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Time Management and Your Brain

by Arden Leigh

According to neuroscientists, the conscious mind can only pay attention to four things at once. This is why making lists is an important step to not becoming overwhelmed with tasks. Distracting your brain with a whole mess of things at once can neurally prevent you from getting anything done. Understanding and evaluating how your brain organizes information, and what makes you pay attention versus what doesn’t, can remodel the way you perform in school, work, or your personal life. 

Neuroscientists claim that mechanisms such as mind-clearing exercises can help you to lower stress and approach tasks in a more effective manner. These exercises may consist of traditional lists, or occupying your mind with something else as a distraction. It has also been proven that the brain does not multitask per se, but shifts rapidly from one thing to the next. This can cause you to not be able to put your full attention on any of the tasks, which makes the work done less efficient and mistake prone. Focus your full attention on one thing at a time to come out with your best work.

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Illustration by Arden Leigh

You can better understand your own behavior with a modest knowledge of how your brain functions. The brain uses different neural systems to process rational reasoning and emotions; thusly, the more one of these systems is turned on, the more the other is turned off. Intense emotional responses causes you to become slow to resolve things and can diminish your rational thinking. This is why using organizational methods to get you back on track will overall improve your rationalizing and ability to work, versus being in a constant state of last minute panic and stress, which can work against you. 

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