So, you’ve got goals, and one of them is to advance in your career. With so many paths available to enhance your abilities (online training, formal education, mentors), where do you start? Maybe it’s time to take a different perspective and start from the inside.
Here’s a little secret if you have a white-collar career: Your job is making you bad at your job. It’s true; the constant interruption of emails, texts and IMs changes your brain over time. Your attention span gets shorter and you’re more easily distracted from the subject you’re trying to focus on. This causes productivity issues in your day and ultimately can add time to your career timeline. People who can focus, problem-solve and shift gears without losing track of what they were trying to do, accomplish more. They rise to the top of the ranks faster and become leaders.
How do you counteract the clutter and get the best from your brain? If you are willing to make a conscious, consistent effort there are various tools that can help. Considering how important your brain is to the work that you do, why not spend some time improving it?
One of the tools that I’ve used myself is Lumosity. This is a brain-training program that trains five areas of brain function: memory, attention, flexibility, problem solving and (processing) speed by playing a specifically designed set of games online. Your progress is charted from the start and you can see not only your own improvement, but also how you compare to others in your age group. Brain training has helped me in several ways. My attention is more acute, I’m less distracted by shifts in work and more fluid in multi-tasking. I’m able to access words and ideas faster for problem solving, writing and speaking.
Set up your work environment to help you succeed, not help you to become distracted and overly brain-stressed. Turn off your alerts and only check emails periodically when you’re working on a project that requires more attention, like writing. You might even, as this article suggests, use journaling to jot down at least one purposeful thought every day. This will keep your goals and aspirations in mind help make your thought processes more proactive and less reactive. Let your mind wander and daydream a bit, then jot down your thoughts. This doesn’t have to be overwhelming, just deliberate. Brain training can be a game changer, so why not help your brain get you where you want to be?