Are you fed up of leaving the office after the cleaners have been and gone? Do you wish you could get your email down to zero; or perhaps you yearn to have the courage to embark on the project you keep telling all your friends and work colleagues about?

Yes of course you do, we all do but as the weeks pass the inbox gets bigger, the demands on our time increase and dreams fade into the background. As the recession bites, workloads are increasing and the threat of redundancy makes us feel like we’re on a never ending treadmill.

Michael Deutch from Mindjet suggests that if this sounds like you, then maybe it’s time for a mind makeover.

By Michael Deutch

We often take our brains for granted and forget they need to be trained. Break free from your own self-defeating behaviours and bad habits by using 2009 to transform your old thinking into a shiny more effective you!

The first thing to do is take stock of your current ways of thinking. Recognise how you think and deal with the challenges of your daily life. Ask questions such as why did this happen to me? What’s stopping me from achieving, or even starting, my goals? Why can’t I leave the office on time? From this you can start identifying the habits you’ve fallen into that are holding you back.

Once you’ve worked out your self-limiting thought patterns you can then start forming new habits that will do more for you than trying to catch up on work backlog with late nights or drowning your sorrows with a couple of glasses of wine.

Below are a few tips and exercises you can do to give yourself an ultimate powerful brain-boost.

Book meetings with yourself

Don’t put it off any longer. Start your mind makeover today. Book a time with yourself in a quiet spot and give yourself time to reflect on your thought processes and what you want to change. Write them down and resolve to tackle the things you want to change one at a time. Then make a date with yourself once a week to check up on your progress.

Take care of the most important things first

Your most important tasks — which sometimes are the things you fear or dislike the most — should take priority over everything else. Do you fear phoning up important customers who always shout and complain; or do you hate writing that monthly report? If so try taking care of this first thing in the day. Not only will you be at your freshest; but it will mean the rest of the day will get easier.

Boost your creativity

Resolve to solve challenging problems with creative ways of looking at them. Keep a notepad close at hand and write down ideas as they come.

If you need to work through a bigger problem try mind mapping. Mind mapping is a visual way of capturing thoughts using connected colours, bubbles, pictures, text and images- a bit like the ‘spider diagrams’ you learn at school, only more sophisticated and interactive. Unlike linear notes on paper, mind maps work in the same way our brain works which enables us to unlock our thoughts and unleash our creativity.

Clarify your vision

Spend a few hours working out your goals and your vision for the future. Write out your goals or put them in a mind map. Then place them somewhere you will see them regularly. But don’t think small, think big! Then break down your goals into smaller chunks so you can achieve something towards your goals every day.

Turn off your phone and email

Constant interruptions can lead you to be ineffective, unfocused and unproductive. So only answer the phone and email at certain parts of the day. Turn off pop up email notifications; close your instant messenger, divert your phone to voicemail and tell your colleagues not to disturb you until a certain time. Not only will your efficiency benefit from the uninterrupted time; but you’ll have more time to prioritise your tasks to achieve your goals for that day.

Sharpen up your Self-Awareness

We often hoodwink ourselves to think we can’t do something because of self-limiting beliefs. How many times have you said things like “I’m not very good with numbers” or “I’m not creative”? We’re often our own most harsh critics; but it’s not necessarily true. If you really tried you would probably be quite good at many of the things you profess to be bad at.

Challenge these ideas and ask yourself what would happen if you changed your beliefs. You’ll soon realise that in most cases overcoming your fear or tackling a new skill can be a positive and rewarding experience.

Train your brain to think beyond the unknown

It’s very easy to let our brains slip into a mundane way of thinking. And mundane thinking leads to dullness and predictability. Shake it up by trying new things. Break your routine by driving a different route to work, reading a book you typically wouldn’t read or doing the opposite of what you normally do. Wake up your creative mind and put a smile on your face at the same time.

These are just a few tips that will help you take control of your life, rather than your life taking control of you, and the best thing of all is that it’s all free.”

About the author:
Michael Deutch is from Mind Mapping Software company, Mindjet which has won numerous awards and accolades for its innovative software and solutions to help customers increase productivity. www.Mindjet.com

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