Much like your body after it’s consumed too much junk food and alcohol, your mind also needs to detox after absorbing today’s avalanche of media messages, workplace worries and sales deadlines—especially during the holidays when so much else is on your mind.
Before you realize it, your mind surrenders to this overload and becomes foggy. Your objectives lack clarity and you no longer have those quick, smart solutions to problems. What you need, says Jason Selk, mental fitness coach and bestselling author of 10-Minute Toughness, is a mental detox.
"The main reason our brains need to detox is that thoughts that come normally can be toxic," explains Selk. "We have a human tendency that the urgent stuff gets our attention. But doing what's urgent as opposed to what's important leaves you feeling like you performed less than your potential. And people who get all the important things done, but not all the urgent things done are more mentally healthy than their counterparts.”
Selk’s 21-day mental detox program has six basic steps to get your brain “back in the game.”
Commit to 30 minutes of rigorous exercise, three times a week.
Four new studies presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Vancouver confirm that exercise helps to prevent low mental function that's caused by stress and aging. Selk recommends at least three workouts--cardio and/or weightlifting--every week for three weeks.
Plot out your day in advance.
For the next 21 days, wake up 30 minutes earlier to identify your top three tasks--tasks that have the greatest impact on your sales performance and success. These tasks are usually the ones you fear, dread, and avoid most; tasks that tax your mental function with stress hormones and negative emotions.
Do your top three to-dos first.
If you mentally tire yourself out with unimportant tasks during the day, you’ll be mentally depleted to take on the tough tasks at day’s end. By completing the most important tasks first, you create mental energy and momentum for the rest of the day.
Finish what you start.
Unfinished projects will leave you feeling self-critical and hassled, so commit exclusively to a project until it's done. Break down large projects into manageable parts that can be completed in one sitting. Don’t multitask or tolerate interruptions.
Seek small, continuous improvement.
If you fixate on the end result, rather than improvements along the way, you’ll feel hopeless, overwhelmed, or burnt out. For 21 days, look for any improvement in the current situation, small or large. Once you develop the habit of seeing improvement, you’ll become more optimistic and less discouraged.
Recharge your mental battery.
An overloaded brain needs rest to function optimally. You can work hard and be mentally tired--even for several days in a row—but you must get a least one good night's sleep every few days. Besides physical rest, your brain needs mental rest during the day. Schedule one day of rest for each seven-day cycle for the next three weeks. This will leave you more productive and less mentally exhausted for the other six days.
If you or your sales team are over stressed, consider following Jason Selk’s advice and detox your brain.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net