Just a few of my top tips on getting the most out of your brain.

1. Get enough sleep

The reason sleep is number one is simply because it’s the most important item on this list. There are two elements to sleep which make it so important, first up when you’re sleeping, and you get to REM, your brain is processing everything you learnt that day.

Secondly, when your sleep deprived you think too positively, while this doesn’t sound too bad, it can lead to not assessing risk properly. While taking risks is important, taking accurately calculated risks is far better.

2. Walking while thinking

While it may seem weird, there has been a growing evidence about the effectiveness of walking on creativity. I personally try to do at least two walks (roughly 20 minutes long) during the day, and I prioritise it if I’m working on a hard problem.

3. Get things out of your head

This is probably the most important part of Getting Things Done which I think everyone should adopt! Getting things out of your head and into a system you trust to be up to date and can refer to, helps stop useless mental energy being dedicated to “remember to by milk on the way home” or “call client x later”.

This will free up your brain to think about your problems with more depth, as it won’t be distracted.

4. Block out your time to focus

This will tie into the next point but blocking out large periods of time without meetings or distractions will enormously help you be more creative. This is because while our brains love the novelty of distractions, it is terrible for our focus as once a distraction/interruption takes place it can take up to 23 minutes to get back on track.

5. Plan your week out in advance

This is when you should be putting the large chunks of focus time in place, before other people fill up your calendar with obligations. I typically plan out my big projects first thing on Monday morning and then fill in the smaller gaps with smaller tasks every morning.