Maximizing Your Mind Capacity

    Ever have so many things on your mind that you don’t know what to do next? Hundreds of decisions to make. Every decision has several options. We have all been there and it is in those times when we find ourselves not sure of what we should be doing and we end up not using our mind to the capabilities that we have. The brain has been researched and discoveries find that we have top to 2.5 petabytes of storage space (a petabyte is 1 million gigabytes), while the RAM of a brain is assessed at several gigabytes that can vary greatly but both figures are definitely estimates and not scientifically proven. With this known, it appears that our brain is more like a computer than I have previously thought. On that note, computers were developed based on the brain as our brains were obviously here first. My focus here is on working memory or RAM of our brain. This capability is more variable and can be developed greater, but even that topic alone is a separate post altogether. Below are five ways to improve your mind’s RAM.

  1. Streamline your processes. Anything that you can do to make something more automatic frees up your mind from having to think about it. For example, I plan what I am going to wear the whole week at a time so I only think about it once a week rather than every day. Another example of this would be using a productivity program like Nozbe to schedule your tasks and make them recurring so they pop up when you need them, similar can be done on a calendar as well. 
  2. Combine Trips. Having less destinations will save your decisions to make about which way to go and when to go. Planning trips and combining them like instead of going out just for breakfast and coffee, but also to the post office, bank, grocery shopping, or wherever you have to go if you go for these things. Going right after work instead of shopping home first or going while you are already out will save you time to think by just planning in advance. This will also save you time and money as well since you will be driving less and it will take less time.
  3. Take care of yourself. Eat and drink healthier food and drink, get the proper amount of sleep, and getting the right exercise. This is not a health blog, so take note of what that exactly means to you and whatever causes your brain to function at its best. As you do this you will learn what works better for you and it will make a difference to how your brain functions. Caffeine helps me focus well, but again that affects everyone differently, but unless there you are very sensitive to caffeine, a good cup of coffee, tea, or a nice healthy Bai5 or stevia sweetened caffeinated drink is good. 
  4. Exercise your brain. Play brain games that help improve your working memory. Do math tables, learn new words, solve puzzles, etc. There are plenty of physical products out there for this and just as much or even more apps, programs, websites, etc. 
  5. Free up your mind at times. Take time off to relax and rest. You can’t keep going all of the time, when you do your mind gets tired out and so does your body and you are less effective. Take a walk, do something fun, listen to music, hang out with friends, read a book on a different topic, or do whatever you find relaxing.

Just another note on working memory is that it is different than storage space just like a computer. However, a computer does use RAM if storage space is filled which explains why a computer can run rally slow if the storage space is filled. I could imagine our brains may be the same way but really don’t know, just speculating with that. My long-term memory is exceptionally well, and I can recall what I have did on any given day in the past 15 years. However, my RAM is just about average, sometimes maybe even worse because I still have a little bit of the ADHD I had as a child. I do at times walk into a room and forget why I did, but that happens to all of us. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section and any and all suggestions that you have.



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The Importance of Sleep for Productivity

    Have you ever tried to compromise sleep and get less sleep to get more done? We probably all have done this before. It is important to understand that almost always this practice will be counterproductive, with very few exceptions. Especially if we need to function well the next day. If you normally function well on 7 hours of sleep, getting only 5 hours can potentially cost you more productivity than we would get for the extra two hours of whatever work we would get done the night before. This does vary based on person and it is up to you to know what quantity and time of sleep works best for you. You will also know how severe the consequences are on your productivity that lack of sleep will have on you. The exception to this is if you really don’t plan on doing anything the next day that requires any types of productivity. In that while still possibly bearing ill effects on your health, especially if done repeatedly, it is not harmful to your productivity if you plan to be on vacation or resting. Below you wills see five reasons on why you should take your sleep seriously

  1. You are most focused when properly rested. I know that when I don’t sleep enough, I am scattered brained and constantly losing focus.
  2. You are in a better mood when properly rested. Being in a bad mood can cut down on productivity, you can get caught up in what you are upset about ad end up wasting time and not focusing on what needs to get done
  3. You are more easily overwhelmed when you don’t have enough rest. Sometimes things look so stressful and complicated and just a good night’s rest makes the tasks seem much more manageable
  4. Your thoughts are clear when well-rested. You will waste less time clarifying your thoughts and you will be able to process thoughts and any information quicker when you are rested enough
  5. You will be able to complete more tasks. Having the right amount of sleep is vital to having the optimal amount energy. While not the only factor, it is an important one.

As far as personal experience is concerned, getting enough rest is essential for me. I have rarely found it beneficial to sacrifice sleep in order to have more time. In those cases, I end up doing whatever I need to do the next day slower and not being able to focus as I should and then not end up any better. Everyone is different, so you need to know for yourself on how you function best, but it is a fair bet to say that getting the optimal amount of sleep is what you want to shoot for. Also, there are several reasons someone can't get the sleep they need outside of choice as well like sleeping disorders or other situations that prevent sleep like pain, children, pets, having to be a caregiver, etc. This post was not intended to address any of that, but rather just the mindset sleep in general.

Stress and Time Management

      Stress and Time Management go together quite frequently. They come with an inverse relationship. The more you manage your time well, the less stress you have. The less you manage your time well, the more stress. Of course, managing time is not the only answer to stress, but sure can help. I can personally attest to that. The better I get at managing my time, the less stress I have in general. Life is never so easy to be stress free, but on the bright side, there will always be a challenge and therefore a drive towards getting better. That is what makes time management interesting to me. I can work on it my entire life and always improve and find a solution to something. 

       We are all well aware of the negative effects of stress. However, having too little stress is not good either because then there is no drive to improve. How to avoid getting overwhelmed is an art and takes practice. Here is a three step process that could be applied to reduce time related stress.

        First, write out a to do list or use an app. Personally, much of the stress is knowing I have a lot to do but not seeing it written out before me. The only thing in my head is "I am so overwhelmed and do not know where to begin." It is valuable to actually know what is ahead and have it mapped out. What works extremely well for me is a good to do list app. Personally, I use Nozbe (one of the most amazing apps of all time) to track everything I need to do and I get tremendous satisfaction of checking things off. I also enjoy knowing what needs to be done. This works really well for me and keeps me on track. 

       Secondly, keep a schedule. This can be in conjunction with the to do list. The to do list will tell you what you need to do and your schedule will tell you when. 

       One last thing to add to the mix is the time budget because this will tell you how much time you have. Finding an effective way to integrate the to do list, schedule, and time budget is essential. 

       This is the process that I use and it helps me maximize efficiency. Again, whatever works for you is the best. My to do list is very detailed and so is my schedule and time budget, but maybe less detailed will work better for you. This is still a work in progress for me as I write this, and I haven’t perfected it. I probably never will. I will always keep improving. This will be the same for you as well. One thing I can say for sure is that there is less stress as I continually improve my processes.

People that Waste Your Time

    There are people that simply waste your time. You probably already have someone in mind after just reading the first sentence. I know I have people in my life like this before. More often than not, a lot of people who would qualify for this award is probably no longer in your life. While cutting someone off should be the first solution, there are times when it is sometimes necessary. Also, there are times when you should distance yourself from a person at one time and reunite at a later time. 

    The first step of determining if someone is wasting your time is to do an analysis of the relationship in general. Is the relationship with this person bringing you closer to your goals or giving you energy to grow closer to them? If you don’t think the relationship is helping you, then it is time to consider the status of this relationship. This could be in reference to a co-worker, friendship, or even a family member. If the friendship is one-sided (meaning only one person is benefiting), then there needs to be reevaluation done. The first step is to talk it out and see what can be done differently. If that doesn’t seem to work out, then I would suggest less time with the person. This is especially important if they are a drain to you. Let’s also discuss what a good friendship is. 

    A good working relationship should be bringing you closer to your goals, even if it is something like an employee-employer relationship, where you as the employee get at the very least a pay check and some kind of experience (hopefully valuable). Of course depending on the industry, job, and particular company, this can look different in terms of the type of pay check, experience, and training you may receive on the job. While it is very important to have a job for income purposes and to keep yourself active, the type of job does matter. If you are at a job that you don’t like or with people you don’t like, and there isn’t any chance of it getting better and you have been trying for many months or years, than you are due for a change. There’s an adage that I came up with for a situation like this: Don't try to blow up a popped balloon.

    Of course not all people are in our lives to have a working relationship with. Others are meant to be friends and to have fun with, pursue hobbies, and relax with. These people may not help you towards a career or business goal, but are good for us to enjoy ourselves and to bring energy for when we pursue our work and other aspects of our lives. It is important to have people like this in our lives to bring us energy and give us something to look forward to.

    Some people could fall into both the “work” and “play” category at the same time, but be careful when this is the case so that the lines don’t get blurred. Also, it is possible for a person to be in the “play” category in one season and then in the “work” category at another time in life or vice a versa. It is very important to have a balance so that we can get the most out of our life.