Jim Kwik, a self-described brain coach, knows it's hard to maintain focus right now. Concentrating can be impossible if you're adjusting to a new work-from-home routine or monitoring frequent updates on the pandemic.
"When you're in fight or flight [mode], you're not going to be able to make the best decisions or lead," Kwik said during an installment of Inc.'s Real Talk: Business Reboot on April 30 with Inc. editor-at-large Burt Helm. Kwik, who has worked with notable clients like Google and Nike, offered business owners some suggestions for increasing productivity and improving focus during this difficult time.
Kwik's comments come straight from his latest book, Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life, which was released on April 28. The best-selling author is also the founder of two companies: Superhero You, a global community of students, and Kwik Learning, a memory improvement and speed-reading training program.
Here are Kwik's "five Cs" for optimizing your headspace during the pandemic, which can be vital for prepping your business for a reboot once it's over:
If your business is facing downtime right now, Kwik suggests using this pause to check in with your business and yourself. Use this time to gain clarity on what's most important to you. Then make sure your actions are fulfilling those goals.
If your actions don't correlate with your priorities, it's time to adjust one or the other, Kwik says.
You can decide if these difficult times "diminish, define, or develop you," Kwik says. In order to further advance yourself, focus on taking care of your mind.
Don't start the day by staring at your phone, Kwik suggests. That's going to rewire your brain to be reactive to notifications and therefore easily distracted. Focus instead on activities and routines that will jump-start your mind and boost creativity. Kwik adds that showers and a good diet--which includes "brain foods" such as avocados, blueberries, and salmon--can help beat mental fatigue.
Chances are your brain isn't performing well if you're stressed or scared, Kwik says. He suggests combating that fear by contributing something to the world.
Find unique ways to give back right now, whether that's through your time or your talent, he adds. For example, Kwik's online learning programs are now free for students who are out of school. Determine what you can give and make a contribution to ease the stress of the pandemic.
Use this time to have a "personal renaissance," Kwik advises. For example, it's believed that William Shakespeare wrote King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra when the plague closed down London theaters in 1606 and he couldn't act in plays.
Take this time to achieve the creative goals that you've set yourself. Or find new ways to bring imagination into your professional and personal life.
Lastly, set yourself up to learn, Kwik says. He believes people aren't doing enough of the things that excite them. Establish what skills you want to learn and find ways to accomplish those goals.
One of the ways you can do this is by making a to-do list and a not-to-do list, he adds. For example, what you need to accomplish for work could go under the to-do list. Avoiding your phone for 30 minutes after you wake up would go on the not-to-do list.