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Harness brain power at its best

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Advances in brain science give us a better sense of how we think and how we apply these insights to produce better results. Some of the findings are counterintuitive.

Consider creativity: Most ­leaders assume that they’re more apt to make breakthroughs when they’re alert and well rested. Wrong.

Research shows that you’re more creative when you’re ex­­hausted. Why? Your brain doesn’t operate as efficiently when you’re tired; instead of filtering out distractions and sharpening your focus on a task, it softens up a bit. You’re more open to forge looser connections that you might not normally make.

At off-peak times when you struggle to focus, you may digest a wider range of information. This expanded scope provides access to more options and interpretations. Speaking of interpretation, there’s a reason that a picture is worth a thousand words. Your brain translates words into pictures, which makes vision of paramount importance in processing and retaining information.  If you hear something, you’ll likely recall 10% of the message three days later. If you hear something and see an accom­panying picture, you’ll remember 65%.

From simple illustrations to pie graphs to photos, your ability to combine words and pictures will heighten the odds that your message will sink in—and not fade away over time.

— Adapted from “10 Surprising Things That Benefit Our Brains That You Can Do Every Day,” Belle Beth Cooper.

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