FOOD FOR THOUGHT—NUTRIENTS FOR BRAIN HEALTH

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Your brain is powerful. You can even use it to think about how the brain itself works. Crazy, right? But this power doesn’t make your brain immune to factors that impact the rest of your body. Lifestyle and environment can affect your brain health. Luckily, there are nutrients for brain health shown to support cognitive function.
Lipids
For a long time, dietary fats (lipids) have been connected to brain health. Originally, lipids’ effect on the cardiovascular system was thought to facilitate that connection. But more recent research shows dietary fats have more direct actions on the brain.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (like DHA from fish oil) normally make up cell membranes throughout your body. And like other saturated fat, they’re fundamental building blocks for your brain cells. That’s part of the reason fish is often called a brain food.
Flavonoids
The antioxidant effects of flavonoids are well-established in a test-tube setting. But these plant compounds—like cocoa, ginkgo, and grape-seed extracts—have more complex actions in the body that is continually being researched.
Some flavonoids show promising results in maintaining healthy brain function. Quercetin—a flavonoid that’s a major component of ginkgo biloba extracts—has been shown to maintain memory and learning abilities in some studies. Further research on the subject is needed.
B Vitamins
Adequate levels of the B vitamin folate are essential for brain function. The proof? Folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders, like depression and cognitive impairment.
Clinical trial results have deepened the connection between folate and cognitive function. These studies have shown folate supplementation—by itself or in conjunction with other B vitamins (B6 and B12)—to be effective at maintaining healthy cognitive function during aging.
Other Nutrients
There are more nutrients for brain health. Here’s a short list of the other nutrients with researched roles in brain health:
Alpha lipoic acid has been shown to maintain memory and cognitive function.
Vitamin E, or α-tocopherol, has also been implicated in cognitive performance. Decreasing serum levels of vitamin E were associated with poor memory performance in older individuals.
Curcumin is a strong antioxidant that seems to protect the brain from lipid peroxidation and nitric-oxide-based radicals.
Several gut hormones or peptides—like leptin, ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) and insulin—have been found to support healthy emotional response and cognitive processes.
Energy Production
The brain runs your body. And it takes a lot of energy to literally be the brain of the operation. Healthy macronutrients are necessary to fuel your brain and provide the energy it needs.

The mechanisms involved in the transfer of energy from foods to neurons are likely to be fundamental to the control of brain function. Processes that are associated with the management of energy in neurons can affect brain plasticity.
Far-Reaching Impacts
Lifestyle and diet have long-term effects on your health. That means they are likely underestimated for their importance to public health—especially when it comes to healthy aging. But they’re important to your brain. The gradual and sometimes imperceptible cognitive decline that characterizes normal aging can be influenced by the nutrients you feed your brain through a healthy diet.
These impacts go beyond your life, too. Through epigenetics, you pass on traits to your children and their children. Newer studies back this up. They indicate that these nutritional effects on your brain might even be transmitted over generations by influencing epigenetic events.

Reference

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How Gadgets and Digital Screens Are Harming Your Child

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How Gadgets and Digital Screens Are Harming Your Child

The amount of time children spend watching digital screens is worrying. Children don’t seem to get tired of watching TV or playing with the iPad. This obsession with gadgets is a matter of concern, but the immediate worry is about its adverse impact on their vision.
Why gadgets and kids don’t mix well
Kids use gadgets for playing games, chatting, browsing or watching movies. The activity is usually so involving that they don’t take their attention off the screen. They also don’t pay attention to things like posture, screen distance, and brightness, which can adversely affect their vision and health.

Staring at electronic screens for extended periods causes discomfort. You suffer from dry eyes, eye irritation and find it difficult to focus for a while. Spending too much time in one posture can also result in neck and back ache. If you are finding it difficult to cope with screen time, imagine what your child’s eyes must be going through.
Digital screens have become an inseparable part of life. You can’t wish them away or keep kids away from them, but you can minimize their impact on your children. The first step is to understand what you are up against.

The consequences of too much screen time
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average child spends about 8 hours a day watching electronic screens. Gadget use among kids increases with age. Although it cannot be said with certainty, research indicates that children spending too much time staring at screens are at higher risk of long-term vision problems. Apart from televisions and video games, most gadgets came in the last two decades. While the immediate effects on children can be observed, their long-term effects are unknown.
According to researchers, children who spend a lot of time with gadgets are likely to develop temporary myopia (nearsightedness). Fortunately, the effect is transient and the eyes recover a few minutes after they switch to a non-screen activity.
The effect of spending a lot of time watching screens is not limited to the eyes alone. Apart from symptoms like dry eyes, burning sensation, double vision and blurry vision, people also complain of headaches and posture-related problems like neck and back pain. Doctors now call this set of symptoms as “computer vision syndrome”.

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When people use electronic screens, they blink less. On an average, a person blinks about 15 times in a minute. Due to the high attention required while using an electronic screen, this rate can drop to less than 5 times in a minute.

Blinking is a natural mechanism that keeps the eyes moist, lubricated and clean. A lower blink rate causes dry eyes and irritation. The severity varies according to the type of activity and the level of engagement. A video game, therefore, creates more eyestrain because you have to constantly watch and respond to what is happening on screen. Desktop computers and wall-mounted televisions can make it worse because they make you look upwards. This makes you open your eyes wider and expose more surface area of the eye to evaporation.

Electronic screens can generate images with a lot of brightness and contrast and they can vary these images in a fraction of a second. They also reflect glare from surrounding light sources like lamps and windows. Your eyes have to frequently respond to changing light levels. Watching a screen that is too dim or bright compared to the surroundings also causes eye strain. Your eyes have to adjust when you switch from the screen to the surroundings. The frequent dilation and contraction of pupils results in eye fatigue.
Most modern gadgets come with LED screens because they produce clearer pictures and consume less power. The amount of blue light emitted by these screens is a matter of concern. LED screens emit a lot more blue light compared to LCD screens. Although research is limited, many optometrists suspect that blue light can cause irreversible damage to the retina. This can increase the risk of macular degeneration and cataract.
The macula is the central part of the retina and is crucial to good vision. Macular degeneration can make daily activities like reading and driving impossible. With age, the lenses of the eyes start to yellow. For adults, this provides a limited natural defense against blue light, but children are vulnerable. Blue light can also interfere with the biological clock and affect sleep.

Protecting children from the adverse impacts of electronic screens

If your child complains of burning eyes, you must review the amount of time they are spending with gadgets. Here are some tips that will help.

Limit screen time
Limit the amount of time your children spend watching TV. Limit other gadget time to an hour a day for small children and two hours a day for school going children. Break this allowance into two or three sessions to reduce eye strain.

Encourage children to play outdoors
Gadgets encourage sedentary habits which are bad for the body and mind. Encourage children to spend some time outdoors for activities that require them to move about and interact with other children. Playing outdoors with the dog or other kids is more fun than watching an animation movie for the umpteenth time. Spending time outdoors also exercises long distance vision and reduces the chances of myopia.
Don’t use gadgets as babysitters
Keeping your children busy with gadgets or TV may allow you to do whatever you want in peace, but it’s a bad idea. Instead, keep them occupied with healthier alternatives like creative toys, coloring books or storybooks.

Ensure that your child gets adequate sleep
Children should sleep for about 10 hours a day. Sleep allows the eyes to recover from strain.

Ask them to take regular breaks and blink often.
To prevent dry eyes, ask your child to blink two to three times whenever their eyes begin to hurt. Eye strain can be reduced by taking small breaks to look at something other than the screen. Most opticians advocate the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes and focus on something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Ensure that kids maintain the right distance from the screen
While using a computer or other personal device, the eye should be at least 20 inches away from the screen. Don’t let children sit too close while watching TV. If your child prefers to sit close to the screen, get his or her eyes tested to rule out myopia.

Don’t let them use gadgets in the dark or in sunlight
Kids may not pay attention to lighting conditions when they are engrossed in an activity. Discourage the use of gadgets in a dark room or in bright sunlight. Screen brightness should not be three times darker or brighter than the surroundings. If the device has an auto-brightness mode, enable it. This automatically adjusts screen brightness according to ambient light.

Digital screens cause eyestrain and other related symptoms like vision difficulties and headache. Kids are more vulnerable than adults and spending too much time with gadgets can affect their vision. It is difficult to keep children away from gadgets, but you can take steps to minimize the adverse effects.

REFERENCE

PROBIOTICS MAY LESSEN THE SEVERITY OF UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

probiotics

 

Certain probiotic strains are known to influence immune function and may help improve health-related quality of life (HRQL) during upper respiratory infections.

Recent research published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that supplementing with the probiotic strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG® and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12® may help improve health-related quality of life during upper respiratory infections.
The study participants included 231 normally healthy college students living on campus in residence halls at the Framingham State University. The students were randomized to receive either a placebo or a probiotic powder containing a minimum of 1 billion colony forming units each of Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG® and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12®. The students completed The Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey-21 to assess HRQL during URI. Reporting of HRQL outcomes included self-reported duration, symptom severity and functional impairment of URI.
When compared to the placebo group, the average duration of URI was significantly shorter by 2 days in the probiotic group. The group on the probiotics also reported a 34% lower average severity score compared to placebo. The probiotics group also missed significantly fewer school days, although there was no difference in number of missed work days.
Although more research is needed to determine specific mechanisms involved and the possible cost-benefit of preventive supplementation, the combination of probiotic strains LGG® and BB-12® may be valuable tool in improving the health-related quality of life during exposure to upper respiratory infections.

Smith TJ, Rigassio-radler D, Denmark R, Haley T, Touger-decker R. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG® and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12® on health-related quality of life in college students affected by upper respiratory infections. Br J Nutr. 2013;109(11):1999-2007.

 

from : Ask the Scientists

 

Crazy Effects of Caffeine To Your Body

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It’s said that America runs on oil, but if that’s true, then it walks on caffeine. Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee a day, and who knows how much tea, energy drinks, and other caffeine sources on top of that. Caffeine is actually a psychoactive drug—the most widely used in the world—and millions of people depend on it every day to wake up and get going…or simply just to be civil. People have gotten so used to the idea of coffee and tea as a casual pick-me-up when we start to slow down that no one really thinks about what’s actually going on when we slurp down that pint of java three times a day. As it turns out, caffeine can do some pretty crazy stuff to your fragile, puny body.

awake
Awake
Your brain produces a molecule called adenosine, which binds to receptors in your brain and slows down neural activity: it’s a natural process that’s thought to help you get to sleep at night but often makes you drowsy during the day. When you knock back that cup of joe in the morning, the caffeine is quickly absorbed into the blood and makes its way to the brain. There, it makes like a bad house guest and plops itself down in adenosine’s favorite armchair. But where adenosine makes you tired, caffeine doesn’t, and so every brain receptor that binds with caffeine is one that can’t make you tired. In other words, caffeine doesn’t have an agenda, and it called shotgun.

poop-effect

Poop
Caffeine has long been known to affect muscles, increasing activity and speeding contractions. And while that’s useful in an athletic sense, it’s useful in a more sedentary sense when applied to the intestines. Another theory is that caffeine increases the production of a hormone that stimulates the colon, which in turn stimulates the reading of newspapers in a locked room. But since researchers have reproduced the effect using decaffeinated coffee, that’s one theory that could probably use more fiber.

energy
Increased energy
Increased energy is one of many parallel side effects that caffeine has on the body. When adenosine is blocked from making connections in the brain, it just sort of wanders off and tricks the brain into a mild fight or flight response. This inevitably leads to adrenaline being released, which makes your heart beat faster and harder and causes sugar to be released into your bloodstream. A similar effect can be achieved by standing next to a dangerous wild animal, but it’s not quite as convenient.

lower-exertion
Stamina
The next useful side effect of caffeine consumption is achieved as a result of the increased blood flow. As the heart beats faster, more blood moves through your body and through your lungs, leading to increased oxygenation, which is of crucial importance during sustained exertion and allows the muscles to operate more efficiently and with less effort. Caffeine also stimulates the metabolism, which means you’re burning more calories when you’re doing nothing. Don’t get your hopes up for a weight loss shortcut though, because potential caffeine-based weight loss programs are a shaky proposition.

concentrate
Concentrate
As well as stealing adenosine’s seat, caffeine is something of an enabler to serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that help the brain talk to itself. Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter that’s produced in various parts of the body, and is especially good at speeding up brain function and improving concentration and memory retrieval. It also improves muscle function and efficiency. All very useful if you’re running from a sabre toothed tiger, as well as for getting that report finished by the deadline.

relieves-headache
No headache
Caffeine is a bit of a wonder drug, and it wears many hats. One of those hats has the word “vasoconstrictor” written on it (no relation to the boa constrictor). Often when a person is experiencing a headache, the blood vessels in their brain dilate. Caffeine directly counters this by causing blood vessels to constrict, helping to reduce the pain. Caffeine is often added to migraine medication since the combination of caffeine with aspirin and acetaminophen can improve pain relief by up to 40 percent—and increase drug prices by 140 percent.

addiction

Addiction
Unfortunately, for all the positive effects of caffeine on your body, there are a few negatives as well. As with many drugs, dosage is key. Almost anything, even water, can do you harm if taken to extremes, and that goes for caffeine as well. Most of the time, though, it’s not the excessive consumption that causes problems (at least not in the short term), but a sudden drop in consumption.

When someone consistently consumes high doses of caffeine, the brain adapts by creating more receptors for adenosine to bind to, creating a new normal. This effectively produces a kind of addiction (although not true addiction) since that person then becomes more susceptible to withdrawal symptoms if they cut back, including headaches, irritability, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating, to name a few of the more pleasant ones. Raise your hand if that sounds like a your morning before you get your first cup of coffee. Then put your hand down and make a cup of coffee.

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Bulging tummy
Drinking too much coffee doesn’t just leave a bad taste in your mouth, it can also have a negative effect on your guts. Caffeine increases acid production in your stomach as well as stimulating the muscles in your bowel. This usually happens when caffeine is ingested on an empty stomach and can lead to rushed bathroom visits—though this seems to be an actual goal for some people, who pay for a coffee enema to achieve the same effective result.

insomia
Insomia
Although it can take as little as 15 minutes for caffeine to get to work after entering your body, it can take as long as six hours for your body to remove it again. And for all that time, you’re under its influence. That’s great if you take it at the beginning of a long shift, but not so good if you’re planning sleep any time soon. Because with all those extra hormones and neurotransmitters floating around your system, you’re unlikely to keep your eyes closed, and when you do finally fall asleep, it messes with your sleep patterns—resulting in less time spent in REM sleep. All this adds up to more fatigue, which equals more coffee, and the whole thing starts again. Caffeine sure picked an effective marketing strategy.

osteoporosis
Osteoporosis
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to spend a year on the international space station, caffeine holds the answer…at least to one of the less pleasant side effects of space travel. That’s because one of the things shared by astronauts and people who consume large quantities of caffeine is a loss of bone density. The people most at risk of this are the elderly of course, but it’s definitely a possibility for someone looking to be extra authentic for their astronaut cosplay

Ten (10) Ways to Cram Successfully

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Sound familiar?–It’s Sunday night. You’ve had a long, fun weekend of…things. Then, oh no! You’ve got a test tomorrow morning. It’s the end of the world, and you should just give up, bribe your professor, and then maybe flee the country, right?
Nope. With these 10 tools, you might just be able to rock that test tomorrow.
A disclaimer: Studying only the night before a test really isn’t a very good idea. These tips are meant to help you at the last minute, not to give you a reason to not study beforehand.

1. Go Somewhere else
Studying in your dorm, apartment, or whatever you have can be incredibly distracting. Grab the bare minimum (books, iPod, notebooks, computer only if you need it) and head somewhere else. It doesn’t need to be a library, necessarily- I’ve found coffee shops and bookstores to both be awesome places to work. Either way, make sure you find somewhere where you can really set up shop, and not have to move for a while.

2. Caffeinate
I know, everyone talks about how bad caffeine and sugar are for you, and it’s true. But let’s face it: your bodily cleansing, for this one evening, needs to take a backseat. Do whatever you need to do to stay alert and awake; nodding off while reading isn’t very helpful. Even just eating something while you study can be really helpful, as are coffee, soda, and the like. Make sure you keep plenty around, though, to stave off the crash.

3. Use the 50/10 rule
This is one of my favorite methods of studying, because it keeps me incredibly focused. Work- hard- for 50 minutes. No breaks, no distractions. Anytime you get distracted and stop working, the 50 minutes starts over. Once you hit 50, take a 10 minute break. Check your email, go to the bathroom, walk aimlessly around- whatever. Then, it’s back to work. Training yourself this way forces you to study hard 80% of the time, instead of half-studying all the time- it’s much more effective.

4. Rewrite
Though this tip doesn’t work for everyone, it certainly has for me. The way I study, for the most part, is to rewrite my notes into smaller pieces. Eliminate the filler, and whittle down your notes from every class or reading into a specific portion- a page, or 1/2 a page. This forces you to figure out what’s really important, and not waste your time reading through page after page of notes. Plus, you’ll be amazed at how much you learn simply by writing.

5. Study with a friend
Odds are, you’re not the only one who put off studying until the last minute. Find someone else to panic with, and you’ll be rewarded in two ways: you’ll realize how much you already know by asking and answering questions, and you’ll figure out what you need to study. Quiz each other, ask questions about what you don’t understand, and figure out together what you need to be thinking about. Two (or twelve) brains are always better than one, and studying is no exception.

6. Figure out the Big Points
Given that you’re studying the night before the test, odds are you’re not going to remember every minute detail of the material you’ve learned. That’s okay. Instead, spend your time focusing on major concepts, the 5-10 things you’ve talked about the most and need to know the most about for the test. You’ll learn more about the connections between topics, as well as be able to answer more questions intelligently. More often, at least in classes I take, the concepts prove more important than the tiny details, but it’s easy to get bogged down in remembering every piece of material. Focus on the big stuff first, and move on only if there’s time. Night-before cramming requires playing the odds, and your best bet is on the big stuff.

7. Chunk
Try remembering these ten numbers: 9-1-4-6-5-7-3-2-4-1. Not so easy? Now try remembering this phone number: 914-657-3241. Much easier, right? That’s a process known as chunking, which can help you retain information at a much higher rate. To study with this method, follow a simple process: Come up with important terms you need to know for the test, and define them. Come up with a few major concepts from the course material, and explain them each in a paragraph. Then, on a notecard or piece of paper, group your terms into the concepts. Practice going over a concept, and remembering the relevant terms and definitions. Learning the individual parts as they relate to a larger whole makes remembering and applying them much easier. About.com has a great article about chunking here.

8. Study out of Order
Most people study by reading their notes over and over again. This, believe it or not, really isn’t a helpful way of studying. Your brain doesn’t work in perfect order all the time, and neither should you. Instead, read your notes through consecutively only once. Then, randomly go back and read days’ notes, in no order whatsoever. This helps your brain remember the information on its own, instead of simply as a part in a series. If chronology is relevant, i.e. in a history class, be careful to note chronology, but still change your orders.

9. Study Out Loud
Read your notes out loud. Whisper, yell, sing, rap, whatever- say your notes out loud. I can’t overstate how much easier it is to remember something you say, hear and read than something you simply read. By speaking out loud, you give your brain three stimuli to remember the material instead of just one. Your retention skyrockets as you talk, because you’re forced to concentrate on the material. Don’t study in your head- study aloud!

10. Sleep!
This is literally the single most important thing you can do the night before a test. Studies have shown that you both remember incredibly more after 6 hours of sleep, and you perform terribly in pressurized situations without much sleep. This is a difficult thing to do, because, as I mentioned above, your instincts and caffeine will tell you to stay awake. Any sleep at all you can get is a crucial part of succeeding on a test, and the more the better. Balance caffeine with getting to bed at some point, and once you get in bed, forget about the test. Think actively about something peaceful, so nothing else enters your mind, and you’ll nod right off.

These aren’t always the optimal methods to study. They’re 0nly a way to help you out if you’re in total panic mode over a test you’re not ready for, and don’t have time to study for properly. Ideally, you should be studying all along, eating well, exercising constantly, and getting lots of sleep. But that’s not realistic, at least not for me. So, if you’re in crisis mode, take a deep breath, and good luck!

Reference

What’s Best Choice? Skipping a Workout or Skimping On Sleep?

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So you stayed up way too late watching House of Cards and now you’re staring at your alarm clock, wondering if you should still wake up early and drag your butt to the gym. Normally, you’re up and at ‘em like a champ, but sleep-deprived supersets sound like anything but funzies. Should you skip your workout and sleep in—or suck it up and head to the gym?

The answer all depends on whether or not you can nap tomorrow, say experts.

If You Can’t Nap…

Catch up on sleep. We’re officially giving you a sleep expert’s permission to snooze. “Studies show that when people get less than six hours—meaning they were sleep deprived—they’re more prone to athletic injuries,” says Robert Rosenberg, D.O., board-certified sleep medicine physician.

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In other words, if you want to stay injury-free and maximize your sweat session, you need adequate zzz’s first. Heading to the gym when you’re bleary-eyed can actually work against your fitness goals—and the ill effects can carry into the rest of your day. “Your alertness and performance can suffer,” says Cathy Goldstein, M.D., a sleep specialist at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center. That’s not so great for things like dominating a work project or, you know, driving. What’s more, because short sleep can alter hunger hormones, you could end up eating more calories than you burned exercising, she says.

Your fix: Stay in bed the extra hour. If you normally wake up at 6 a.m. for your
workout, sleep in until 7 a.m. While it’s important to maintain a consistent wake-up time most days, sleeping in a bit (we’re talking one hour, not three) isn’t a huge deal when you need it, says Rosenberg.

If You Can Nap…

Wake up early and go to the gym. Yes, even if it’s a weekend, says Goldstein. Sure, that sounds harsh, but hear us out. One factor that controls your ability to get to sleep at night is your internal clock (a.k.a your circadian rhythm), which is controlled by your morning light exposure, she explains. When you sleep in, you expose yourself to sunlight later than usual, which tells your body and brain you should go to bed later, too—leaving you stuck in an endless cycle of never being able to rise and shine for the gym. “For that reason, I think morning workouts at the same time each day are great for your sleep,” says Goldstein.

Your fix: Take a quick siesta—for no more than one hour—before 2 p.m., says Goldstein. You’ll wake feeling refreshed, without interrupting your normal circadian rhythm, she says. Set an alarm so you don’t oversleep—anything longer than an hour will cut into your shut-eye later that night.

early
Oh, and if you’re chronically shorting yourself on sleep, change up your priorities. “Make up time for sleep by cutting out NetFlix binges as opposed to cutting out your workout,” says Goldstein. (Easier said than done, but okayyy.)

This Article is originally published  in : Women’s Health

Seven (7) Ways of Making the Best of Your Time

time-saving

1) Use The 20 Second Rule
Make things you shouldn’t do take 20 seconds longer to accomplish (moving the ever-buzzing phone across the room) and the things you should do 20 seconds easier.
I like to refer to this as the 20-Second Rule, because lowering the barrier to change by just 20 seconds was all it took to help me form a new life habit. In truth, it often takes more than 20 seconds to make a difference—and sometimes it can take much less—but the strategy itself is universally applicable:
Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt, and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.

daily-routine
2) Have A Solid Daily Ritual

STEP 1 (5 Minutes): Your Morning Minutes. This is your opportunity to plan ahead. Before turning on your computer, sit down with the to-do list you created in chapter 22, “Bird by Bird,” and decide what will make this day highly successful…

STEP 2 (1 Minute Every Hour): Refocus. …Set your watch, phone, or computer to ring every hour and start the work that’s listed on your calendar. When you hear the beep, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Then look at your calendar and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.

STEP 3 (5 Minutes): Your Evening Minutes. At the end of your day, shut off your computer and review how the day went, asking yourself the three sets of questions listed in chapter 27, “It’s Amazing What You Find When You Look.” Questions like: How did the day go? What did I learn about myself? Is there anyone I need to update? Shoot off a couple of emails or calls to make sure you’ve communicated with the people you need to contact.

3) Don’t Be Fast, Be Smooth
A Formula One pit crew — a group that depends on fast, efficient teamwork — found that they weren’t at top speed when they concentrated on speed. It was when they emphasized functioning smoothly as a group that they made their best times.

He seduces them with anecdotes about the effectiveness of operating goalessly, such as the tale of the Formula One pit crew with whom he worked, whose members were told that they would no longer be assessed on the basis of speed targets; they would be rated on style instead. Instructed to focus on acting “smoothly”, rather than on beating their current record time, they wound up performing faster.

4) Know The Best Times To Do Things
Know the optimal time to do things so you don’t waste time. Some notable highlights:

Best time to send emails you want read: 6AM.
Best time for thinking: Late morning.
Creative thinking: Creativity can be improved when we’re tired so try brainstorming when daytime sleepiness peaks at around 2PM.
Best day of the week to eat dinner out: Tuesday (freshest food, no crowds)
Best day to fly: Saturday (fewer flights means fewer delays, shorter lines, less stress)

meeting
5) Hold Meetings Standing Up
Sick of time-wasting meetings? Bob Sutton’s great book Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst points to a great trick. Hold your meetings standing up:
Sit-down meetings were 34% longer than stand-up meetings, but they produced no better decisions than stand-up meetings. Significant differences were also obtained for satisfaction with the meeting and task information use during the meeting but not for synergy or commitment to the group’s decision.

sleep

6) Get More Sleep
Cheating yourself on sleep reduces willpower and it’s this same store of self-control that helps us resist all those bad behaviors like aimless web-surfing:
Researchers have previously argued that sleep is a means of recharging our regulatory resources, and these studies confirm that less sleep does indeed make us prey to counterproductive activities like cyberloafing.

7) Stop Sorting Email
Sorting your email into folders? Don’t bother: “…researchers discovered that those who did no email organizing at all found them faster than those who filed them in folders.“
If you’re the type to meticulously file your emails in various folders in your client, stop, says a new study from IBM Research. By analyzing 345 users’ 85,000 episodes of digging through old emails in search of the one they needed, researchers discovered that those who did no email organizing at all found them faster than those who filed them in folders.
By using search, the non-organizers were able to find the email they needed just as easily as filers. They also didn’t have to spend any time filing email in folders, putting them ahead overall.

Source