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14

I would recommend that you make sure that every important item has its dedicated spot. For my keys and my wallet this is a kind of place mat on my desk. Every time I arrive at home my keys go there along with my wallet. If the keys aren't there, they are in my left pant pocket or the left pocket of my jacket. For other things there are document drawers ...


13

Your mind is cluttered by various job-related thoughts and you can't let go of them when you leave work. You can't focus properly. This is a clear case for Mindfulness training. It is a meditation technique which will, if implemented for no more than 10 minutes every day, yield great benefits: sharpen your focus, improve your productivity and sleep. The ...


12

Here's an example. Put a rat in a maze. Have a piece of chocolate at the exit of the maze. The rat will smell it and find a path to the chocolate. After repeating this a few times, the rat will learn the correct path and go there over and over again, faster each time. The rat will take some wrong turns and maybe get lost, but will eventually gain the skill ...


9

Research indicates that people who give in to temptations have a problem visualizing future outcomes: What happens now is clear and concrete (candy is lying in front of you) while the future often is vague and fuzzy. The Marshmallow experiment showed the effects of this. Scientists say treatments should involve de-emphasizing the present (making it more ...


8

Learn how the brain works. The brain is generally quite stupid. It remembers things you don't want it to remember. It forgets things you really want to remember. It never recalls the right things at the right time. It's not a computer. It's a pattern recognition system. Your memory does not function exactly like a disk. There are large portions of the ...


8

So I've always considered IQ to be pretty innate, but wikipedia.org has other ideas: In general, educational interventions, as those described below, have shown short-term effects on IQ, but long-term follow-up is often missing. For example, in the US very large intervention programs such as the Head Start Program have not produced lasting gains in ...


7

For me, I find that the more creative people and ideas with which I surround myself, the more I'm able to think outside of the proverbial box. Beyond that's it's the discipline of listening to the ideas that I have and allowing myself to explore them instead of listening to the negative self-talk of "oh, that idea sucks" or "no one's going to like that". A ...


6

Well, I think you first need some long term goals because in the case you don't have them, it shouldn't be a problem to search only instant gratification. I'm also in this situation and I don't think it is a problem to seek for short term gratification: I usually subdivide my long term goals in short term ones, so I can search gratification and also work on ...


6

I have no doubt you'd benefit greatly from investing your spare time in Mindfulness training. It's a simple form of meditation everyone can do, where you try to put all thoughts aside and clear your mind. So your question on what to think about is probably best answered with "Nothing at all." With 7-20 minutes of training per day, you'd experience great ...


5

Wow, this article answers this question exactly! http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/04/brain-games-are-bogus.html


4

The phrasing of the question seems more to do with psychology/confidence than productivity, but the concept of doing something difficult is intriguing. A hard problem is pretty subjective - what is hard for me may not be hard for you, and vice versa. Now for a couple of platitudes: (1) Long journeys begin with a single step, and (2) practice makes perfect. ...


4

In short, deliberate practice is how you should aim to proceed learning. The context of what you're learning is critical. There is very little that's different between acting on logic & acting on instinct. It's probably more accurate to say that being deliberative/logical when taking an action is more time consuming, and being instinctual/intuitive is ...


4

You could be interesting in the works of Vera Birkenbihl. They are concentrated on the ways to improve the learning and thinking abilities. However, don't expect your abilities to increase by astronomical factor, as long as you don't have total hay in head. The key factor is concentration, if you lack concentration, you won't be able to learn much. And ...


4

As Juha Untinen notes, correlation does not imply causation. I suspect people with higher cognitive abilities find it easier to learn an instrument or an additional language, so causality may be the other way around... or there may be yet other factors influencing both. That said, I am sure that there must be lots of studies that made a group of people ...


3

You may find that your decreased attention span and motivation is the symptom of a greater psychological "block" or problem such as anxiety or depression. Modern medicine is a beautiful thing! Get yourself to the doctor. It's a difficult but obtainable first step. From there, you'll be in good hands. This is the same issue I faced about 3.5 years ago, and ...


3

First off, I think that checking in with a professional, such as a doctor (when was your last physical?), or a counselor/therapist is the best first step. Just print out this excellent post of yours and hand it to them :-) Maybe they'll prescribe something, but they should(!) also look at nutrition, caffeine, sleep, etc. On another front, I recently heard ...


3

I have this problem too. I mitigate it by: Always putting objects in a dedicated spot Putting objects I shouldn't forget about in prominent places, like at eye height on the stairs If you do the latter too much, you'll end up creating familiarity and you will no longer notice these objects. Keep it fresh. Furthermore I strengthen my awareness by: ...


3

The things I tend to misplace are new or temporary things that don't yet have a defined place. This can particularly be a problem if you live with someone else who might tidy up after you... My solution is to have In Boxes in strategic spots (office, kitchen, and garage). Anything that doesn't have a place, or anything my wife knows is mine but doesn't ...


3

I'm from Lumosity. If you're interested in the science behind our games check out our blog. We post all new research and any peer reviewed studies involving our games there.


3

Have you considered engaging in some kind of hobby to relax your mind and body? Perhaps some kind of sport, something social or something creative - basically anything that doesn't involve much more problem solving. Here are some ideas: Team sports Helping out at a soup kitchen Dancing Martial arts DIY Painting or drawing Creative wrting Photography ...


3

Fluid intelligence is tied to biology. It is defined as our "on-the-spot reasoning ability, a skill not basically dependant on our experience." Brain Workshop - a Dual N-Back game Brain Workshop is a free open-source version of the dual n-back brain training exercise. A recent study published in PNAS, an important scientific journal, shows ...


3

The older I get the less likely I am to really invest in solving hard problems. I often feel like I don't have the time to invest when the risk of not getting a solution is high. So - when I really need, or want, to take on something difficult - I go in with very open ended expectations for myself. Mostly that means telling myself that I may not actually ...


3

Consider the following words of wisdom by Richard Rusczyk: The first step in dealing with difficult problems is to accept and understand their importance. Don't duck them. ... Brilliant "Aha!" moments almost always spring from minds cultivated by long periods of frustration. But without that frustration, those brilliant ideas never arise. ... The ...


3

I've used Lumosity for more than two years. I've noticed that 15-20 minutes of Lumosity first thing in the morning does an excellent job of warming up my brain for the challenges of the day. I've also found that after prolonged work that 15 minutes of L can enable you to go back to your work refreshed. In addition, after a little poking around the ...


3

Take lots of IQ tests. They're supposed to be tests of your creativity and mental ability, but they're standardized to some degree because the results need to be repeatable. All of them follow some pattern. Take basketball as an analogy. You can't possibly train every shot from every position blocked by people of different sizes and techniques. But the more ...


3

Doing IQ exercises are proven to increase the brain's capacity in several areas. Do crosswords, sudokus, SAT practice exams, mensa tests, etc. Do take into consideration that the tests should be varied and timed so that you constantly challenge and improve yourself


3

Hide temptation ("get thee behind me Satan!") for things which produce immediate outcomes. I find that looking at a calendar motivates me to see the big picture and move towards deadlines. Check your calendar frequently. Talking about what you need to do to get your deferred rewards tends to make it more "salient". Talk about it. You think about what you ...


3

The Perfectionist's Handbook: Take Risks, Invite Criticism, and Make the Most of Your Mistakes by Jeff Szymanski discusses ideas of healthy and unhealthy perfectionism that may be worth noting here. Healthy perfectionism is about striving and having high standards but not always expecting that result. Thus, there is something to be said for having a standard ...


3

In all situations, to be more detached and not letting this mind war go on try this: write down the FACTS about the situation. What is undeniable, what happend, how often, etc. Be objective. write down your analysis of why this happend, ALL THE OPTIONS. Even the craziest. Now take a step back and discuss with people involved in the situation to check ...


3

When I have to, or want to, do things that I do not take much pleasure in-- or that I find myself losing interest in very quickly-- I give myself a timer. Tell yourself, I'm going to work on this hard problem for ten minutes, 20, an hour! You can work your way up. Or start big. If the problem is going to take many hours, or days, or months, then you need ...



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