Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to Pack Your Suitcase and Save Brain Power

Packing for Seattle yesterday morning I realized how much brain power I was saving. I’ve packed so many times that it is rote memory at this point. How my shoes go in, where I put my razor, how my tee shirts are packed. And even though I’m adding some vacation time to this business trip, it added only a moment’s hesitation. Very little brain power was used in this packing.

So, why is that important? Recent research indicates that we use up brain power as we make decisions. Even the little decisions such as which cereal we eat, depletes our brain power. Now, think of how many choices we have in a day. We probably have hundreds before we leave the house in the morning. The problem is that as the day progresses and our brain become tired (to use a very unscientific term) we start making decisions based more on gut instinct, or the easiest choice rather than thinking about them. Essentially we become stupid.

There is a way to give the brain a break. Create good habits. I’m not talking about the good habits of what we eat or how we behave, though those are necessary in society. I’m talking about taking away the thinking involved in the mundane tasks so that we can have the brain power left over to use on the difficult ones.
Simply put, be boring in some areas of your life. It’s okay. Though some people say that creativity is enhanced when you drive to work a different way, or brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand (that’s tough) but I’d rather save my creativity for writing or music. And I’d rather save my brain power for some important decision-making.

Think about it. When you awake in the morning knowing what you are wearing (even if you didn’t put it out the night before) and you eat the same (hopefully nutritious) breakfast, you’ve saved yourself from having to make all of those decisions. It makes the day easier.

Since I fly so much out of Newark Airport I always park in the same aisle. That way, when I get off a plane I never have to think where my car is. It’s always in the same place. I do the same with my glasses and wallet when I enter my house. I never have to think about it. It saves me time and brain power.

So, what good habits can you adopt especially with those things you do on a regular basis? Find a routine you don’t have to think about and imbed it into your daily life. It makes life much easier to live and it gives you some left over brain power for those difficult decisions like what movie to watch on the flight? 

No comments: