You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!
The next time you are stuck on a project ask yourself this question, "If the goals of this project were completely opposite of the actual goals, what would I do differently?" When we think about a project in one particular way we can get into a mental rut which is hard to escape. A question like this gets you thinking about opposites, which will in turn get you out of the rut and get your mind thinking about new ideas. Sometimes solutions that are completely opposite of the solutions you seek can be very fruitful.
Just as your subconscious can work on problems while you do something else, your subconscious can also work on a task while you sleep on it. Here is an exercise to help you prepare to sleep on a problem.
Get a piece of paper and write down a one-sentence summary of your problem or project. Then write down a few related keywords. Review the problem in your mind for a few minutes and make a conscious request to yourself to think about this problem while you sleep. Now, forget about it and go to sleep. As soon as you awaken, look at the piece of paper and read the summary and keywords. Chances are, some interesting ideas will come to mind. Write these down and review them later. You may find that the answer to your problem has come to you in your sleep.
Many people have a to-do list to keep track of tasks that they might otherwise forget to do. This organization is a great way to help remember everything that you need to do. Having a to-do list can also help you plan your work ahead of time. As we have learned, a little planning can greatly improve your motivation and productivity.
A pen and paper is all you really need for a task list, but many people prefer using their PDA because it can keep track of important information such as due-dates and priorities. The problem with PDAs is that they have tiny screens are often difficult to use.
A web-based task list is the best of both worlds. It's easy to use and is accessible from anywhere, even from your cellphone! Toodledo.com is probably the most fully functional web-based task manager out there. Give it a try (it's free).
When you let your conscious mind take a break from a task, your subconscious mind continues to process the information in the background. Sometimes, insightful ideas will flash into your mind. To encourage this, you can try this exercise.
Sit down and write a letter to yourself about the problem you are working on. Pretend that you are writing the letter to someone who knows nothing about the project; give a good description, including everything that you have done to date. Be as detailed as possible. Don't forget to mention any constraints that are imposed on the problem and what types of solutions are preferred. Then, give your subconscious a deadline. For example, you could write, "I expect a full report by the end of the week!" It may seem silly to write to yourself in this way, but give it a try. Now close up the letter and put it away.
Unbeknownst to you, your subconscious will continue to think about the problem. When the deadline approaches, open up the letter and read it. Chances are that by that point (or possibly earlier) you will have experienced a flash of insight that illuminates a potential solution.
You'll need a small group of people for this creativity exercise. Stand or sit in a circle and have someone start a story. For example: "It was a dark and stormy night..." Go around the circle with each person adding a new sentence.. Try to go around a few times before ending the story. The crazier and more creative the story, the better!