How is Your Inner-Net Performing?

I love this 2010 article I re-discovered recently as I was de-cluttering my computer hard-drive…

Motherboard brainIs Your Inner-Net like mine?  

My brain is a complex web of cells, capable of transmitting vast amounts of information along the “super-highway” of neurons, synapses….directing traffic to various parts of my body (lift hand, curl fingers, grasp coffee cup, raise arm with cup towards mouth…ahhhh…coffee!!), as well as to my mind (thinking thinking thinking, deciding, imagining, absorbing information, discarding information, judging, etc.).

Brain at WorkMy brain is capable of a lot, and a heck of a lot more than I actually use.  But I now know a few things about how to use my brain more effectively, thanks to David Rock, and his new book The Brain at Work.

A management consultant with an insatiable interest in the “why” of things, Rock has made accessible the latest key findings of the top neuroscientists on how our brains function, when they function best, and why it’s not a good idea to drive while your cell phone is glued to your ear (thankfully, outlawed in Vancouver just in time for the 2010 Olympics).

My Biggest Takeaway: My Inner-Net functions only as well as what I ask of it, and most important, WHEN I ask it.

Some of the main ideas in Rock’s book struck me as true intuitively; “I knew that” on some level before.  And now I know why, which means I have no more excuses!

For example, I bet you already know the value of planning out your day’s priorities before the day starts, or before beginning a project.  Did you know that is because “planning” activities take up an enormous amount of the brain’s energy?  And if you try to do anything so absorptive as planning after attending to your email, it’s incredibly difficult primarily because the frontal cortex has already been too taxed?  Again, you may have experienced this, but you’ll know why from Rock’s book, and have no more excuses for allowing email to be your first priority!

Prioritize Prioritizing

In fact, my favourite take-away from The Brain at Work is to “Prioritize Prioritizing”.  I shared that phrase in a workshop recently, and at the end, one manager said that it fundamentally changed how he will structure his day!  He could see how his best work with his team comes from prioritizing, and that even though it “takes time”, it takes so much fresh brain power that it needs to be the TOP priority.

Addendum:  You’ve probably heard me talk about the value of investing time in preparing for your influencing and negotiation conversations  – this type of planning contributes up to 80% of your outcomes!

These findings illuminate WHY you want to PRIORITIZE your negotiation planning & preparation, and find some quiet time away from minutiae and get your thoughts out on paper!