The Simple Trick to Streamline Your Focus and Productivity

How to Hack Your Brain's DMN to Quiet Your Mind and Improve Focus

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

I’ve always been interested in finding ways to streamline my success in life.

Surprisingly it’s not as difficult as we might make it out to be. One of my goals was to find a natural way to upgrade my focus and concentration on some of the most important tasks in my day. In my case, these tasks were my writing. Whether it’s writing a blog or working on my book – I knew these tasks required my full attention.

Our daily lives are consumed with demand after demand. And distraction after distraction. Sometimes I have to put my phone in another room to stay focused on my tasks. Too many notifications! In addition, I had a tough time even coming up with creative ideas and relied on my willpower which never really got me anywhere worthwhile.

Our brains are pretty powerful; however, many of us were never taught how to use them effectively.

After digging on the web, I came across some robust research that discusses our brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN). Your brain’s DMN is a network of brain regions associated with that little voice in your head that constantly regrets the past or worries about the future. It’s what some people refer to as your self-talk, continually chattering at you during the day. And most of the time, it’s rarely focused on the present moment.

This can wreak havoc when you are trying to focus on an important task — either at work or a personal goal that requires your full undivided attention. Now here’s what’s interesting about your brain’s DMN; new research confirms that this network of brain chatter can be quieted down!

One way is through exercise. Aerobic exercise, to be exact – either walking, running, biking is an excellent example. Do you ever notice how good you feel after a good exercise? Well, we know endorphins shoot through the brain to give you that famous “runner’s high” feeling, but most people even experience a state of inner peace and quiet. Hints your brain’s DMN quieting down.

Dr. John J. Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that our brains show an increase of a protein molecule called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) after a workout. BDNF essentially helps to strengthen neural connections and protects the brain from cognitive decline. Dr. Ratey refers to it as “Miracle-Gro for the brain,” enabling you to achieve more focus, improve your rate of learning, and streamline your mental processing.

Now that you have the knowledge, here’s the tip. While many of us work out at sporadic times in the day, I recommend you exercise before a task that requires your full undivided attention.

Personally, I don’t touch my computer to write unless I go for my morning run first. After showering, I make it to my desk and start my work. It was here when I began to notice a complete change in my mental state.

The ideas would flow, my focus increased, and I had this sense of coherence that allowed me to produce my best work. And this effortless flow continues to stay with me through most of my day. Not to mention my overall mood is better.

To drive this home for you even further, in 2007, German researchers conducted a study and found that people learn vocabulary words 20 percent faster after “physical exercise” rather than before.

So if you want to give your best shot on a task or goal that requires your full undivided attention – I recommend placing this task directly after your workout. It could be the difference between a job promotion or a breakthrough business idea!

This is a simple trick to help you upgrade your mental capacities to streamline your success in life.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Wisdom//

    Supercharge Your Aging Brain: Find Your Inner Artist

    by Francine Toder, Ph.D.
    Well-Being//

    I Finally Stopped Worrying All The Time (and you can too!)

    by Kaia Roman
    Community//

    How carrying a notebook and crayons erased burnout, improved my career, and delivered on my dreams

    by Cathy Hutchison
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.