Shake Up Your Brain

17 Nov, 2010 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Spend a little time on preparation, and you'll learn new technical information more quickly and easily.

I don't know about you, but there are times when I find myself in a mental rut and realize that I need to branch out to expand my skill set. The problem is that knowing you need to learn new skills and actually doing so aren't the same thing.

I've found a few tips that have helped me get my brain into learning mode, so I thought I'd share them with you:

Change your schedule.
Shake up your daily timetable so you're not repeating the same old routine every day. It seems like getting out of my schedule rut has made it easier to get out of my mental rut as well.

Get some exercise.
I've found that it really does make the brain more receptive to cognitive processes such as reading.

Read (or listen, or watch) while you sweat.
If you have access to a treadmill, stair machine, or elliptical trainer, prop up your book (or Kindle or iPad) and read through the material (or watch a podcast) while you work out. You'll get healthier and smarter while saving time: win, win, win!

Surprise your brain. I had an exercise expert tell me to start living life left-handed (since I'm normally right-handed) as much as possible. I was skeptical, but I've noticed that since I've been pulling luggage, lifting objects, and performing other everyday tasks with my left hand, my brain seems more receptive to learning other new skills as well.

Embrace the unfamiliar. Don't listen to your favorite music for a while; try some totally different tunes. If you always read the sports page first, go for the business section instead. I've found that I can now digest new information more rapidly since my reading and listening skills have been challenged by all the new material I'm experiencing.

I've been using these techniques for the past couple of months, and as a result my retention has improved and learning new skills has become much easier. I realize these tips aren't specifically about CAD, but they sure have helped me become much more focused and effective in my quest to acquire new technical skills that do apply to CAD. Let me know if any of these ideas work for you.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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