Did you ever wish you had an owner's manual for your brain? There are two books we think could qualify for that title. The first is Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (which we'll save for another post). The second is the much more approachable Your Brain at Work by David Rock. This book is full of brain-hacking techniques (the good kind) that really help people overcome the instinctive responses that often get us in trouble.
Rock uses typical work scenarios to describe the neurological activity behind certain behaviors. When we feel overwhelmed, our biologically-limited prefrontal cortex maxes out, and we become stressed. Different parts of our brain have different functions, capabilities, and limitations. Understanding this helps us form practical methods to optimize our brain and, ultimately, our behavior.
Your Brain at work is full of advice that can be translated to productive daily habits. One piece of practical advice Rock gives is to prioritize prioritizing. In other words, you should make it a priority to plan how you will execute your priorities. This helps you reduce stress, maintain focus, and increase productivity.
Rock also talks extensively about generating insight, particularly when you are at an intellectual impasse. One of the best ways to do that is to purposefully shut down your prefrontal cortex by going for a walk or focusing on a hobby. Have you ever had an "A-HA" moment about something when you stopped thinking about it? There's probably a good chance you were on a walk or run or doing something with your hands at the time.
After reading Your Brain at Work, think about the habits you'd like to reinforce, like setting aside time to plan or going for a walk each day. These habits would make excellent Upgrades in Grade Your Day.