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Science Based Best Practices For Working Smarter Not Harder

Uncategorized Oct 02, 2018

Culturally, most of us, if we are honest, will find ourselves “glorifying busy” and idolizing “the hustle” or “the hustler” (I’m looking at you Elon and Gary V).  You and I have been sold the lie that the harder you work the better the results will be. Work harder, harder, harder, and when you have worked as hard as you can…push just a bit more towards the goal(s). The challenge is that contemporary cognitive neuroscience is demonstrating how unhealthy and ineffective this mindset is.

Simply put, effort isn’t the key determinant for health or success, efficiency is.

Efficiency, by definition, is achieving your goal with the least amount of energy and resources necessary.

The challenge for many of us may not be a lack of work ethic, leadership training, self-development, the systems we have in place, support staff and advocates, the quality of our “hustle” or the intentional lack thereof.  The challenge is how we are executing on the basics.

Fun Fact: 95-97% of your brain function is sub-conscious.

Question to consider: “What is your current state of brain health?”

For your brain to be capable of making any decision effectively, expeditiously, AND efficiently it will need to have some key, baseline resources in order to do so. Things most of us take for granted. Every. Single. Day.

Put aside your thoughts for a moment about “working smarter” from a high-level cognitive, skill-based perspective and ask yourself a few questions right now:

  • How much sleep did I get last night? Was it quality sleep?
  • How much water have I drank today?
  • When is the last time I took a deep breath?
  • How long have I been working today without taking a break and disconnecting, even for 5 minutes?
  • Have I eaten? Was it a healthy meal/snack?
  • When is the last time I went for a walk (without my phone)?

Seems too easy, right? Wrong. Research has shown that the current entrepreneur burnout rate is higher than ever before, and the resources around decreasing burnout, working smarter versus harder, and increasing efficiency are so often tied to making better decisions tied to increased self-awareness. I am a whole-hearted supporter of self-awareness and self-development work. However, if you haven’t slept well, hydrated, taken a deep breath, disconnected from the marathon work day or social media binges, eaten in hours because you have been too busy, or even given your body a chance to move than my question is:

“How healthy and effective are the decisions that you are making if your brain is fatigued, and how healthy could they be if you did any or all of these basics?”

Your physical, mental and emotional health is directly tied to the overall quality of your brain function.

Every single patient and client I have ever worked with has told me they either wanted to or needed to improve on The Six Basics I mentioned above (sleep, hydrate, breathe, rest, eat and move). My suspicion is that you feel the same way.

If you answered yes than let me give you a few, simple recommendations on how to work smarter not harder based on increasing the health and efficiency of your best resource…brain function.

  • Drink 100 oz of water per day. At minimum, drink 50 oz.
  • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally would for the next week
  • Download the app Breathe to remind yourself to do mindful breathing throughout the day
  • Download the Be Focused app to help you remember to take intentional breaks
  • Find a protein bar that works well with your diet and keep a box at your desk for easy access. Life can get busy. Keep a snack within arms reach. (I personally recommend RxBars)
  • Download the Pedometer++ app and set a goal for yourself to walk a bit more. I recommend 1K steps per day minimum, and 15-17K is ideal.

The key with implementing The Six Basics is not to require 100% compliance or achievement of all of these from yourself, but, rather, to attempt a 3-5% initial improvement.

If you are like me and many other entrepreneurs you are not short on effort, desire, process, or resources; but sometimes life just feels so busy and we can forget to do the basics.  The recommendations I have given you are simple and easy to integrate into your existing lives and routines. I know, both personally and professionally, as a patient and a functional neurologist, an entrepreneur and a business owner, that implementing The Six Basics on a regular basis will make a profound difference to your overall brain function.

Work smarter not harder by ensuring that your brain has the basic resources it needs to make efficient decisions.

Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe

Functional Neurologist

Thrive Neuro Health

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