Keep Your Brain Innovative

Posted September 11th, 2012 by bbsadmin & filed under General Business, Motivation.

From Geil Browning:

The problem with being “crazy busy” is that it does not allow freewheeling thought. Think of the bright ideas you’ve had when you were washing your face, or even sound asleep. A recent article in The New York Times titled “The ‘Busy’ Trap” points out: “History is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks, and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions, and masterpieces than the hardworking.”
Working incessantly is counterproductive. Our brains can only handle so much. A wonderful article by Sara Robinson called “Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week” notes that every work day “odds are good that you probably turn out five or six good, productive hours of hard mental work, and then spend the other two or three hours on the job in meetings, answering e-mail, making phone calls and so on. You can stay longer if your boss asks; but after six hours, all he’s really got left is a butt in a chair.”

Although corporate America has not gotten the message, there is mountains of evidence that working longer hours does not produce better work. In fact, the overworked brain begins to make mistakes, and it is possible for teams to reach a point where they are working longer hours just to correct the errors they made from working longer hours! Dramatic examples of the consequences of brain fatigue include the Exxon Valdez disaster, the space shuttle Challenger explosion, and numerous near-misses when air traffic controllers have been overtired.

So what can you do to work smarter, prevent burn-out, and make sure your brain is always open to inspiration?

1. Work fewer hours.

Working the longest hours of anyone is just foolish.

2. Clarify your goals and core values.

What are you ultimately trying to accomplish? Are you spending too much time spinning your wheels on tasks that are irrelevant?

3. Track your time.

Being ruthlessly efficient allows you to block out periods of non-work time.

4. Don’t over-promise.

This is especially challenging for entrepreneurs, since in many cases you won’t get the job unless you tell the client you’ll get it done in record time–for the least amount of money.

5. Say, ‘No.’

Learn to walk away from jobs that will be a nightmare.

6. Hire help.

If you refuse to delegate, you only end up hurting yourself by working longer hours. You will have to learn how to not be a perfectionist and how to not be a control freak.

7. Get a life.

Make sure you have a good life outside of work, and that you’re not trying to escape something by working too hard.

8. Unplug.

Block out periods of time when you will let your phone take messages and let your email collect unread. It’s not going anywhere.

Fortunately, you don’t need to travel halfway around the world to learn how to make your life less busy and your brain more innovative. By working smarter, you’ll have an opportunity for strategic thinking and planning during prime time every day, instead of squeezing your most important visionary work into late nights and weekends.