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4 Ways to use your brain and manage your time

Dec 21

One of the important factors that affect a person's ability to manage time is his or her "executive skills", also known as "habits of the mind."  Executive skills are mental processes that enable you to focus your attention, plan, organize, initiate work, regulate your emotions, control your impulses, and stay on track with what you are doing. These skills reside in that part of your brain that helps you set goals, maintain self-control, become adaptable and resilient, and be able to manage complex problems. 


If executive skills are not your strong point, you will find it hard to manage your time. People with weak executive skills are also more likely to get sidetracked, procrastinate, and be impulsive.


If you want to be in control, here are 4 ways to use your brain and manage your time.


  1. Prioritize Information


You may have experienced being bombarded with information and ended up feeling paralyzed and can't make any decisions. You are not alone in this as it is your brain's normal reaction when there's overwhelming information coming in. It's the same when a computer would suddenly hangs up when there are more applications, tabs and open files than it can handle. 


Prioritizing information means arranging information based on urgency or importance so that you can deal with things that need your immediate attention. 

  1. Be wise in how you divide your attention


Juggling several responsibilities at once is not an easy task. While it is difficult, it is not also impossible. However, you need to be mindful that sometimes, juggling several things might not work. This is especially true when doing mental tasks that need concentration and when accuracy is important. In this case, you may have to do one thing at a time. 


When you feel pressured to do several things at the same time, you need to decide whether to focus or split your attention. Your ability to determine when to focus and when to juggle two or more tasks is crucial to achieving your goals.


  1. Stop the brain drain


Your brain uses energy even during sleep, but it generally uses more when you are awake. A normal person's brain burns over 10 calories every hour. While you may not run out of energy by doing mental tasks alone, your body will respond to an overworked brain through stress and other physical responses. 


Since planning requires energy and it is crucial to your day's overall success, it's a good idea to make planning your first task for the day. You don't want to start planning when your brain is already exhausted and stressed as it generally results in unfavorable output.


  1. Stimulate your brain with visuals


Visuals can help activate your brain. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. Visuals are rich with information. The best part about visuals is that they require less energy to process. 


Stimulating your brain with visuals to manage your time means that you can take advantage of visuals in planning and organizing your priorities. Instead of just saving your ideas or to-do list in your brain, why not write them down? You can create a checklist of your daily tasks, and there you can easily tick off each item on your list once you have accomplished it.


The human brain is very powerful as it can greatly affect your ability to manage your time more efficiently and effectively. There are many ways how you can use your brain to manage your time but the ones we listed are the simplest methods. It may take time for you to master your executive skills, but if you are serious about it, it's possible. If you want to get started now, Change Works can help you. We offer a program called Brain Based Time Management designed to provide participants with proven strategies for effective time management.