles every day. I realized that my multi-tasking was actually draining me down instead of improving my mind power and physical stamina. Interestingly the quote I read led me to read an article which startled me. The text that I read was something like this:
Your Brain Can Multitask: True or False?
A voice inside me said: “TRUE…but only you’re bad at it…Humph!”
But I was surprised to find the text as: FALSE…
What I read got me onto my feet. “What? My brain can’t multitask?” I asked myself. Yes, that’s what the neuroscience research has proved.
“Your Brain Can’t Multitask”
Author John Medina in his book ‘Brain Rules’ states that studies show that people who multitask often end up taking double the time to finish a task and tend to do 50 percent of mistakes (Jordan, 2011). Jordan (2011) suggests that instead of multi-tasking we need to do multi-sense.
He recommends 7 habits to improve brain power.
1. Instead of Multitasking, Multi-Sense.
When we multitask, we actually slow down and take more time to complete a task at hand. Hence we need to multi-sense. We need to use as many senses as we can and complete each task at a time sequentially and by giving full attention. This way you we could improve our brain power and also become productive at work (Jordan, 2011). According to neuroscience research multitasking hinders our performance at work. People who think that multitasking is great actually aren’t aware that it is a myth. People just believe that they can do more tasks by multitasking simultaneously. On the contrary, research says that our brain is unable to pay full attention consciously to two different tasks at the same time (Jordan, 2011).
So instead of multi-tasking we need to multi-sense.
2. Eat a Nutritious Diet
Apart from multi-sensing our work Jordan (2011) suggests that we eat a nutritious diet comprising of lots of nutrients such as colorful fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids and low on carbohydrates and saturated fats.
3. Exercise More
A moderate physical activity 3 times a week can improve brain function in terms of cognitive function and enhanced mood/emotions (Jordan, 2011).
4. Socialize More!
Jordan recommends that we stay socially active (that is direct engagement with people and not merely on FB) which helps in improving brain and increase in brain neural connections (Jordan, 2011).
5. A Good Sleep
The most essential ingredient of all to improve brain power is— a good sleep. A good and undisturbed sleep is very important for improving brain performance as a sleep deprived brain has to work harder and would accomplish less. A good sleep reduces both physical and mental stress. Importantly, a short afternoon nap (called the power nap) serves as an energy booster for the brain as per the 2002 Harvard University study (Jordan, 2011).
6. Challenge Ourselves Mentally
Another important aspect to increase mind power is to challenge ourselves mentally. As per the neuroscience research our brain is constantly evolving by rewiring and making new synaptic connections because of its neuroplasticity. However, there are two choices. Either we can allow our brain to change automatically or we can self-direct it on purpose by giving room for autonomy and to maximize its performance (Jordan, 2011). We can challenge ourselves mentally by learning new things, thinking new thoughts or doing new stuff where we can self-direct our brain’s neuroplasticity (Jordan, 2011). By finding new ways to do our work and balancing life, we would be in the path of self-directed neuroplasticity (Jordan, 2011).
7. Hold A Positive Attitude Towards Life
Finally, only by holding a positive attitude towards life and by laughing often we can find the true to happiness. As per the neuroscience research a relaxed person with positive attitude handles life stressors better when compared to a tensed person with a bad attitude (Jordan, 2011).
I am all excited about the findings on neuroscience research on improving my brain power and I believe that I would be able to achieve better productivity by following the 7 habits for a powerful brain.
Jordan, J. (2011). 7 Habits of Highly Effective Brains. Mindfullychange.com. Retrieved