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Dr Jenny Brockis
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22 followers
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Have you ever had to work with a colleague who endlessly clicks their pen during meetings, jiggles their knees as if possessed by some kind of deranged wind-up toy or loves to flick elastic bands at the shared office rubbish bin?

‘Fidgety Phils’ are seemingly everywhere and while they can drive us to distraction, they might also have an advantage over the rest of us; the ability to stay focused and on task for longer.
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When working hard, making decisions or formulating new ideas, it’s important to be able to recall the information we need from our memory banks. But does it ever seem to you that this is getting harder, that we’re forgetting more, more often and relying increasingly on our technology to get us out of a jam when our flukey memory lets us down again.

We forget names, documents and appointments. We forget to pick up the kids, collect the dry cleaning, or pick up that urgent stationary order you placed yesterday.

We forget. A lot.

It can be embarrassing. (Gee, I feel so STUPID!)

It can be annoying. (I know the answer, I know it, I know it, but it just won’t come)

It can be worrying. (Is this the first sign of Alzheimer’s?)

But most of all it reminds us of human fallibility...
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Our ability to pay attention has always been critical to our survival and success as a species. It remains just as important today, but our state of constant partial attention is contributing to a sense of loss of focus and difficulty working to our true potential.
Attention is highly complex, requiring several brain networks to operate well. Focus, so beloved of productivity experts is one form of attention and easily eroded by our rising level of distractibility.
We need attention in order to learn anything. Without attention we fail to encode memory or to build our encyclopaedia for experience necessary to help us navigate those times when we face a challenge we’re not sure how to manage. Continue reading below...
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Neuromyths abound and the greatest neuromyth of all time has to be the idea we only use 10% of our brain. As all whole brain users know, it’s complete tosh, but nevertheless as with other skyhooks of fanciful thinking, it persists in common neuromyth lore. Perhaps we should just blame the release of films as “Lucy” for this.

Which leads me to the current neuromyth that’s been bobbing around dangerously since 2015. Having seen and heard it perpetuated twice in one week, this was enough to stimulate a blog rant, drum roll please…
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Leadership is about navigating the safest route to success, being willing to explore the unknown and moving forward until the desired destination is reached. Convincing others takes more than turning up with a road map; it requires an understanding of the available facts, an awareness of the diversity of thought and opinions of others, and self-awareness. More than anything, extending your circle of influence begins with curiosity.

One of my favourite children’s books was the Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, especially the story of ‘The Elephant’s Child’. The mental imagery of a young inquisitive elephant who was spanked by all his aunts and uncles for his “‘satiable curtiosity” has always remained. Not because I condone corporal punishment for asking questions (which I don’t), but for the idea that curiosity sparks our desire to explore and make better sense of our world.

Living at a time of massive change, developing the thinking skill sets to meet the needs of our increasingly globalised, super connected and complex world starts by harnessing our innate sense of curiosity...
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Morning Rituals. We all have them whether we are aware of them or not! They matter because they help set us up for better thinking across our day.

Your success in all your tasks is determined by the CONSISTENCY of your daily routines and habits that keep you brain fit and always ready to deliver your top mental performance.

The reason we spend so much of our day on autopilot is all about energy conservation, because the brain is a very energy hungry organ. We have to ensure we have enough cognitive stamina to devote to those things that require our logic, reasoning and analysis, our conscious thought that is especially energy demanding.

Those articles that tell us supposedly what all successful people eat for breakfast, why you should get up at 4:30am and how much they accomplish before starting their work-day are so annoying and guilt inducing, because the implication is that unless you’re doing the same, you’re somehow a bit of a loser. Mmm, I don’t think so!

Continue reading below.
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Take Fifteen.

There’s something curiously reassuring about fifteen minutes.
Not too long, or too short, fifteen minutes just fits the bill to help us to get something done, ticked off the list and fits into our chaotic daily schedule without adding too much extra stress or guilt.

So what’s the magic?
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A friend recently emailed me the link to the latest of the nootropics to be sold online, “As taken by Stephen Hawking” went the blurb. Really???

The quest for better thinking or maximising intelligence drives us to seek solutions preferably one that requires little or no effort, doesn’t cost the earth and comes with a discount for buying in bulk.

While popping a pill of dubious benefit may seem appealing and quick, we’re overlooking the obvious; that giving our brains a little more care and attention can provide the cognitive boost we seek.

When it comes to elevating mental performance, cognitive health is the new black.

Read more below!
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As a child I remember visiting the real tennis courts at Hampton Court Palace and marvelling at the complexity of the indoor game played on by Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey. Modern tennis is a great game requiring physical agility and mental skill to outwit your opponent and new research from the University of Oxford has also revealed it’s an excellent way to reduce dying from any cause by up to 50%.

The implication is that to live longer, getting involved with a sport, any sport, whether it’s tennis, ping-pong, fencing or aerobics is the way to go. I was especially happy to read that swimming was high up on the list as that is one of my favourite physical activities.

If you’re a regular tennis player you may be allowed to feel a little smug. For the rest of us with dodgy knees, poor visual spatial skills, or who simply hate the game, remember what counts is getting enough exercise over the course of a week for best physical, mental and cognitive health.

Read more below.
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Hacking. It’s a strange term and it’s enjoyed a number of different meanings over the years.

As an asthmatic child growing up in the UK, it wasn’t unusual to experience several bouts of bronchitis accompanied by a nasty hacking cough over the course of the winter.

On Sundays we would often enjoy a nice roast dinner with all the trimmings, but only my father was allowed to cut the meat, because he disliked anyone else “hacking” at the joint. Here hacking was something people did and made a mess of things.

In the equestrian world, hacking meant going from one place to another on your horse.

Let’s look at a couple of ways you can hack your productivity that doesn’t desecrate the lamb roast.
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