Like many professionals, I am trying to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. With meetings for seven to eight hours of the day and many nights taken up by client dinners, I find it difficult to be present while at home or to simply rest my mind. It’s hard to start a new habit, especially when you don’t feel results immediately. However, I know in the long run that meditation will make me healthier and help me make better decisions for my sales division.
One of the reasons I started to look in to meditation was the advice from my business coach. But, I found a lot of other information about the brain and reasons why I needed to “rest my brain” occasionally.
Did you know the brain completes 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second? That’s right – it’s a one with 16 zeros after it. I had to look up the proper name for the number – it’s quintillion. I just knew it was a big number.
Think about the brain’s capacity and its limitations. It takes the brain approximately 21 minutes to refocus on a complex task after being interrupted. But, at the same time, it can conduct 1 quintillion calculations per second. So, how do you manage this important part of the human body and maximize its use for clients?
Given our busy schedules (and our clients), it’s imperative we keep the mind on task. I recommend time-blocking for important activities like calling clients, client appointments and managing your business. Focusing on tasks allow you to leverage the power of your brain and its massive computing ability.
It’s important to rest your brain and keep it fresh. After all, it’s really working overtime doing all those calculations. Take time to enjoy the outdoors; sit and listen to “nothing” – chirping, whispering, glistening, or whatever you hear. Enjoy the moment. Allow the brain to relax and take in the environment. By having a relaxed brain, you are in a better position to make great decisions on your business and with your clients.
Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about constraints. Challenge your brain to think outside the normal flow of business. Ask yourself, “Is there a better solution for my client that provides a better outcome than how I am doing it now?” Your clients will appreciate the ideas that your brain delivers. After all, one idea out of a quintillion isn’t all that hard, right?
Allow your brain to rest periodically. But, when it’s time to focus, make sure you are uninterrupted. The level of productivity you enjoy will surprise you. Practice exercising your brain just like the rest of your body.
Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of annuities at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, "Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”
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