Personal health and wellness have an important influence on your ability to do good work, but it is seldom discussed enough. It is just taken for granted that you are going to be awake, energetic, and engaged every day. But is that really the case? In a post for Strategy Execution, project leadership coach Susanne Madsen discusses some tips to keep your brain in tip-top work-ready shape.
Preserving Mental Agility
According to Madsen, aerobic exercise halves risks of dementia and cognitive impairment, and you only need to do it for 30 minutes twice a week. It also generally helps with problem-solving and abstract thinking, among other things. Can you carve out 30 minutes of time, whether at home or during lunch?
Allowing too much stress in your life can result in the opposite effects of exercise. Prolonged stress can actually kill brain cells and hurts “memory, concentration, mathematical ability, executive function, motor skills and language processing.” Yowza, that is a lot of hurting. Reduce your stress by not worrying about things that only exist in your imagination, or things you cannot control. Just focus on doing the best job you can with the resources you have.
If you want to sharpen your memory skills, Madsen has a piece of advice for that too:
Studies show that we may forget about 90% of what we’ve learned in a class within 30 days. Whether we remember something or not comes down to how good we are at repeating the information within the first few seconds. If some information isn’t repeated within 30 seconds it could disappear. If it’s repeated it moves into working memory where it stays for an hour or more. If it’s not repeated within that time it will fade. So when you’re trying to remember all the detailed requirements your client is giving you, write it down, repeat it and review your notes frequently over the coming days.
Madsen also has a couple other tips that you are more likely to have heard before, but they are worth repeating: First, avoid multitasking; it costs too much time and energy to get back up to speed every time you switch tasks. Second, get more sleep. Cutting back on sleep is the equivalent of putting your brain on a diet, which is an awful, awful idea.
For additional insights, you can view the original post here: https://www.strategyex.co.uk/blog/pmoperspectives/project-managers-are-you-making-the-most-of-your-brain/