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Be More Productive With These Five Brain Training Exercises

Author: NeuroGym Team | 2021

Do you want to be more productive?

Of course, you do!

But it’s tough. There are only so many hours in a day and an endless list of things you want to do.

Well, you can get more done by training your brain.

Your brain is powerful and neuroplastic which means it can create new paths and strengthen existing ones. All of this adds up to a stronger brain and the ability to do things faster and more efficiently.

Are you ready?

It’s time for a mental workout!

1.   Improve Your Productivity by Juggling

Juggling is an excellent activity to do, as it requires your full attention which will translate to other areas of your life. It is easy to incorporate into your life as well—even if it does take a bit of time to learn the right technique.

Start with three balls when you just begin juggling; you can always add more if you feel like a challenge.

Keep a set of balls in your desk drawer at the office and another set at home. Whenever you have a few moments to spare, use the time to juggle. It will give your mind a break!

How It Helps

Juggling requires that you focus on one task containing several elements (balls). Any distraction results in dropping the balls, so juggling forces you to concentrate. This builds new neural connections in your brain which are strengthened as you get more practice.

As you juggle, your body moves sufficiently to get oxygen circulating through your body faster. The extra oxygen going to your brain helps you to think more clearly. It also combines left and right brain thinking so you can think better.

You are also thinking faster because a split-second decision can be the difference between catching or dropping a ball. This rapid thinking transfers to other activities which makes you more productive.

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2.  Brain Training With Mnemonics

Mnemonics are rhymes, words, acronyms, or any other type of device you use to remember information. Typical examples include TGIF, which means, “Thank goodness it’s Friday” and the well-known phrase, “I before E except after C” used when spelling.

It is much easier to memorize and recall information when using mnemonics, so it also makes it easier for your brain to create new pathways. Find some mnemonics you want to use and practice them daily to enhance your brain activity.

Many different types of mnemonics exist. Here are some you could use:

Musical Mnemonics

Use songs to help you remember things. Think for example about the “ABC” song which teaches the letters of the alphabet. You can use popular songs or make up your own.

Chunking

Chunking helps you to remember large amounts of information in an easier way. For example, instead of remembering 12 digits, you can break it into three groups of four numbers.

Word, Keyword, and Letter Mnemonics

Components of language can act as mnemonics. These include acronyms and creating associations with keywords.

How It Helps

Mnemonics require creativity, memory, and associations to work. When this happens, you are using both sides of the brain and improving your thinking skills.

The use of mnemonics strengthens the prefrontal parietal network of the brain which is responsible for generating new neural paths. This is useful when you want to learn new information or even to generate positive messages about yourself.

Using mnemonics means you remember things more easily and quickly. This is useful when you have to make rapid decisions or need information quickly, so it will help you do more in a shorter period of time.

3.  A Word a Day

Learning a new word each day expands your vocabulary and is one of the easiest ways to get your brain working.

Find a Word

Commit to finding and memorizing a new word daily. You can do this by flicking through a dictionary and identifying a random word or subscribe to an online dictionary that sends you a word via email.

Write It Down

Once you have a word, do as many activities with it as possible to make it part of your vocabulary. Start by writing down the word on a piece of paper and provide a definition below it. Make a sentence with it and write that down, too.

Make It Audible

Sound out the word and say it several times so that you can hear it, too. If you cannot pronounce the word, then search for it online, as it will have the phonetic pronunciation or a recording to help you.

Create Associations

Draw or find some pictures to represent the word so that you can have clear mental associations. Try to use the word somewhere throughout your day to cement it in your brain.

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How It Helps

When you learn new words, you create new pathways in your brain. You can enhance these pathways even more by following the process described above, as it then strengthens both visual and auditory associations you have with a specific word.

By expanding your vocabulary, you empower yourself to understand information more easily. You can process details because words are known to you which allows you to think and react more efficiently.

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4. Be Productive With The Wrong Hand

You have a dominant hand with which you do most activities. For many people, this is the right hand—although there are some left-handed individuals, too. Using your non-dominant or “wrong” hand is a great way to get your mind working hard.

Challenge yourself to use your non-dominant hand for at least one task a day. You could use your wrong hand when brushing your hair, swap cutlery from one hand to the other, or throw a ball.

Once you can use your non-dominant hand more easily, you can increase the difficulty level of the tasks. Make it even more challenging by standing on one leg while doing these activities.

How It Helps

When you use your non-dominant hand, you force your mental processes to kick into action. It requires deliberate thought patterns and actions which create new mental paths and boosts your neuroplasticity.

The left side of your brain controls the functions on the right-hand side of your body while the right side of your brain controls the left-hand side. Using your wrong hand encourages your brain to cross the middle line and utilizes whole-brain thinking.

Doing this on a regular basis strengthens your brain and the collaboration between the two sides. It creates faster reaction times and promotes clear thinking.

5.  Beat Procrastination With Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something you should always incorporate into your day. Simply put, it is the practice of staying in the moment and paying attention to the task at hand in a calm manner.

Meditation forms part of mindfulness, so try and make time for it once per day. Even if you cannot meditate, there are other mindful options that may appeal to you.

Here is one you can try right now:

  1. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths then open them.
  2. Observe your surroundings.
  3. Identify five things you can see.
  4. Name four items you can touch or feel.
  5. Listen for three sounds you can hear.
  6. Name two smells in the room.
  7. Identify one thing you can taste.
  8. Take three more deep breaths.

This is a simple mindfulness activity that you can do anywhere and at any time. It brings your attention to your surroundings and helps you approach your next task with clarity.

How It Helps

Spending a few minutes daily in mindfulness meditation and using the principles of mindfulness during the rest of the day has many benefits. It improves neuroplasticity, as you are staying on task while also opening your mind to other possibilities.

With mindfulness, you learn to listen to yourself and other people which allows you to consider many options before making a decision. It rewires your neural paths positively and expands your thinking.

More importantly, mindfulness allows you to approach every problem calmly and with awareness. This takes away the constant rush and stress of daily life and instills a sense of well-being and self-confidence in your abilities.

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About The Author

NeuroGym Team

NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.

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