I used to think working 15-16 hours a day was the way to achieve optimal performance at work. I used to think that I was a night person — that I did my best work between 11pm and 2am. I used to think that *unless* my calendar was packed from 8am until 7pm, I was being unproductive. I used to think…well you get the picture. What happened?
First, I discovered sleep:
“…when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep. So when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.”
Part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.
After that, I discovered fueling up properly.
[The] brain is a hungry little organ. Weighing in at only 3 pounds, it uses 20% of your daily calorie intake.
And then, finally, I had an epiphany: my brain is like a machine. It requires careful and proper management for optimal cognitive performance. And it has become my obsession. (Yes, for you excel geeks the Circular Reference Warning is probably flashing right about now.)