Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to boost performance without brain stimulant drugs....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 4-30-2013

This is an extremely important subject and one that has many parts.

Being very productive and feeling competent and having extra energy reserves and doing so in work that pays well all are extremely valuable.  So is feeling good and being in an up mood.

Here in the Silicon Valley where I live and in some over-competitive schools and universities there are people who buy black market smart drugs and brain stimulant drugs to boost performance and alertness when people decide they need them.

Some of the smart drugs may yet prove to be both safe and effective for this use. 

But the brain stimulant drugs while effective have some real problems best avoided for other reasons such as poor health from lack of sleep or being too speedy to converse with normal people, etc. 

(Then too, black market drugs don’t always contain the stimulant expected or avoid containing dangerous contaminants.)

So if you need to be that productive;
   but want to avoid doing it with those drugs – or stop using them, what else can you do?

That’s what this post is about!

It turns out there is now a HUGE list of effective ways to do just that!

1.  Surprisingly one of THE most important is to work in teams that have people with all the needed skills and work by proven rules to finish projects or key parts of them quickly. 

The system is actually called SCRUM and has proven in practice to enable people to do better and faster work in eight hour days than people working without it can do in 16 hour days.

In short, it can and has enabled people to be extremely effective and work short enough days they can have a life outside work.

To be fair, it also has been used in emergencies to enable 5 people to do the work of 40 when they do work 16 hour days.

But the productivity and focus and socialization in these teams is enough to enable well people to be that productive without needing drugs to do it.

More than that, it has been shown in practice to produce quality work on the first try which is often an enormous time saver.

And, it also has an exciting extra benefit!:

Small teams using SCRUM teams for a few weeks or a few months have in practice successfully delivered results that thousands of people working for YEARS failed to deliver!

The book by the co-founder of the system is:

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland.

It’s available both in hardback and as a Kindle book on Amazon.

Surprisingly to be more believable and to underpromise that’s the title.  But the actual system once it’s mastered produces more like ten times as much work in 5% of the time.

THAT readers is some force multiplier!

2. The second group of things that can make you more productive also have other health benefits!

a)  Doing as little as 10 minutes of some kind of high intensity cardio burst with rests or slower sections and as little as two 20 minute sessions of slow rep strength training each week first thing each morning-- makes you dramatically more productive. 

It improves your mood. It literally makes your brain work better all day.  And, it slows aging and is one of the keys to staying that mentally sharp for decades.

It also improves your productivity by helping prevent avoidable diseases so you spend less of your work days in the doctor’s office or hospital or at home too ill to work.

It also is the number one thing to do to prevent or stop insomnia.  And when you get better sleep and enough sleep you feel better and are much more productive and have far more energy reserves.

b) Sleep each night getting up at the exact same time each day and avoid things like late night TV that prevent you from getting at least 6 hours of sleep a night. 

c) Invest in blackout curtains for your bedroom and make sure there are no TVs in it.  If you can, make it quiet and cooler than 70 degrees.

If your work has you too wound up to go to sleep, you can either get back up and WRITE DOWN a brief outline of things to address tomorrow or do things to force sleep faster.

If you are older or you don’t have blackout curtains yet, take melatonin.  Even half of a 1 mg tablet will help and even be enough if you are younger.  If you are over 50 you may do better with 5 mg.  Either way take it as a chewable or as a spray to get it into your system quickly.

If you are stressed and have time to sleep for 7 or 8 hours a half glass or full glass of red wine then or with your dinner can help.  But if you do that, you may need to do the other things later in the night when your body finishes processing the alcohol.  That’s why the extra time can help.

If you are still stressed and need to force sleep:  The herbal supplement valerian works and is safe to take.  The only drawback is that it stinks and that part of it is the anxiety remover!  The work around is in two parts.  First, save it for when you need it most.  When you can likely go to sleep without it, remember you have it since that will be calming and save it for another time.

Secondly, get a glass jar larger than the supplement container and store your valerian in it!

d) If you can eat wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils at least twice a week.  And take DHA and omega 3 oils each day for sure and consider adding NOW nonGMO lecithin for its choline and the herb bacopa.

When added to the exercise this grows and repairs brain cells by optimizing the release of the brain cell and nerve cell growth hormone BDNF.

And, it is anti-inflammatory enough you feel better and are less irritable.  That of course makes you a more effective and productive team member and easier to live with outside of work!

In addition, taking Bacopa has been shown to enable you to focus and do good work even when worried or under pressure and has even been shown to enable learning and trying new approaches when needed.

e)  Is there another supplement like Bacopa?  Not sure if it also helps grow new brain cells as bacopa does; but yes there is!

Lemon balm does a very interesting triple when you take it. 

You feel much calmer.  So it enables you to be effective in high pressure situations and make an extra effort when it counts most.

Since you feel less stress, your energy is drained less at the end of each day so you have more energy tomorrow also.

Secondly, you feel more alert!

Even better, your ability to think and do math and complex analysis and do them quickly when needed has been proven to go up when you take lemon balm!

Surprisingly to me, only Paradise herbs carries these two supplements.  The other supplement companies don’t yet know how valuable they are apparently
f)  Buy a Vitamix and use it to make vegetable juice drinks with organic and nutritious vegetables using three or four kinds each time and drink one of those drinks first thing in the morning and two to four other times during the day.

Your health and prevention of avoidable diseases will jump dramatically.

But what few people know is that you get an equally dramatic productivity boost! 

As with getting a night of unusually good sleep for enough hours, people who do this feel calm AND energetic and in a good mood in a totally gentle way.  People find that things that would have stressed them thing they can deal with relative ease.  And they find they have an unusually high reserve of energy they can feel if they need it.

g)  Are there ways besides sleep to restore your energy after work?

Surprisingly, there is a very powerful one that is little known.

When you solve problems and exert extra effort or will power and learn complex things and try new solutions you literally use up neurotransmitters. 

Did you know there is an enjoyable way to restore them?

Were there fiction books you read as a child or as a teen or even lately that you really enjoyed?

Keep them around in book form or re-acquire them and re-read your favorites.

Do that for even half an hour and you will restore those neurotransmitters to full strength!

(Watching them as movies on DVD also works but the blue light late at night keeps your body from releasing melatonin and can keep you awake or less asleep.

So if you do that, do it early in the evening or wear blue blocking sunglasses while watching.)

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