Before my maternal grandmother passed away, she had thirty-three grandchildren along with a few great-grandchildren. When I would go to see her, she would go through several of my cousin’s names before “landing” on mine. She would say something like, “Well hi Mike, Gary, Jimmy, Terry, I mean Billy. It’s good to see you!” I always thought it was pretty funny. It wasn’t like she had mental issues, she was just older with a lot of grandchildren!
Research indicates that the human brain begins to slow down after a person turns forty. No matter what you do or how sharp you are mentally, over time, complex mental processes can dull. Effective leaders need mental sharpness, so what can you do as you age to keep that mental edge?
The Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas offer these ways to reverse brain drain:
- Rest your brain and then reboot. Each day, disengage briefly to free up your mind. A few short mental breaks can help improve decision-making, problem solving and productivity.
- Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking can impede productivity. Interruptions can impede productivity. Multitasking and interruptions can also add time needed to complete a task. By giving full attention to one task before stating another you can be more effective and more productive.
- Prioritize your daily to-do list. Identifying the most crucial tasks on your to-do list boosts productivity, efficiency and the quality of your work.
- Say no to the status quo. Stop doing things the same way. Experiment with new ways of doing things. Try new approaches. The result will be a healthier brain and more creative solutions.
Effective leaders are always evolving, always learning. Doing so can plug the drain, the brain drain that is.