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How are you dealing with the crisis in thinking?

By | David Klaasen | Helping You Create Clarity, Inspire Your People & Drive Performance | Retain your best people | Changing Management Mindsets and Behaviour | Practical Behaviour Analytics

The relentless pressure to do more in less time is creating a crisis in thinking. Are we depriving ourselves of the very thing that will help us truly resolve the problems that beset any business?  By endlessly fighting symptoms rather than getting to root causes, we are in danger of becoming overwhelmed by urgency and neglecting what is really important. How are you addressing this critical issue?

There is a famous Einstein quote that goes something like this: “The thinking that got us into this problem is not the type of thinking that will get us out of it”. So what is the shift in thinking and behaviour that will break the endless overwhelm of urgency?

Your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain where you do your thinking, is surprisingly limited. It is a thin 2.5mm sheath covering the front of your brain mass, and is only 4 to 5% of your brain, yet it demands a huge amount of energy to function. If that energy is not available because you are tired, stressed or overwhelmed it is not very effective.  The latest studies in neuroscience prove that we can only hold one complex thought in our minds at any one time. We need to respect our brain and give it what it needs to function well: time and energy. It needs to be the right sort of time at the right time of day, week, month or even quarter and it needs to be the right sort of energy – not the quick fix of a caffeinated or sugar fuelled rush – but the energy that comes with a healthy, well exercised and well rested body.

Three shifts in thinking

There are three shifts in thinking required to prevent overwhelming your prefrontal cortex. The first one is to ‘Zone your Diary’. This means allocating specific tasks to specific times so you can be more efficient. These times may differ for different people but generally it is best to do the most complex thinking early in the morning when you still have lots of energy for your prefrontal cortex to work effectively.

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