Save your Brain Power - Let Technology Take Over and Inspire your Brain!
February 16, 2015
The other day an email popped up in my inbox that really caught my attention. At the time, my brain was on autopilot mode, sifting through emails and marking them mentally as “read now, save for later, or delete”. I wanted to get to the emails that I knew were important and to weed out the ones that were not. However, something told me that this particular email was not one to pass up. Not only was the subject line compelling, enticing me to open it, I had this feeling that it would provide me with insight I could use personally and professionally.
The report was titled, Train your Brain to Thrive from Nine to Five. According to a study from the University of Texas,your brain power starts to deteriorate around the age of 42. That’s a worrisome finding. Is this study implying that I will be brain dead in a couple of years or that my company will be as our workforce matures? To some degree, the answer is yes—that is, only if I do not find ways to inspire my brain and the brains of those in our workforce.
What are main contributors to this decline in the brain?
- Ergonomics – One of the main culprits is poor office planning, specifically cubicles that create soloed environments where productivity, efficiency, and morale decrease because employees feel stuck. The office place should be a place of high performance that prevents employees from slipping into autopilot mode and instead, encourages them to cultivate a healthy brain that is engaged. In case you need more persuading on the benefits of a highly effective workplace, the data presented by Harvard Business Review also shares how cubicles are the absolutely terrible and actually drive a decline in employee innovation and engagement. Another study by HBR study points out the need to know your employees and how they work – not all people are the same and that means that you cannot treat the workspace as one size fits all.
- Meetings – Meetings are necessary for any work to be done. That’s a given. But it is when they are poorly planned and unproductive that we find ourselves wanting to zone out. There are also those days when we get caught in meeting after meeting, and before we know it, the day is over. And all that work that we planned to do? Well, no surprise here, but it’s still sitting there.
- People – The idiom, “too many cooks in the kitchen” is an apt description of this dilemma. This can result in loss of productivity because there might be too many opinions and distractions, so nothing gets done. Alternatively, you are wasting the energy or a team of employees instead of inspiring them to use their brains. The Huffington Post reports on five scientifically proven tips you can adopt to make your brain smarter so you can effectively engage your employees.
- Power of None: Disengage for five minutes at least 5 times a day.
- Power of One: Stop multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time. It takes an average of 20 minutes to return to the original task once distracted, so silence email alerts and smartphones.
- Power of Two: Prioritize the two most important tasks each day.
- Deep and Wide: The brain is bored by robotic repetitive facts – let technology take these on and make sure you dynamically shift between impactful, proactive, and insightful perspectives per meeting.
- Innovative: The brain was wired to be inspired and thrives when facing new challenges. Add into your daily routine ways to inspire your mind.
While various routine changes can help save your brain power as you get older, for example planning out tasks the night before, taking regular breaks (especially lunch), and implementing brainstorming sessions with your team, some might say that it is easier said than done. We are all guilty of being busy and overcommitted at times and as a result, by the end of the day, we turn off our brains to allow ourselves to relax.
But what if there was a way that you could actually take the time to let your brain relax during the day through the use of technology?
First step: Get technology to do the boring work
Today, organizations are still working in outdated systems when it comes to sales performance management (SPM) planning, forecasting and financial planning, and even for talent management. The desire to move away from outdated systems is going to vary between organizations, but it must be a top priority to transform your organization. Outdated systems will only increase the number of mistakes, inaccurate forecasts, and unmotivated employees. But how do you recognize when current processes and/or technology are not performing or exceeding expectations?
Think about the challenges that you or someone in another role experiences every day and ask these questions:
- Are calculations not running properly?
- Are you doing manual entry?
- Are you still running forecasts through excel, limiting insight into key metrics and success points to meet targets?
- Are you effectively monitoring your talent to ensure that you are building a powerhouse organization, helping your company achieve your definition of success?
- Is technology running you or are you using technology to gain insights into your business?
If you are not able to answer these questions in a way that will have a positive impact on the organization, it might be time to evaluate your options and find a different solution.
Second Step: Do you have the right people?
BrainHealth Research shows that strategic thinking strengthens intellectual capacity. What is exciting about this study is that it is not just learning new information that engages brain networks and elevates performance. Rather, it is deep processing and application of knowledge that augments brain performance. Even if you have set up an ideal environment that people can thrive in, it does not mean you have the right talent. The old process of searching for applicants that have certain skills to fill a job role is no longer effective. The most effective organizations are ones built on the pillars of exploiting their employee’s strengths and enabling them to flourish. This starts with recruiting, onboarding, retaining, and ongoing development of employees.
Third Step: Put it into action
Make sure you know where you are at today and where you want to go and put the right processes, people and technology in place to succeed.
Make a commitment to change your brain habits today and every day. As you do, you will ensure that your best brain years are ahead of you not behind you.
At OpenSymmetry, we understand the need to run your organization more effectively, whether that is finding a Sales Performance Management, Corporate Performance Management, or Human Resource Management solution that is aligned with your organizational goals. We are your advocate and work with the top technology vendors in these areas so that your organization is on proven path to rapid results, from Strategy to Success. Success is: saving your brain power! Contact us today to see how your organization stacks up on the Maturity Curve and learn how technology can help solve your problems, as well as help your employees thrive from nine to five!