We’ve all heard the usual,
Get a good night’s sleep
Meditate for 5 minutes (I do it for the deep breathing and calming nature of the exercise.)
Pray & Count 5 blessings
While each is very important,
How many of us mentally prepare for the day like an athlete does?
If you’re asking, Why would I do that?
Here’s why –
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even before the pandemic, between six and eight million Americans lost their job every three months. (I)
You never know when that current boss, the one who likes you, will be replaced by someone who doesn’t know your name and doesn’t care.
You also never know when bad financial results will force leadership to cut costs. The quickest way to cut costs is to cut headcount.
So just like olympic athletes are put to the test, whether we realize it or not our jobs put us to the test everyday.
According to Reid Health, Olympic athletes warm up because it increases blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body. (II)
Active.com reports, when your body is passive, it only produces 15-20% of blood flow to skeletal muscles. However, after 10 minutes of total body activity, blood flow to the skeletal muscles increases to 70-75%. More blood flow means higher oxygen delivery to your muscles, which will lead to better performance. (III)
If your’e questioning how important oxygen is to your brain,
According to the Dent Neurologic Institute, Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen and blood in your body…The harder you think, the more oxygen and fuel your brain will use from your blood – up to 50%. (IV)
These facts put things in a different perspective.
So, what do I do?
Because I know, my work will challenge me and I know I must do my very best.
I want to do everything possible so the neurons in my brain are be firing in all eight cylinders.
I’ve learned first hand how protein affects work performance.
Years ago, I had a great job and a great boss. Then I decided to go on a diet. I did not understand the importance of protein so I did not get enough and as I cut back my consumption by the afternoon, I became dizzy and less effective at work.
According to WebMd, Your brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to relay information between cells. Many of these neurotransmitters are made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. (V)
As a result, I start my day with one serving (21 grams) of protein in a fruit smoothie.
Like all of us, I use caffeine to kick start my day. I have no concerns about caffeine for these reasons,
According to the National Institute of Health, Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, which can make you feel more awake and give you a boost of energy and,
For most people, it is not harmful to consume up to 400mg of caffeine a day. (VI)
In case you didn’t realize
8 ounces of drip coffee contains 115-175 mg of caffeine.
12 ounces of Diet Coke contains 45.6 mg of caffeine. (VII)
In other words, it’s okay to have some caffeine. (I’m not a professional, while I have cited professional sources, if your doctor has given you different advice, follow her advice, not mine.)
Just as runners prepare their legs for competition, I prepare my brain for competition.
Sometimes that competition is with others like in a job interview. Most of the time that competition is with myself, as I strive to be my very best.
Given this fact, over the past 10 years, I’ve begun each day with 10 – 15 minutes of Lumosity brain games. (VIII)
I do this because,
it activates my brain, quicker and more effectively than anything I’ve experienced.
I start with ‘Verbal Fluency’ and test my ability to rapidly retrieve words from my vocabulary.
You are given two, three or four word stems like ‘to’, ‘thr’ or ‘quad’. You then build points by creating 3 words that are 4 letters long, 3 words that are 5 letters long and so forth up to 10 or more letters in a word.
You’re given three 60 second sessions to think of as many words as possible. Since the word stems always change you never know what today’s game will bring.
I usually end my sessions with ‘Chalkboard Challenge’.
You’re presented with two chalkboards and your job is to determine, ‘Is the left larger?’ ‘The right?’ ‘Or do the both add up to the same number?’
It starts simply like you see in the first insert and gradually gets more and more complex.
As you play more and more, you start estimating which is larger rather than manually calculating because its quicker and you get better and better at it.
Every time you answer five in a row you get 10 more seconds to play. It is an excellent way to start my workday.
There are other games that require that I,
Calculate formulas that contain decimals and fractions.
Identify which of the five words are synonyms for the word at the top.
Click on the one object in the screen (some are moving some are not – some are the same shape and color and some are not) that is different from all other patterns.
All of these games are timed.
In case you wondered, I get up early enough so I can play before I clock in. I also set up a timer because work starts at 8:00.
After playing for 10 – 15 minutes, I’m ready for the day.
Clark Finnical is the author of
(I) Private sector gross job gains and losses, seasonally adjusted https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cewbd.t01.htm
(II) Reid Health – 5 reasons to warm up before you work out – https://www.reidhealth.org/blog/5-reasons-to-warm-up-before-you-work-out
(III) Active.com – The Real Reason You Should Warm Up – https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/the-real-reason-you-should-warm-up-4682
(IV) Dent – 22 Facts About the Brain | World Brain Day – https://www.dentinstitute.com/posts/lifestyle-tips/22-facts-about-the-brain-world-brain-day/
(V) WebMd – Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Protein
(VI) Caffeine https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.html
(VII) Caffeine Content Of Popular Drinks https://www.math.utah.edu/~yplee/fun/caffeine.html
(VIII) I’ve received no compensation nor will I receive affiliate income from this article.
Featured Image – Creative Commons
Image 5 – Photo created by katemangostar https://www.freepik.com/photos/man
Image 7 – Photo by Jpogi, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0
Final 3 images – http://www.lumosity.com Chalkboard Challenge.
Article originally appeared in clarkfinnical.com