How Can You Leverage Neuroscience
In essence, neuroscience analyzes how the billions of nerve cells in your brain develop and interact to form your thoughts and actions. Given that the brain is the most complex and intricate organ in your body, the future of neuroscience is boundless in discovering new concepts about how the brain functions.
The more our understanding of the brain evolves, the more possibilities are created to apply neuroscience principles in business. In your quest to become a leader in your field or even more narrowly within your organization, you can unleash improved productivity and more efficient results by understanding some of the core concepts of neuroscience along with practical ways to train your brain to facilitate and support your professional advancement.
Key Ways to Harness the Power of Applied Neuroscience in Becoming a Leader
With a general understanding of the concept of neuroscience and an appreciation for what it has revealed about brain activity and how to maximize it, you have taken the initial plunge to invest intellectual energy and resources in exploring the potential of applied neuroscience. Implementing these necessary steps will help you take your professional development and business capacity to the next level.
Reinforce the Importance of Staying in the Moment
As Michael Pollan writes in “How to Change Your Mind,” “The efficiencies of the adult mind, useful as they are, blind us to the present moment. We’re constantly jumping ahead to the next thing.” This is a timeless reminder of the importance of harnessing a connection with the present instead of either excessively dwelling on the past or having tunnel vision for the future.
This skill may not come naturally to you, which is not an insurmountable obstacle. Incorporating behaviors that help center and focus your attention on the present will help ground you throughout the day. For example, consider setting a timer for a brief status check every hour to evaluate your progress on the day’s task list. Thinking of the day in intervals will help you maintain focus on necessary short-term tasks without procrastinating by spinning your wheels on past or future issues.
Improve Your Productivity by Avoiding Multitasking
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is a common culprit behind lost productivity. Rather than focusing on many items at once, multitasking forces you to switch between multiple tasks within a short time frame. This strains your brain with undue pressure to adjust quickly to a new stimulus, exhausting, and adding up to many minutes of wasted productivity per hour. In fact, studies show that up to 23 minutes can be lost when you have to reengage in a task that you were momentarily distracted from with another to-do list item.
Build Short Breaks Into Your Daily Work Schedule
It may seem counterintuitive to turn to scheduled breaks as a way to make you more productive. However, your brain is ultimately more agile and high-functioning when you do not force yourself to stay focused on a single task for long periods. It is recommended that you build in about 15 minutes of break time for every hour you spend working.
One of the best ways to lead by example for your team is to suggest that your direct reports also plan for short breaks throughout the day. This will send an encouraging message to your team that you are invested in their physical and mental well-being as a valuable member of the organization and want them to prioritize their brain health throughout the day.
Reduce Stressful Distractions From Your Work Zone
The modern workplace has trained many adults to continually check their phones and emails for any notification throughout the day. This behavior stresses the brain over time by forcing it to jump away from essential tasks with minor distractions that can amount to major productivity barriers. Try to designate portions of your day that you will go without checking your email for a sustained period of focused work time.
Where to Go From Here to Leverage Neuroscience in Business
Leveraging applied neuroscience to help develop and enhance your leadership skills requires your consistent and active input and a commitment to implementing new ways of thinking, engaging, problem-solving, and planning. Once you have internalized the benefits of applying neuroscience principles to your professional development, the key is to commit to sticking with long-term behavioral changes across multiple aspects of your life. In addition to increasing your productivity and efficiency, applied neuroscience principles can help create an engaging and forward-thinking culture within your team. If you have any additional questions about how to use neuroscience in your business, contact me today.