How to improve your performance with nerdy brain tricks

by | Nov 7, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

What’s one of the biggest winners of 2020? Videogames.

Already a popular form of entertainment, videogame playing has been surging since March. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, spending on videogames and equipment has been hitting all-time monthly highs for the past eight months. The trend of videogames over other forms of entertainment is expected to outlast the pandemic.

Are you one of the 244 million people in the US who play videogames?

Not me. I don’t play many traditional games either since I don’t have a natural game partner. My husband would rather cook and clean than take the time to play a boardgame or solve a puzzle. (Go figure!)

Yet, I’m a big player of tricking my brain. This is the concept of challenging yourself with simple ploys, stunts and plots to achieve a particular outcome.

Whether you fool yourself on purpose or by chance, these brain games can be a powerful way to get things done. And even better, you also can improve the quality or quantity of your work or both at the same time.

My three favorite brain games are:

  1. Do it better: Before you start a project – or an aspect of it – ask yourself how you’re going to do it better. How you define “better” is up to you. “Better” could be more customer-focused, more efficient, better use of technology, more collaborative, or whatever. You then need to determine how to make yourself accountable and measure your progress.
  1. Race against the clock: When you’ve got just a few minutes (10 or so) between Zoom meetings, figure out how to make the most of this found time. You decide what’s best to do. Do you send a quick email or text? Stretch your shoulders or other muscles? Drop to the floor and do some pushups? Open the door or window and breathe some fresh air? Check your to-do list? You choose. And whatever you decide, you’re the winner!
  1. Reappraise the situation: When you are annoyed, anxious or discouraged about a situation, make an effort to turn it around and view it from another perspective, preferably as positively as possible. For example, let’s say you were looking forward to meeting colleagues for lunch around Thanksgiving but with COVID-19 cases spiking in your area, you realize it’s not safe. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, you try to look for the positive benefits.

For instance, what can you be grateful for and how can you and your colleagues celebrate that in new, different and fun ways? Who knows? You may come up with an idea that consumes fewer calories, costs less money, and takes less time and is more enjoyable!

By reframing the situation or event to reduce the negative emotions you feel, you can see things in a more positive light (or at least less negative), decrease your stress level, and reduce wear and tear on both your mental and physical health.

Keep in mind that for some people, these brain games, especially reappraisal, don’t come naturally. You may either have to learn the methods from a coach or work with a coach to help you refine your technique.

And even when you do learn to play them, it helps to practice regularly, which can be hard to remember to do.

However, when you position these brain tricks as simple games you can play that help you, you’re more likely to use them and reap benefits, based on the experiences of my clients and me.

And while brain games may seem nerdy, you have to admit they require minimal investments of money, screen time and other resources. Plus, you can still play videogames after work with friends.

Are you ready to play?


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